Why a Novel in Sonnets (and how you can help)

Bucket - Aaron Strout
“Shall I compare thee to a metal pail?” (“Bucket” photo by Aaron Strout, CC by 2.0)
I have a bucket list. It isn’t like most: I’ve already gone many places, seen wondrous things, met amazing people, found my true love, raised a family with her, owned a motorcycle, rode it through the Rockies, held multiple occupations (factories, nursing, military, game design, education), presidented the WI Fellowship of Poets, won some game-design and poetry awards, and so on.

My bucket list is to write a handful of novels that have been hanging fire while I did those other things.

Now, one great way to master novel writing is to write copies of what masterful novelists have written. Steven Pressfield (The Legend of Bagger Vance) typed out passages of Hemingway for practice. Jack London hand wrote copies of Kipling. Robert Louis Stephenson and Benjamin Franklin copied authors they admired.

I’m trying something different: In my first novel, I’ve been applying poetry skills to write chapters as sonnets, and aggregating those slowly but surely into an overarching plot. The result is The Pastime Machine, an irreverent mashup of Dante and Wells. It’s roughly half done at the time of this post.

After completing this first novel, I’ll tackle the next ones in prose. Before I die, I hope to finish at least Van Helsing’s Confession (an iconoclastic take on Dracula), L’Académie des Arcanes (an adventure story of modern-day magical police, based on the D6xD6 setting), and Suzie-Q Suzuki (which may well end up as a series). I’m sure other titles will come.

In our social-media world, many artists, musicians, filmmakers, and even game designers are supported in their work by a community of patrons. To fund my own creative dreams, I’ve set up a page at Patreon.com.

So, if you’re a friend, or a fan; if I’ve touched your life in some positive way in the past; please consider pledging $1/mo. at Patreon.com/LesterSmith to help make these things a reality. I promise to do my level best to make the rewards well worth your while. Thank you.

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