“Illuminated Fools:” a novel in progress

IF-2-72-dpiwebThink High Fidelity meets Cloud Atlas.

Here’s a peek at the work in progress I’ve been workshopping and working on since September 2010. Update 3-2023: Have for now taken down the synopsis and treatments, and left the updates and elements of the workshop process. If requested may provide elevator pitch, synopsis or treatment, please Contact  me if interested, thanks. Not abandoned, nearly completed, merely protected. New website coming soon. 

Illuminated Fools

It’s your world, with weird sprinkled on top.


James Sallis and all the good people in his novel writing class have been very helpful in my transition from writing mostly short pieces – primarily poetry – to working on a novel. Nearly every page has been through his workshop and revised based on student feedback and Jim’s amazing critiques / edits.

Click below if interested in the nuts and bolts updates about when chapters were finished, and what I’m working on. Thanks for your interest and support for works in progress.




March 2023 – Chapter 27 completed, working on 28 and completion of novel. 117,000 words and counting.

November 2021 – Chapter 23. Actually complete in May but not posted about for no good reason. About 6400 words, which brings manuscript over 100,000 critiqued and edited words. That’s about 290 8 1/2 x 11 pages single-spaced in word. Going to keep on Trucking. The bolts that hold together the metal “boards’ of the physical manuscript I keep for a visual reminder of what I’ve written are over an inch long and the nuts on them are as far down the threads as possible so need to acquire new bolts. I need to reprint that physical manuscript single spaced and on both sides of the page to allow for more words to be held within. Again, seems like a good problem.

Currently about 4,000 words into Chapter 24, and have some good flow. I can maybe see the finish line, but don’t want to tempt fate by being overconfident. The goalposts have moved before. Ever Onward! 11-12-21


January 2021 – Chapter 22.  About 5300 words, which brings manuscript close to 95,000 critiqued and edited words. That’s roughly 270 8 1/2 x 11 pages single-spaced in word. Going to keep on Trucking. The bolts that hold together the metal “boards’ of the physical manuscript I keep for a visual reminder of what I’ve written are over an inch long and the nuts on them are as far down the threads as possible so need to acquire new bolts. That seems like a good problem. Onward.

November 2020 – Chapter 21. Continuation of storylines from 20, which follows more of the trials and tribulations of main character in modern narrative as well as a kind of hybrid storyline which starts in the modern narrative and then goes back in time to 1898. Ch. 21 is about 6000 words which brings manuscript to just about 90,000 workshopped and revised words. Hope to wrap up in a few more chapters this year, ideally before or by my 50th birthday in March.  

July 2020 – Chapter 20, Important material I’m relatively happy with that propels the narrative and brings me closer to finishing. Over 6100 words, which brings the manuscript to about 84,000 words. Workshopped in July, added to manuscript a couple of months later. Have two more chapters workshopped, one added to manuscript and other revising which puts me at about 90,000 words, depending. Chugging away, have some steam, hope to update more frequently. Here’s a pick of the paper manuscript in progress, a super unique steel loose leaf book held together with a couple of bolts. Onward. 


December 2018 – Two new Chapters, primarily central narrative-based but most everything here forward will be a kind of hybrid or a new kind of chapter. Chapters 18 and 19 have been revised post-workshop and added to manuscript, now about 73,000 words. Chapter 19 has been workshopped but not revised as of this update, hope to put it to bed before the end of the year. Again I’m happy with the momentum in the story, but not with the rate of production. That said, plot-wise I can see the end of the tunnel, and it’s not an oncoming train. May create a separate post with photos of the manuscript, etc. It is possible I can finish this beast in 2020, I certainly hope fucking so. Onward.
June 2018 – Three new Chapters, post-1910 but not entirely in the contemporary narrative. Chapters 15, 16 and 17, workshopped and revised, which together comprise about 13,500 words. Manuscript is now approximately 68,500 words. 15, 16 and 17 are pivotal chapters, a kind of suite that take the novel into the last third, but it took too long to get there. I’m pleased with the writing and did write a number of short stories and other writing in the time since the last update, but three years is far too long. Too much time not sitting at the writing desk. Lots O’ Life. Novel sessions too sporadic for my liking, intend to be more disciplined.

For now, I can’t see the finish line, I have crested the hill and there’s a hydration station in the distance. As uncle Sammy wrote: “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”

June 23rd 2015 – Two new Peachy Platters chapters, chapters 11 and 13 workshopped and revised. Manuscript is 156  8 1/2 x 11 pages, nearly 56000. Important chapters but took too long to write and then be critiqued. Need to step up output.Did have an art show, wrote a couple of short stories and worked on submissions some in this time, but need more novel pages, dammit!

Feb 3rd 2014 – New Peachy Platters Chapter. Manuscript is now 140 8 1/2 x 11 pages, nearly 49,000 words. Staying in the central storyline for the time being. I have removed the links to the full manuscript, will put up excerpts  from each narrative soon, novel related material upon request.

Oct 15 2013 – New central narrative Chapter, finished with 1910 for now. Manuscript is 124 pages, nearly 44,000 words. Would like to pick up the pace.

April 22, 2013 – New 1910 Chapter, manuscript now 111 pages 8 1/2 x 11″ pages, almost 40,000 words. Now back to writing in modern day for a while.

Feb 25, 2013. New 1910 Chapter. The manuscript is now ninety-one 8.5 / 11″  pages and 35,000 words!

** September 4th. New 1910 chapter added, now over 30,000 words and eighty-one 8 1/2 x 11″ pages. I’m happy but need to step up the output. **

** April 9 2012 – New Chapter, second of three or four in the 1910 storyline added. Now 26,000 words & Seventy 8 1/2 by 11″ pages at 1.5 space. Pleased.**

** Dec 6 2011 – updated this post from Oct. and moved it back to the top, glad to have a very different new chapter to offer.**



~ by 15wattLasVegas on June 9, 2018.

2 Responses to ““Illuminated Fools:” a novel in progress”

  1. Hey Jonathan,

    Thanks for sharing part of the novel you’re working on. I really love multiple story aspect and some of those characters remind me of my days visiting Tower and Zia Records…very cool and goofy folk all around. I can’t wait to see how this develops. I’m also enjoying some of your other writing you’ve posted. Great blog all together dude! Keep it up.


  2. aren’t you worried about people ripping off your amazing work by having it in full display on the Internet?

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