By Michael Seese
Blog followers? That would be nice.
Advance on royalties? That would be REALLY nice.
No, I'm pleased to say that after just a little over a week of writing, my new novel-in-progress has reached the 10,000-word mark. Here is the official day-by-day tally.
Though I have said in the past that I tend to concern myself too much with word count, in this case, I'm a deadline. So it does matter.
I now feel as though I can share the title. It's "The Secret Life Of Gustave Eiffel." Below is another snippet.
He had just settled back into one of the plush leather chairs with a cigar and a snifter of Brandy de Jerez when he heard a minor commotion near the door. Rising from his comfortable position, he saw that the excitement stemmed from the arrival of the American humorist Mark Twain. Though Eiffel had never read any of Twain’s three (or was it four?) novels, he had heard that the Missourian was an excellent conversationalist, one possessed of a sharp mind and a sharper tongue. Reasoning that it would behoove him to secure Twain as an ally—lest his world-renowned vitriol join the already maddening chorus of critics—he followed Twain to the bar and said, “Marcel, I would like the pleasure of buying Monsieur Twain’s drink, if he will accept it, that is.”
Turning to face Eiffel, an impish smile erupted from beneath Twain’s famously bushy mustache. “Actually, I stopped in to inquire about purchasing this entire establishment. So, as long as you’re buying...” Seeing a flash of fear trace across Eiffel’s face, Twain quickly added, “Forgive me, Monsieur. I am told that my sense of humor is an acquired taste. Merci. I gratefully accept your kind offer, Monsieur...”
“Eiffel. Gustave Eiffel.”
“Ah, the man behind the Statue Of Liberty. Or should I say ‘underneath?’ It is a great honor to make your acquaintance, sir.”
A second drink arrived, and Eiffel motioned toward his chair near the fireplace.
The men sat down. Twain took a deep breath of the oakey scent, and said, “Magnificent! Now all that I require is a fine—”
Eiffel produced from a pocket his leather cigar case, and offered one.
“Monsieur Eiffel, I must say I have found that everything we Americans hear about the French—your grace, your civility, and your timing—is absolutely true. Thank you,” he said, likewise accepting a light from the match held in Eiffel’s outstretched hand. After a few puffs, he said, “At times like these, good sir, I am convinced that the almighty created man, alcohol, tobacco, and woman...in that order.”
Eiffel chuckled at the bon mot. Clearly, Twain’s reputation did not exceed him.
“I would suggest the addition of ‘humor’ in the fourth position, Monsieur Twain.”
“Touché! Very well played, sir.”
They took simultaneous sips of the fragrant alcohol.
“So, what brings you to Paris, Monsieur Twain?”
I feel that I've made some good progress, though this past weekend, I found my faith a bit shaken. I had come up with the basics -- though they needed fleshing out -- leading up to the "defining moment" in the book. But I only had 7,000 words leading up and including the "defining moment," and very little idea of what would come next.
And then from my library came a book I had ordered: Eiffel's Tower by Jill Jonnes. I'm basically scanning it, but the book has proven to be a veritable encyclopedia that details the events surrounding the building of the Tower which, as you might have guessed, is the aforementioned "defining moment." In short, it is chock full of the personalities, other than Gustave Eiffel, who were swirling around Paris at the time. (Ergo, the Mark Twain passage.) It's given me new life.
I so will have to acknowledge Ms. Jonnes in the foreword, and send her a copy when the book is published.
Let us see what the coming week brings...