On Black Friday, you won’t find me fighting the crowds for bargains. Nope. I can’t think of anything less enjoyable. Instead, I’ll be doing something I do like – finishing the first chapter of An American Terrorist (or whatever it will be called). I guess I should qualify that. I’ll be finishing the first draft of the first chapter. I’ve let Father Francis take over, so it’s more about him than I had intended. I had wanted to let the reader get a sense of place by seeing Clifton through his eyes. I’ve done that to some extent, but mostly you get to know Father Francis. So, I might have to revise it or pull it out altogether, depending on how the book unfolds.
However, in the meantime, here’s a little about the priest:
He had been 27 years old and fresh from seminary when the bishop had first assigned Father Francis to St. Boniface. It still took him nearly a 10-count to register that someone actually was addressing him, when they added “Father” before his name.
The two suitcases that the young priest dropped in front of the two-story rectory were as new as he was. The zippers, with their shiny black patina, strained to contain all the priest’s worldly possessions within the canvas confines of the unmarred bags. As Father Francis took in the artistry of the century-old building, he found his eyes drawn to the widow’s walk atop the rectory’s hip roof. The architectural detail seemed misplaced on a cloister for men. An ornate, black wrought iron railing hedged in the walkers like an embrace, as they paced above the Mississippi River.
The fledgling priest hoisted his luggage and, grasping a bag firmly in each hand, set his eyes forward. He strode purposefully over the rectory’s threshold into a lifetime of service.
It’s still a little clunky. I’m not sure if I need to say “He was so new in his vocation that it still took him nearly a 10-count…” or if that’s understood.
This section takes place 20 years earlier during his first assignment in Clifton, and you see how Father Francis has changed since those early days of his priesthood. The way that I’m thinking now, that will prove to be significant.
I don’t think it’s clunky at all! Is this a prologue for your book? If it is, my best suggestion would be to push through it. Keep writing. Get ten or more additional chapters done, and then come back to it. If you still think it’s clunky then, you can change it. I think you did a marvelous job, and in very few paragraphs, of setting the mood for the man and the location. Well done!
Thanks, Katie. I appreciate your comments. I’m midway through the chapter and it’s slow going, in part, because the way I write is to continually edit what I’ve already written. I will post more later today. I have the book roughed out but, of course, it keeps evolving, as I think it should.