The Novel: A Young Man's Game

Sometime in 1988, I embarked on a journey that would shape my life as a writer, a journey on which I still find myself all these years later. It was that year, the year of my high school graduation, that I began writing A Young Man's Game.

I didn't come up with the title until after I had finished the first draft, which I wrote on my old IBM PC. That's right, the
original IBM PC, with two 5-1/4" floppy drives, no hard drive, 256KB of RAM, MS-DOS 2.0, and a green monochrome monitor limited to alphanumeric display only. I wrote it using an old word processing app called WordStar. It took almost a year to finish, but sometimes I'd go weeks without writing anything. By the time all was said and done, a year and 80,000 words later, I began the long, slow, repetitive, often painstaking process of editing and revising this literary monstrosity I had created, in hopes of someday getting it published.

Obviously, that didn't happen, or you wouldn't be viewing this page right now. I submitted it to several publishers around 1990 or 91, after my first major revision. Only one publisher showed any interest, one called Aegina Press in Virginia, but they wanted to publish it under a subsidy (meaning, I pay the costs of publication and receive all the proceeds until I recoup; the amount was over $4000).

Out of pure necessity, I did another major revision in 1993-94 after getting a new computer (actually it was a friend's old IBM PC-AT) and therefore having to transcribe by hand the entire text of the novel into Microsoft Works, which couldn't successfully convert the old WordStar files. By now the original 80,000 word manuscript was down to about 65,000 words; I sent out another volley of submissions to publishers with no positive results.

For the next major revision, which I finished sometime in 1997, I basically rewrote the entire second half, and the first two chapters. I was so pleased with this revision that although I did not send it to any publishers, I donated a copy to my local library and even gave copies to students (by this time I had begun my career as an English teacher). But I soon realized that the second half was now so much better than the first that another revision would eventually be needed. Which brings us here.

Though I started rewriting the beginning of the novel nearly two years ago, as of January 2002 I haven't gotten past Chapter 3. Hopefully, posting the chapters here will inspire and motivate me to pick up where I left off and finish what I hope will be the ultimate (meaning final) revision of the novel. I've pretty much accepted the fact that this work will never be published commercially, but I'd still like to finish it so I can...well, finish it. And be finished with it.

I wish I could take the time to talk about all the changes and transformations this story and its characters have been through over the past decade. Perhaps in the future, as more chapters are posted, I'll do that. For now, here are the first three:

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

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