Inside Story

Fourteen years ago the idea of Trevorode the Defender first came to me.

The original opening line was:

“With a sigh, I turned off my desk lamp and leaned back in my green vinyl chair.”

[Find this line, sans desk lamp, in Chapter Two, “A Kind Stranger.”]

My original hero was Trevor Rhoades, who now appears as a less-than-stellar college athlete who only wants a high enough GPA to stay eligible.

The original Trevor had double majored in college—history and creative writing. (Realistic?)

Trevor, like Agnes, worked his way through college by stacking produce in a local grocery store.

He, however, was never lovesick—only focused, mature and responsible. (Boring?)

He secured a job at a publishing firm: Fargo and Gaunt (it made sense to me at the time). He’d created a super hero he named for himself—“Trevorode the Defender.” The success of his stories made it impossible for him to write serious, scholarly works. (At the time, this seemed like conflict to me. Now I think “being published in any fashion would please an aspiring writer.”)

He appealed to his boss, Mr. Fargo, to let him branch out. Their conversation (still in Chapter One) is the longest section of the original work contained in the current story. Fargo now appears as “Ferguson Trask.”

The only other remaining fragments are the (now walk-on) characters, Moe and Gretchen Tate (actually, the latter is only mentioned), who operate the Whispering Pines (now) Motor Lodge in Chapter Sixteen, “A Broken Chord.”

Having now paid homage to my original cast and story, I will leave off. They served their purpose and I salute them.

All my chapter titles have double meanings:

“A Novel Beginning” (Chapter One) means not only “A[n] [original, unique] Beginning,” but also… the beginning of the novel.

“A Fork in the Road” refers not only to a “change of direction,” but also to the significance of that eating utensil.

My former students in British Literature will recognize (it is hoped) my many references to the greatest novelist who ever lived and wrote: Charles Dickens. I’ll leave the reader to find these on his/her own. The prominent role of Great Expectations is a given.