Abbott and the Djinn (Novel progress page)


This page is where I’m assembling links to posts and any other item that goes into the writing of the first draft of my online novel, “The Abbott and the Djinn.”  I was planning to get it done before my birthday, but I am failing to do so. It occurs to me that I have a birthday in 2011 as well. Hmmmmm.  (And also 2012.)

This is a true rough draft.  I have only 15 or 30 minutes to write at a time.  I glance at the previous section and then just write.  You can argue about my process, please do, but for now and to get words on the page I think it is the best. (advise solicited and desired) 

Too long I’ve wanted things to be perfect before proceeding and so I hardly begin.  Well, the Abbott and the Djinn is begun.

Below you will find dated notes on my progress and afterward a partial outline linked to what I’ve roughed out so far.  At the bottom you can look at older notes.

August 15, 2011, Today is a long time from when last I posted an update to this page.  I have added a few posts, but not many and I think what I’ve done is not so good.  I need for Iamerge to speak to Rhaury about the stake he hopes to get from him, the investment he left with Rhaury’s father Roderick UiBirlinn.  I need to give Rhaury time to send everything out of Bellton so that Iamerge will feel he has to remain with the the monks and Gospels.  I don’t like what I’ve written, but this is supposed to be rough.  I fear my frustrated perfectionism has driven me away from this work.  I need to get back to it and hurry.

14 Dec 2010 – Beginning Chapter 8.  This is what I had anticipated doing awhile ago, but the trouble with the Gobli (oops, don’t tell anyone) intervened.  Here then is yet another character, Conal McKendrik, who will continue with Iamerge for awhile.

30 Nov 2010 – Iamerge and Conal on their way back.

26 Oct 2010 Decided to wrap up this installment and get it out. 

15 Oct 2010 – I’m well into a chapter seven that I hadn’t planned on writing at all.  In it I have introduced a character and I’ve also imagined where he might be employed in later chapters.  I fear that I’ve engaged in some sloppy writing.  I have one portion (7.2)where I switch point of view back and forth between Iamerge and Conal, the new character.  You may recall that I did that at the very beginning.

Well, as promised, this is rough first draft work that you get to see before it is cleaned up.  Lucky you.

Anyway, I believe there are links to everything I’ve done on A&D to this point.


Here is an outline of the story: (linked for easy navigation to what is available so far.)

The Abbott and the Djinn (Outline)

I.  Intro (I have an intro posted)

II.  The Skellig

     A. The Storm (I think Chptr. 1.1 fits in here)

          1.  The Storm from Gospel’s perspective. (by the way, Smoke refers to a monk he thinks of as “White Hands” until the men make a personal connection and he, the monk, reveals that his name is Gospels.)

          2.  Waking from Smoke’s perspective (Chptr. 1.2.)

     B.  Recovery

           1.  Smoke wakes Chp. 2.1

           2.  Conversation with White Hands Chp. 2.2 and Chp 2.3 AND Chp 2.4

           3.  White Hand’s wealth Chp. 2.5  (Sad to say this important connective tissue has not been written. Conversation’s three volumes  above need to be reworked I think and THEN we reveal the wealth.  It is a book or books, the very one mentioned in the introduction of course.

     C.  The Meeting of Different Worlds

            1.  Two friends (after the exciting and insightful chp. 2 that doesn’t yet exist, Smoke and Gospels) sit and talk setting the scene for the arrival of the contingent from the abbey.  Chp. 3.1

            2.  The monk goes to offices as Smoke thinks.  Chp. 3.2

            3.  Gospels discovers that he doesn’t know very much about Smoke.  Smoke tries to reassure, but raises more questions with his selection of “Iamerge” for a name.  Chptr. 3.3

             4.  Introductions.  Chp. 3.4 I jumped over this, skipping ahead to:

             5.  Boat ride to the Abbey

                   a)  Chp. 4.1 (Notably absent and I think essential are the monks chanting offices as they travel and Smoke’s glimpses of the nearby town, his anticipated destination before being wrecked on the Skellig. I think these items are important enough to add if not as narrative at least as notes here and likely in a revised 4.1.  Yes, I know what I said, give me a break.)

                   b) Arriving at the Monastery Chp. 4.2

                   c) Gospels remembers Smoke Chp. 4.3

                   d) Discussion in the guesthouse (not yet written)

              6. Smoke (Imerge) in the town

                    a) Initial impressions  (Chp. 5.1) as Smoke (Imerge) enters the port town seeking to find the agent holding his hold stake.  Iamerge Meets Ol’ Jim Cooper, the mayor of Rat Town.(Chp. 5.2)   Iamerge nearly gets run down by armed guards of the man he is looking for, but Roderick Ua Birlinn being dead, his son Ruaridh Ua Birlinn will have to do.  All this he discovers from Cooper.(Chp. 5.3)

                    b) The talk of the Tavern begins with Cooper tending bar and talk of the situation. Gospels is brought up. Conversation in the basement. (Chp. 5.4) The rest of that conversation, (Chp. 5.5). . .           . . .that does not include this part (Chp. 5.6)

                    c) Iamerge walks the streets (Chp. 5.7)

                    d) Speaking to the force of nature (Chp. 5.8)

              7.  Iamerge returns to the monastery and then leaves.

                     a) Iamerge falls asleep beneath a tree (Chp. 6.1)

                     b) Gospels talks to Iamerge (Chp. 6.2)

                     c) Hebrews and the walk to the ambush (Chp. 6.3)

                     d) Iamerge and Gospels meet Rhauri Ui Birlinn (Chp. 6.4)

               8.  The ministry of the Monastery’s Brethern

                      a)  Iamerge and Gospels reach the disaster.  Conal McKendrick (7.1)

                      b)  Iamerge and Conal in the night (7.2)

                      c) Iamerge in the blue morning (7.3)

                      d) Iamerge and Conal on their way back to the Monastery (7.4)

III.  The Monastery, Among the Merciful Brothers

     A.  The Brotherhood (specifically a brotherhood of the wounded.)

           1.  Iamerge’s discontent (8.1)

           2.  Meeting Ui Birlinn

                        a. Iamerge meets a rider, Rhaury Ui Birlinn (8.2)

                        b. The question of Niamh and Rhaury misses his chance (8.3)

                        c.  Council and consolation for Conal (8.5)

                        d.  Leading to recovery (8.6)

           3.  What Iamerge overheard at the refectory (Chp. 9.1)

     B.  The Twelve

     C.  A Thirteenth Brother

IV.  The Journey Begins

Well folks.  Until I get a little farther down the road I think that’s all the outline I’m ready to put out.  Meager, I know, but there is more rattling around in my head, not to mention the odd plot twist that keeps cropping up.

Hopefully the progress page will progress better than it has resently, but even more I hope to put more electrons to page and really get this whole thing underway.

Wish me good luck,


 past posts:

28 Sep 2010 – My last update was in April.  Yikes!!!  I HAVE added more to the novel, slowly but surely, but this progress page has languished.

The story has made a turn I did not previously outline, so it seems that Iamerge and Gospels have surprised me again.  It seems there was a Goblin attack.

19 Apr 2010 – And a little bit more.

8 Apr 2010 – A little bit more and I introduced the name of Smoke (Iamerge) ‘s Factor, Ruaridh Ua Birlinn.  We also learn that Jim Cooper is the town nose, if we didn’t know that already. 

5 Mar. 2010 – Oiye, a whole week and so very little to show for it.  I’m interested in the Jim Cooper character and where he will lead.  I don’t particularily like them talking so much again, but I threw some action in at the end.  I think I should stop criticizing it now and just let you read the little that there is.  Read it.

25 Feb. 2010 – I’m finally back at it.  I made a little change to account for Chapter 5, Iamerge goes to town, and started writing that part.  I haven’t yet wrapped up the meal and conversation that Gospels and Iamerge have, but there has already been too much talking so I skipped ahead this little bit.  No guaranties I won’t do that more.  Let me know what you think of that.

8 Feb. 2010 –  Decided to post this beginning of  Chp 5.  Also added a little to the “Child of Moss” saga. Read part 2.

2 Feb. 2010 – Had opportunity to get to the second half of Chp. 4.  I’m still planning to rewrite 4.1 to add some elements.

1 Feb. 2010 – I have to say that hope of finishing the first draft of this novel by my birthday are dimming.  I did do a little bit of writing today, but sad to say it wasn’t focused on The Abbott and the Djinn. Instead I started a new story, I only meant for it to be a brief little vignette, but again things got away from me.  If you want to see what I did, read THIS (Child of Moss).

28 Jan. 2010 – I’ve been chiselingaway at this for too long.  I had to get it out and begun.  Having escaped the Skellig, Smoke, now naming himself Iamerge, comes to the Abbey.  I jumped over the introductions as those monks will be in seclusion, perhaps for longer than Smoke and Gospels will remain near the Abbey.  The three other monks who returned with the boat are of immediate interest. 

I am leaving the 21 Jan. post because it contains my apologies for this format.  I am roughing out a story and would be very appreciative of your help.  I fully realize that I am putting it out raw in part so that you can make comments and I won’t feel invested in work delivered with much blood and sweat.  I also want to offer a glimpse of my process.  Most of all I just want to write something down.  Names may change, place, time, order of events, facts, geography, all are malleable

21 Jan 2010 –  Sadly it has taken so long for so little.  What I have of chapters two and three might be edited down to the first half of a better 2, but that is for rewrites.  I think the momentum is stalling and so I have trouble getting things written.  In the end I have them chat. (hardly riveting)

Dear reader, please forgive me. sequentially there is an even wordier section as the group of monks meet their abbott and this new stranger.  It may not make the editing, but as I imagine it, these conversations must take place.  Once imagined they may be discarded to be remembered as needed, flashed back upon, or if they are simply insipid, left on the bone pile of events never reported.

Again, I apologize.  I am both inexperienced in writing novels AND intentionally putting things out as they come to me largely unedited.  This I do because of time, firstly, but also as a sort of writer’s seminar.  Feel free to comment, telling me what you think is of value, reveals character, effectively foreshadows (or you think might, if you guess I’ll tell you), should be kept or moved or retold.  I also value criticism up to and including matters of spelling and grammar, but also let me know what doesn’t work for you as narrative.  You are the reader who I seek to entertain, your opinion matters.

10 Jan 2010 – I’ve left Chp. 2 a mess and pressed on.  In order to get something started beyond the disaster I began Chp. 3

22 Dec 2009 – Currently there is not much of it on the site, nor much on this page.  I’m planning on getting it done before my birthday so I better get busy.  Beware the Ides of March.

4 Jan 2010 – I am unhappy with my last post, Chp 2.4.  I’m not exactly sure how I need to proceed. 

I’m sure that I will run into many such pauses.  Initially I feel like I want to resolve it right now, but I suspect a better idea would be to press on to Chapters 3 and 4, which I have in mind, instead of going back over the old material.

So, let me argue it out here before you and hopefully come to a decision that both resolves my delema and offers you insight into my process (AND has me writing if only on the progress page instead of real progress.)

This is intended to be a first draft.  In addition to being a novel it is, or will be, a bit of a foundational document that touches much of the world of Tir na Nua by speaking to the Biblious Monastics and the idea of long lived people and their impact as well as the impact being different has on them personally.  These are very important issues not only to this story, but to many or likely most of the rest of the stories.

Clearly, I want it to be right, and yet in this format I’m throwing it against the wall and seeing what sticks.  And then perhaps finding what stinks. 

In other work on Tir na Nua I have focused on characterization and have jumped from scene to scene in a story, ignoring the intervening narrative, and leaving it to the future to tie the scenes together.  I think that is a good approach. 

My plan is to rely on this progress page when editing becomes necessary.  If I leave 2 as it is, look for explanations and revision notices on this page.  Going forward, I may leap ahead and actually post chapters ahead, but I will try to at least tie such leaps together with outlines of the intervening plot.