... NOT to begin your novel.
I listened to the first 15 minutes of this book on one of my blood runs this wet weekend.
The unidentified narrator spent the whole time telling, re-telling, and rationalizing
why he could not tell the story.
By the end of that agonizing time, I heartily agreed that neither he nor Mr. Card could tell the story.
I switched off the audiobook and reflected
on why such a talented writer as Orson Scott Card could go so far off the mark.
As a fledging writer, I suddenly thought of one possible explanation
since I have fallen victim to the problem myself.
HE COULD NOT GET BACK INTO THE FLOW OF THE STORY
HAVING LEFT IT FOR SO LONG
So he pumped out word after word in a desperate attempt to tap into the fires of his tale once more.
I think we all have been there.
But once we grasp the lightning once more, we edit those stumbling chapters out of the novel.
In fact, I have adapted that flailing into a way to add depth to my long-lived hero, Samuel McCord.
I write the first beginning chapters of my newer novels as earlier episodes of his long life,
taking enemies and friends made in those exploits
and weaving them into the tapestry of the latter chapters taking place years later.
You get a sense of time passing, of lessons learned, of mistakes haunting the better man he became.
Which leads to another chaffing thing to JOURNEYMAN ...
Alvin and his love, Peggy, are too old to continuously make the same mistakes made in their teens.
They seem forced to act in ways, contrary to people in their late twenties,
just to advance the story where Mr. Card wishes it to go.
This series is supposed to be the Saga of Alvin Maker ...
and yet halfway through the novel,
(I was driving 15 hours straight Sunday so I kept on listening)
Alvin is in perhaps 10% of this novel so far.
I am in no way close to Mr. Card's caliber of writing ...
not even in the same galaxy even ...
So I am not holding my own novels in comparison to his.
Yet, reading ALVIN JOURNEYMAN is like going to the Louvre
and see da Vinci had given the Mona Lisa a pig's snout.
The first three novels are excellent though so read them ...
and you may well find yourself of a different opinion than mine about this novel.
Here's hoping Orson Scott Card does not know my address!