Derek Berry Writes a Novel

I return from a week-long blogging hiatus with much news and intriguing insight. What you may have gleaned from the title is that I am writing a novel. More accurately, I have written a novel and am working hard on a second draft. Now, this is news only because it’s an entirely new project. For almost two years, I rewrote, revised, and queried for my last project about which I’m still passionate.

You may remember the tab “The Savagery of Sebastian Martinelli,” but I’m afraid its imminent publication might have to wait. After a lot of consideration, I have put that project on the back burner because I do not feel it accurately portrays my current views and style. Though I still think the story is one worth sharing, perhaps I am not the best person to tell it. When I first conceived to write it, in fact, it was out of a strange defiance, an immaturity, and a stab at writing something “sensational and shocking.”

But shock and awe don’t really carry story a long way, which is why I have decided to put the manuscript metaphorically into the drawer and begin anew. Fortunately, I made this decision months ago so I am well on my way to completing a new project. Last summer, I spent some time sketching out some ideas for a new book, something drastically different from what I’d been writing. By December, I had written a draft though many pieces of that draft haven’t made it into the rewriting.

In March, I decided to begin again with this story which at the moment is tentatively titled “In Lickskillet.” Read about the plot, characters, and ideas in the new tab above!

The book follows the lives of six teenagers during a modern day hate crime trial. Two of the main characters’ fathers clash in the courtroom while the teens struggle with identity, high school, and the repercussions of a murder.

I admit that when I wrote the first draft I was very set in the “shock and awe” mindset: a library exploded in the first chapter. though I still think that this was a really cool idea, it did not mesh well with the original plot, the hate crime trial where a member of the Ku Klux Klan is tried for murder. What drew me back to this project were the characters, who I realized could become richer with a rewrite. I also feel strongly about the messages and themes conveyed. Most importantly, though, I feel like it’s a good story to tell.

For that new project, I should hope to finish by the end of summer, then begin querying. I have been working every single day, making prodigious progress.

If you like to follow my progress in writing and editing and publishing, I encourage you to not just subscribe to this blog via e-mail, but also follow me on Twitter. I began tweeting only three weeks ago, and I must say it’s addictive:!/TheSavagePen.

Also, if you do not already, find me on Facebook!

I will keep Word Salad updated with news on this new project (new to you, but not really to me). Check out and comment on the book page. I feel very strongly about publishing and selling this book; I have faith in the story I’m telling.

I always loved “Drawing Hands” by Escher. A print hung in my psychology class all year, and I always liked it. I put it here for no other reason. True story.

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