by Teel McClanahan III, Copyright © 2003-2004
A novel with fantasy, literary, and superhero elements
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About the bookHe gave up on writing years ago, around the same time he thought love gave up on him. For years he tried to live a normal life, to work a normal job, and to forget about his dreams. He tried to believe they were only dreams.
Then out of the blue he is struck with the sudden compulsion to write a novel, and discovers a group of people who share that same goal, but who attempt to complete a first draft in under a month – and the month is about to begin!
At first he talks his friends into joining him, but it isn’t long before most of them give up, and he’s left to struggle with his word count in seclusion. Then he loses his job, and finds himself totally rejected and alone, with nothing but time to write. He doesn’t know where to begin his novel, and finds himself writing the story of a superhero just as rejected and alone as he feels…
Rejection is not the end of the story though, and after being defeated by storytelling and social pressure, will he be able to find the story he was always meant to tell? The story he has always been a part of, one of magic and of love fulfilled? Or are the stories he’s heard of a clock ticking down to Doomsday real? And is life worth living if you haven’t a story worth telling?
From the back cover:In this, the debut novel from creative mind Teel McClanahan III, we follow the stories of a young man trying to write his own debut novel. Faced with the added challenge of trying to complete a novel in only one month, he pours himself literally into the process. But are his attempts at fiction hitting a little too close to home? As he tries to live on one side and write on the other, he finds that the line between imagination and reality may not exist at all.
Will he finish his novel in time? Will he end up with the woman of his dreams? Will he choose to anchor himself in reality, or lose himself in his own fiction? And which of these would really be the better outcome?
Contains some mature content.
Books in this series:
About the Author
Teel is an independent author, artist, game designer & developer, creative visionary, podcaster, and publisher.
Teel is a lifelong resident of Arizona, and like most lifelong residents of Arizona, he longs to visit faraway places. Places with exotic things like weather, and trees. Places from which he can return happy and secure in the knowledge that while you always have to shovel snow, you never have to shovel heat.
Teel McClanahan III was never born but was dreamt alive by an unknown entity older than time and faster than imagination. Lost and Not Found is his twenty-fifth published autobiographical novel, and everything in it really happened*.
Podcast AudiobookThe Audio version of Lost and Not Found was recorded in 2008, and podcast both on the Modern Evil Podcast and on Podiobooks.com in 18 parts. The following is a list of links to all episodes of Lost and Not Found on the Modern Evil Podcast:
- Episode 1 – In which the main character first resolves to write a novel, and then begins to try to talk his friends into writing novels alongside him. Also in this episode, Paul explains his doomsday prediction theories and goes into detail about his evidence that a catastrophic worldwide event is soon to occur.
- Episode 2 – In which the main character attempts to talk the rest of his friends into writing novels with him, and then the next day has an inexplicably illogical and irrevocable meeting at work that will change the constraints of his own writing challenge.
- Episode 3 – In which, after a brief recap of the results of the fateful meeting in the previous episode, Ariadne and Sally discuss the main character’s writing -past and present- along with his expectantly suicidal demeanor and undiminished desirability, and then the main character -after a week of painful anticipation- finds himself stumped for story ideas when the time comes to start writing.
- Episode 4 – In which the main character’s novel begins, following the story of a man discovering that he has super powers by accident, and during the writing of which only one other person shows up for the meeting, and then only to bring further disappointment.
- Episode 5 – In which the main character continues writing Job’s story of discovering his powers, and then goes through a ridiculously disorganized job interview experience.
- Episode 6 – In which the main character writes a sort of origin- or back- story for his superhero character, Job, detailing the secrets of his birth and early life, and later writes about Job’s experimentation with flight and super-sight, far from civilization.
- Episode 7 – In which the main character, despite finally getting a chance to meet with and write with other writers, begins to lose faith in his ability to write a superhero’s story properly -especially after doing a bit of research on the subject of superheroic story arcs- and during the course of which he writes about Job’s discovery of super strength, extremely rapid healing, and his first steps toward designing his costume.
- Episode 8 – In which the main character, after a disappointing meeting with the other writers, and after writing a disappointing meeting between his superhero character Job and the journalist from the beginning of his story, becomes so disillusioned that he gives up on that story and starts a new one from scratch, this time about his own past relationships, writing them out with all the intimate, personal details he can recall.
- Episode 9 – In which David -the protagonist of the main character’s second attempt at writing a novel, a thinly veiled fictionalization of his own love life- meets, dates, finds love with, and loses Dawn.
- Episode 10 – In which the main character shows up to another less-than-encouraging write-in, and in which he writes about a dark turn his romantic life had taken, a strange one, and then into what turned into his first long-distance relationship.
- Episode 11 – In which the main character’s continuing second attempt to write a novel in a month follows his first long distance relationship and includes several more of his saved love letters and the details of how David finds himself falling in love with Renee in time to do something about it.
- Episode 12 – In which the main character faces harsh criticism from the other people in his local writing group for the somewhat controversial content of his novel, following which he decides once again to set aside his novel in progress and go in a new direction.
- Episode 13 – In which the main character, remembering the first time he’d met Peter Pan, steps out of a plane in mid-air… and then in which he returns to Never-never Land for an emotional reunion with Tink.
- Episode 14 – In which Sally and Ariadne discuss the main character’s disappearance, and in which he convinces Tink to leave Never-never Land with him, soon after which they happen upon the villages of Titana and Old Titana, meeting an amicable Titan along the way.
- Episode 15 – In which the main character and Tink reach Haven, find an Inn and get a room, have a good night’s sleep, eat breakfast, and take a bath before washing the dishes.
- Episode 16 – In which the main character and Tink get dressed, exchange introductions with Trunk, the two-headed inkeeper, and then visit Haven’s old museum.
- Episode 17 – In which the main character and Tink get a glimpse of their future together, get engaged, and find themselves surrounded at their engagement party by friends and neighbors they didn’t know they had, and then in which Ariadne calls Sally, panicked that the main character may finally have killed himself.
- Episode 18 – In which the police break in to the main character’s house at Ariadne’s anxious request, the doomsday Paul predicted in Episode 1 comes to pass right on schedule, and in which -ten years later- we find out about Tink and the main character’s life together in Haven on their final day there.
Write a novel in a month
Within the first few pages of Lost and Not Found the main character learns about a group of people who, once a year, attempt to write an entire novel within the space of a single month. In the novel, the month they attempt to accomplish this feat in is the most difficult of months: February. In reality, such a group exists, but they (or should I say, we) attempt to write a novel in the somewhat less aggressive month of November. I can tell you from personal experience that between the two extra days and the long Thanksgiving weekend (here in the US), November offers quite an advantage over the situation I wrote my characters into.
The real-life event is called National Novel Writing Month, or just NaNoWriMo for short. According to this page, in 2011 there were over 250,000 participants from all over the world, and at least 36,000 of them “won” – writing an entire novel from scratch in under one month. In 2011, I wrote around 65k words toward the Never Let the Right One Go duology during November. I’ve thrown my hat in the ring every year since NaNoWriMo 2002, and have “won” a little over half the time so far. Lost and Not Found, in fact, contains most of my first NaNoWriMo novel, from 2002, as well as a fictionalized version of the process of writing that novel.
In reality, my path had some real differences from the main character of Lost and Not Found. For example, in November of 2002, after a week of working on my first attempt I gave up, threw that attempt out and started from scratch. Then, after another two weeks working on my second attempt, I gave up, threw that attempt out and started from scratch again. Then, with only 8 days left, and with two failed attempts already under my belt for that month (not to mention two previous attempts to write a novel in a month, outside of NaNoWriMo), I wrote an entire novel from start to finish in under eight days. In Lost and Not Found, the main character only makes two attempts to complete NaNoWriMo in time, not three.
Of course, keep in mind that what you write in November (and I encourage anyone who’s ever thought they might give writing a try to try NaNoWriMo) is only a first draft. I worked for another year (right up to NaNoWriMo 2003, actually) on trying to turn that first draft into the story I wanted to tell. In that time, it doubled in length and took on several layers of depth, symbolism, and a matured character arc for the main character. The final product is as much about the writing process and the pressures and challenges of writing as it is about love and relationships and fairy-tale endings.
If you want to learn more about NaNoWriMo, or if you want to be inspired to try your hand at writing, I recommend two things: 1) Go to NaNoWriMo.org and read what they have to say about it, and sign up. 2) Read (or listen to) Lost and Not Found; if you go the audio route, episodes 1 and 2 of the audiobook really have the most information about the month-long novel idea—just remember that in the book it’s February, and in real life it’s November.
*And if you believe that, you haven’t read the disclaimer on page 2.