I’m closing in on completion of the first draft of a novel called Mikawadizi Storms (nee Lost Shadows). Backbone of the plot is the opening of an iron ore mine in the Mikawadizi Hills, pitting the mine owner, Clive Gready, and his chorus of politicians against the local Indian tribe, the La Roche Verte Band and a few allies. It’s all fiction; in fact, it’s magical realism, but the underlying conflict will be familiar to people in Wisconsin. Main characters include: Evelyn Arnold, a thirty-something woman shaken out of the track her life was on by infertility issues. She becomes a freelance journalist who decides to cover the mine controversy. Edward Commercant, a young Indian torn between traditional Indian culture and western culture. Clive Gready (pronounced Grādy), mentioned above. Lotta Moore, runs Moore’s Bed and Breakfast, an long standing house of prostitution in the small town of Squirrely. Wesley Dubois (a.k.a Old Ham Pockets), an old Indian man constantly followed by a pack of stray dogs because he once fed them his commodity ham. There are many other characters. The narrative is organized into 40 chapters, each named for a character, each around 2,000 words, most told in linear time but a few out of sequence.
Where’s the magic? Here are a few tastes: Lotta’s whore house is well over 100 years old but it maintains itself in like-new condition and immaculately clean with no help from anyone living there. It does the same for the women living there. Evelyn carries a stuffed cat with her always, physical anchor for the ghost of her long dead cat, Fluffy. William Dubois metamorphs into a butterfly to lead an army of butterflies against a battery of evil spirits released from the earth when the mine pit gets too deep. Edward Commercant splits into two young men (twins Ed and Ward) who go their separate ways.
Editing, polishing, and drawing character sketches should take about three months, so I’m planning for a September publication date. This is one of my favorite points in writing a novel – close enough to the final product I can see how the many parts integrate. My other favorite point is the beginning, where inspiration and creativity can run wild.