Larry O. Grand's Big Excuse!!!
or "Why Haven't We Had Any New Chapters of IN THE LAND OF KEYS in four months?"
When I first began writing "In the Land of Keys," my intention was to finish the novel by May 1997, which is, incidentally, when the novel itself comes to an end as well. It is now July 1997 and, for those who have been faithfully following the progress of the novel on the internet, only nine chapters have been completed. Now, I could say that this was intended to be a REALLY SHORT novel, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Read on for an explanation, or what I like to call "Larry O. Grand's Really Big Excuse."
For this novel, I decided to try something a little different. Rather than intentionally write the chapters in sequential order, I would try to write them in the order that they would appear but if I came up with an idea or something else I would deviate and write it, and insert it in later. I first started writing this novel in 1994, and I wrote ten chapters at the time. When I resusitated this project in 1997, I did some mixing and matching. What was originally chapter one was moved to chapter three; what was chapter two became chapter one, and other switches were made. A new prologue was written (actually, the original story did not have a prologue). Other chapters originally intended to be early in the story began to get pushed back.
When this project began in 1997, my plan was to keep at least four chapters ahead on the novel than what was being posted onto the internet. And I was, at first. But a new chapter was to be released every week, and it slowly started to creep up on me that I was falling behind. Chapter 9 was the last chapter posted in early April. I have chapter 10, 12,20 and 37 already written. But before I could continue, a number of situations presented themselves to further complicate things.
(This is where the big excuse begins.)
First of all, I fell ill. Throughout most of April and half of May, I came down with bronchial pneumonia. And while I could otherwise normally function, my constant wheezing and gasping for oxygen left me in a state that prevented me from properly writing. Chapter 10 is the only product of this time period.
Then, the reviews of the novel started to roll in, and one thing became clear: Due to the segmented nature of the story, with multiple subplots running around and little details that need to be remembered from one chapter to the other, readers were having trouble keeping up and understanding the story by reading the serialized version. A couple of readers were even going so far as to print out new chapters as they came out, and saving them so they could read a whole section at once. And it is true, there are little things from one chapter to the other that you do have to remember in order to grasp the full story (for example, someone wandering around in the background of one chapter would later pop up in another chapter, but only if you remember what someone said in a different, previous chapter would you fully understand what was going on). Little intricacies like those are what make writing fun, but only if you are sitting down and reading each chapter continuously are you going to remember such things, and I had not anticipated this when I initially started the book with the intention of publishing it over the internet.
Does this mean that I am going to abandon "In the Land of Keys"? No. I started this novel and I intend to finish it. Besides, I have a definite goal for some of these characters, who will be featured in the next novel, and I need to get them there. Does this mean that the format of "In the Land of Keys" will change? No. I am going to continue doing what I am doing, because that's the way the novel started, and I would prefer to remain consistent. I will try to cut down a little bit on the EXTREME intricateness of the novel, as I do not wish to make it too complicated that even I forget what I am doing.
While recovering from my illness, and during the time that I was not writing, I began to re-evaluate the novel and the Larry O. Grand Universe in general, and the direction that the story was proceeding. In the first major story arc of the LOG Universe, "The Saga of the Omniscient Observer," the stories focused around the residents of the town of Grandville. In the second story arc, "The Second Saga," some of those characters graduated from Sirek High School in Grandville and went to college at Palestrina University. The five novels of that arc focused on the people who populated the university. In the third story arc, which currently has no title but of which "In the Land of Keys" is the first book, the focus is on the town which surrounds the university (which was never named in the second arc, and probably never will be). The residents of Palestrina University occasionally ventured out into the town that surrounded it, but the town itself never actually developed a personality. For the third story arc, the college town will be the main focus of the story.
In order to accomplish this, some serious research was in order. I needed to do some hands-on research at a college town, to get the feel for the environment there. I had spent the last four years in Lexington, Kentucky, a college metropolis (housing both the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University); I needed to get the feel for a smaller college town. Having spent a good number of years in Richmond, KY, home of Eastern Kentucky University, I knew what a college town was like, but I needed to find somewhere else, somewhere different, somewhere out of Kentucky. After much deliberation, I finally decided to move my research to Natchitoches, Louisiana, hope of Northwestern State University. Why such a drastic move, from Kentucky to Louisiana??? I felt that the town of Natchitoches would provide aspects that I could blend with those of Lexington and Richmond to get the proper feel for the town that Palestrina University would reside in. Also, it didn't hurt that Pusm Productions, my former employers, were planning on relocating their facilities to Natchitoches, and I could always crash with them if I needed to. What a coincidence!!!
Speaking of crashing, that's exactly what happened next in this turbulent tale. My Macintosh Classic, which had been faithfully storing my works for seven years, decided to leave me for someplace better. Fortunately, I didn't lose much -- only the new chapters that I have been working on. This happened shortly after my move to Natchitoches was complete. Pusm Productions, in their infinite generosity, has allowed me to use their Compaq Presario whenever they are not using it, which is usually during odd hours of the early morning. That would be great, except for one problem -- the Presario is an IBM compatible. However, they are letting me use their internet access, so that's one less thing I have to worry about.
So I moved down to Louisiana late June. After stomping around town a bit, searching for a place to stay and finally moving in with Pusm Productions, I am finally ready to get going. I've been spending my days wandering around the town making observations and taking notes, and at night I've been doing my writing and preparing to send off new chapters to subscribers to the ITLOK mailing list as well as the ITLOK web page itself.
So that's my big excuse. Believe what you will. New chapters of "In the Land of Keys" should begin appearing by early August. I welcome your thoughts and comments via e-mail, my address is the same as it always was: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading, and enjoy.
Larry O. Grand
July 14, 1997