Dolnstein, History, Luther, Northern Plains

Double Book Progress & Toxic Tourism

The Black Band: Finished draft 2 of chapter 3 and fired it off to my editor. Today I have a 3 hour Write-In with a colleague to work on chapter 4, in which Paul Dolnstein drinks a beer with Martin Luther.

The War with the Sioux: Today brings a Skype editing meeting with my co-translator.

Toxic Tourism: Apparently this is a thing. Toxic Tourism is a form of activist tourism where people pay to visit environmental disaster zones. These would be zones created by human actions – pollution in particular.

Bill Caraher notes that Toxic Tourism tends toward a less than helpful focus on “economically disadvantaged, minority, and marginalized communities which do not have the political standing to challenge unscrupulous producers or the location and precautions associated with dangerous and toxic industries.” Caraher talks about its impact on the Bakken oil patch here.

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Dolnstein, Luther, Workshopping a Novel. "The Hundred: A Novel of Young Luther and His World"

Things To Keep In Mind While Working On The Next Novel

  • If it is not central to the plot, do not include it.
  • If you must include it, change the plot.
  • Every chapter is its own story.
  • Tight, clean book. (There will be foul language as it is about Luther, peasants, and mercenaries. Clean here means clutter free.)
  • Keep the goals of the book ever in mind.
  • Do not explain. Rather, let the characters live the story. If you must explain, let the characters do it for you.
Dolnstein, History, Literary Project, Luther, Northern Plains, Village Arts

Book Updates

The War with the Sioux: Norwegians against Indians, 1862-1863 is with the publisher now. We are working on images and maps. The hope is a fall print date. The War with the Sioux is a collaborative translation of Karl Jakob Skarstein’s Krigen mot Siouxene: nordmenn mot indianerne, 1862-1863.

Voices from the Prairie is printing, as I understand it. Voices from the Prairie is a regional literary anthology.

The Black Band, the novel of Martin Luther and the Peasants’ War, is receiving all of my writing time now. I am adding several new chapters and have rewritten those I posted earlier to Scribd. I have hopes of being done by the end of the summer. We shall see. In the meantime, if I seem stranger than usual it is because I am in the 16th century.

Dolnstein, Luther, Workshopping a Novel. "The Hundred: A Novel of Young Luther and His World"

Workshopping Chapter 1

Luther's Parents, Hans and Margarethe (called Hannah)
Luther’s Parents, Hans and Margarethe (called Hannah)

The Hundred: A Novel of Young Luther and His World

As noted when I posted the Preface, I am putting provisional chapters of my novel out there as I work toward finishing this book. There are numerous problems I’ll need to overcome with these working drafts. Feedback on drafts of my non-fiction has been useful; I expect similar results from feedback on fiction drafts. Two writers’ groups are workshopping drafts. Through Scribd, the public will also have access to the work as it happens. I appreciate any and all feedback. It probably goes without saying, but please be polite.

Two Notes:

  1. This chapter and Chapter 2 may be switched in order in the final manuscript.
  2. Working covers are only visual aids at this point, but feedback on those is welcome as well.

Purposes of a Public Approach to Drafting a Work of Fiction:

  • To generate feedback on drafts.
  • To allow those with an interest in the book to watch it unfold.
  • To open Luther’s world for the curious.
  • To motivate me to finish a project that has driven my academic research for a number of years.
Dolnstein, Luther, Workshopping a Novel. "The Hundred: A Novel of Young Luther and His World"

Workshopping a Novel: Preface.

The Hundred: A Novel of Young Luther and His World

I have been working on two Luther novels for more years than I care to admit now. A full initial draft of the second novel is done, and I am presently adding to a draft of the first novel. I have decided to put chapter drafts out there on the interwebs, as they say, as I get to them. By “out there” I mean that two writers’ groups will workshop this with me. Through Scribd, the public will also have access to the work as it happens, and will have the opportunity to provide feedback. The cover is more a visual aid than anything else, but input on cover design is welcome too.
This public approach has several purposes:
  • To generate feedback on drafts. 
  • To allow those with an interest in the book to watch it unfold. 
  • To open Luther’s world for the curious.
  • To motivate me to finish a project that has driven my academic research for a number of years. 
Dolnstein, Workshopping a Novel. "The Hundred: A Novel of Young Luther and His World"

Getting A Novel Done

National Historic Research and Preservation Award Winner, Daughters of Colonial Wars
National Historic Research and Preservation Award Winner, Daughters of Colonial Wars

After several requests and 9 years, I have finally created an ebook version of my first novel. The ebook came about while I was working on a model for finishing my second novel, The Hundred, which is about the world of Martin Luther’s youth. It is the first of two novels about Luther and his world, both of which are fairly well drafted.

A few considerations weigh on my production of the Luther novels:

  • fulfilling a promise to people who are waiting for them.
  • exploring the idea of the novel as a medium for public history.
  • getting them done.

I am toying seriously (Can one do that?) with the idea of publishing polished but not final drafts of chapters on Scribd, which houses a few of my older academic papers. These chapter drafts would allow readers to be part of the process as I write, offering feedback and observing the work’s progress. They would provide the public with immediate access to the late medieval world in short snapshots. Publicly available chapters might also stimulate interest in the project before it comes out as a bound book. These drafts would also break down the colossus that is the project at present. Feedback, even if only in page hits, would provide immediate incentive to get through this first book in the next year or two. This sort of motivation and encouragement will become increasingly important given that I will be teaching 3 courses this summer and 4 in the fall.

I welcome comments on this idea.