The Trials and Tribulations of a Work in Progress: The Other Side of Eden

There were two stories that were the mother of The Other Side of Eden. In January 2009, I wrote “Detour” base on the prompts: “At a dump, I pulled into the gas station…, prune, pinch, dentist, Peoria”; and “Virus” based on the prompts: “At a mansion, If I had wings…, motel, contagious, spark”. Both of these prompts are from Bonnie Neubauer’s online Story Spinner.  At about the same time, I was reading the futurist, Ray Kurzweil’s, The Singularity is Near (Amazon or Barnes and Noble), which gave me the mindset that worked to morph these stories into The Other Side of Eden.

The February 2009 version has been through 35 revisions/edits ending in December 2011). Jim Chalbert was the main POV character through all these early edits.

In February of 2011, I completed the manuscript. Hooray. Done. Over. Final edits, and it’s all over. WRONG. After reading through the final versions-35 Word document I decided that that there were too many holes in the plot structure.

In April 2011, I converted this latest Word document to Scrivener. This was done to allow me to easily segment the entire story into chapter and scene segments. This would allow me to attack the problem at any point I chose. I no longer had to look at the entire MS in its entirety. Scrivener makes it ever so easy to break up a MS and keep the story structure intact.

In April of 2012, I added a new character by the name of Black (an operative for the “Agency”), this was later changed to Andreas.

In July of 2013, in Scrivener version 18 of the MS, I changed the main POV character from Jim Chalbert to Phyllis Beck. Phyllis had become more interesting to me, so…the change.

My present cast of characters include: Phyllis Beck, Jim Chalbert, Jeremy Long, Doctor Gerald Lufton, David Lee Franklin, President Jeffers, Max Brealing, Philip Donaldson, Lou, and Andreas.

My current  revision/edit history stands at version-19, completed in January 2014. It is now March 2014 and I continue to struggle with completing my manuscript. My hangup seems to be all about the full integration of Andreas into the storyline. I’ve gone so far as to consider eliminating the SOB all together. However, I know what he needs to do. I have a fairly good handle on his story timeline. Now, if I could only get the words out….

A collection of Short Stories: The Gamble Chronicles

Earlier in my notes here, I failed to mention a further resource for my story prompts. It is my file of story ideas that I have compiled over time that now includes some 125+ entries. The single entry for the Pine Barrens has been a touchstone for me in the development of various stories over the past thirteen years. There have been various ideas that have popped into my head that have found their way into a series of stories that come under the general theme of the Pine Barrens.

In my story life in the Chronicles, I first met my main character, Margaret Elizabeth Gamble (aka, Meg), in a tale about becoming lost during a trek along the Washington Turnpike looking for the pineland’s town of Adamstown. This feisty old woman greeted me at the front of her house with a 16-gauge shotgun pointed menacingly at my head. From that first meeting, there have been a series of stories that have come to me. Some of them have been about Meg, and others were told to me by Meg. These stories were about various members of the Gamble family from the time Heinrich Gamble first washed ashore in 1765, and traces various other family members over the years to the present day.

To date, the collection has not been published. However, the story of Ruth Gamble, as told in the the tale of Stolen Innocence, I’m hopeful will be included in the 2014 Tall Tales & Short Stories from South Jersey, Volume 2. Stolen Innocence takes us back to 1814 when Ruth Gamble was sixteen years of age. The story traces her trials and tribulations as she leaves the ancestral home located in Adamstown in the New Jersey Pine Barrens and finds work at Preston Hall, an estate, located to the west of the City of Philadelphia.

Some additional titles from the collection, The Gamble Chronicles, include:

Lost in the Pines
The New World
Quaker Bridge
The Great Fire of 1874
My Life in the Pines
A Letter
The Witch of Cottage Lane
Return to the Pines