Okay, okay. I wrote Chapter 15 of Atlanta Nights. It’s one of the two chapters (the other is 12b) that were written from the same chunk of outline, the one in which Yvonne Perrin and Richard Isaacs wind up shagging each other at Callie Archer and Bruce Lucent’s wedding reception. Incidentally, the wedding is recapped in detail by one of the characters in Chapter 14, so there are actually three non-matching accounts of the same occasion.
Don’t get your hopes up. Chapter 15 is not awash in joyful errors. In fact, it’s the one chapter in the book that’s written in something resembling standard English, though Jim Macdonald did throw in a bunch of formatting errors plus a typo or two, just to keep it from looking like it belonged in a different book. I figured it would confuse the issue.
But that wasn’t the whole of my intent. What’s the matter with my chapter? Everything. Bear in mind that I don’t write fiction; I edit it. Chapter 15 may be written in passable commercial prose, but it sheds no light, tells no stories, leads nowhere, says nothing that hasn’t been said before, and in general has no damned reason to exist.
I see a lot of books like that.And now for something completely different: a bit of Chapter 7!
The sun broke through the clouds then its brilliant golden disk burning a hole through the great puffs of water vapor to send a shaft of golden light zigzagging down through the layers of atmosphere and warm the earth in a way that no sunlight since the beginning of time had ever warmed the earth before. Somewhere a child was being born. Somewhere a dog was barking. Life was going on but in this one moment at this particular place in time and space. The two beautiful women, one twisting her hair into knots, the other sittings sideways, were not part of it. They were here only for each other and for the memory of a great man who had walked the earth like a rock in the sand. Life is like that sometimes, thought Margaret helplessly.