Note: This post first featured on “The Art of…” blog, under my name: David Atkinson http://davidsartof.blogspot.com/
Murder, drink, divorce, bankruptcy and love threaten in the unfolding drama of a city-executive as he looses control of his business and his life.
Well, the first draft of River of Judgment is now complete and, having set a target of 80,000 words for this novel, I came in surprisingly close with 85000.
I have looked back over the statistics… outline of plot 30 August 08 – on a spread-sheet of all places – well I am an engineer! The outline was then developed, off and on, over September before I then started to write out a detailed plot treatment. The file date-stamps on my trusty lap-top tell me that I started to write the first chapter in anger on 11 October, and finished the first complete draft on 12 November.
I must add that I have had the advantage of being able to devote my full time to this project; otherwise I might still be writing the novel this time next year.
Apparently, having now read a bit about writing novels – as opposed to academic/non-fiction – there are two camps: the plotters and the non-plotters. Armed with my spread-sheet outline plot, with its section and chapter analysis, I must clearly be of the former persuasion. Without some form of plan I would have found great difficulty in ensuring that I had covered the various angles without veering off-course.
Has this anything to do with management? …Perhaps.
As I have covered in “Thinking the Art of Management”, in July 1994 the Chairman of The Walt Disney Company, Michael Eisner, struggled to fill the void of Disney’s President, Frank Wells’ unexpected and untimely death in a helicopter accident. Notwithstanding Michael’s overwhelming sense of sadness and loss, he told of his anger at Frank, for Frank’s death, for ‘…[Frank’s] not [being] around to help [him] deal with a very difficult situation…’ Indeed, less than 36-hours following Frank’s death, Jeffrey Katzenberg, the de facto Number 3 in the ranks of Disney executives, had apparently laid the ultimatum on Michael Eisner that ‘…Either [he got] Frank’s job as president… or [he was] going to leave the [Disney].’
[From Eisner, M. (1999) ‘Work in Progress’, New York: Hyperion.]
I have commented that, even under “normal” business conditions, within the managerial narrative the challenge of management and organizational practice is often about the introduction of change to achieve some vision, purpose or function. If we then consider the inevitability of unexpected management scenarios, such as that painted by Eisner, even the best efforts to manage effectively become prone to ambiguity, emotion and seeming irrationality.
Thus it is with River of Judgment where I explore the ambiguity, emotion and seeming irrationality that arises when a city executive is faced with an unfolding drama that is not of his choosing. SO! OK! The murder is a bit over the top… but then it is a novel and I have to appeal to a fictional readership!