Update on Bradley Schuster

The first novel that I wrote is Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail. It is a very powerful, and at the same time very flawed book. It has been revised extensively before, and still languishes away. So I have made the commitment to fix it and submit it for publication. I truly love the book, and it’s too good to languish.

I began (yet again) a critical read of the manuscript at the end of February. What I discovered surprised me.

A note of the structure of the novel. Bradley (a history grad student) finds a cup in a junk shop but somebody else buys it before he gets back there. The first 9 chapters are about him (he’s pretty offbeat) trying to get possession of the cup.

Once he does, he discovers that it talks. So for the next 24 or so chapters, they alternate. In even-numbered chapters The Grail tells its story. In odd-numbered chapters, Bradley has to come to terms with this magical device with the unbelievable history that he now owns.

The first 9 chapters are as magical as I remember them.

The odd-numbered chapters after that has a few problems, but can be rather easily reworked into a strong piece of fiction.

The Grail story sucks. Oof.

In places it’s extremely funny, with a lot of edgy, biting satire. But on the whole, it’s long, pompous, and uses a club rather than a rapier to get its point across. The only thing I can say about it is that’s it’s not as bad as it was before I reworked it the last time.

So I dove in.

SusanH says what I’m writing now is a major improvement. Whew, I hope so. I don’t think I’m capable of writing something that bad now. I’m WAY better than I was when I wrote it originally back in the late 80s/early 90s.

Yesterday I revised as far as the death of Jesus. Today the Grail traveled to a cave overlooking the Dead Sea, where it’s going to stay until Merlin finds it.

Now begins the Arthur section of the story. That’s the very worst part. For some reason, I felt compelled to retell the entire story of King Arthur, even though the Grail didn’t play a significant part in most of it. It’s about 20,000 words and I don’t think ANY of them are reusable.

Making the issue more complicated, the Arthur story is much different now. Morgan was purely evil, as was Nimue. That’s gotta change, since we know better now. The place of Christianity in the land is also much different. Uriens dies when Arthur pulls the sword from the stone instead of marrying Morgan.

But I’m starting to look forward to doing it well. Hopefully I’ll still feel that way next week.

I’m looking forward to when it gets far enough along and you can read it and share my excitement with me.

chaliceWhat The Grail DOESN’T look like.

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