The First Two Paragraphs of My Novel

A short excerpt from Riot and Devotion, a modern fable about anxiety and faith in uncertain times.

He is an old man, beleaguered and muted like the last televised days of Richard Nixon, a bleary man with washcloth skin, all jowls and inflamed joints. He is a failed philosopher, a fading gentleman frightened by the sensations of the modern world. The painful taste of breath mints, the velocity of hand dryers in the men’s room. Everything is extreme these days. But he has always been a coward. He was afraid of the sun for years and he still jumps at unfamiliar noises, sudden changes in temperature, and the sight of Antarctica on a map. Looking at all that blank land feels like leaping off a rooftop. When he had a door, he would check its lock at least three times before getting into bed. He is afraid of many things and he has imagined his death via car wreck and home invasion many times. Now he is an antique in an overheated world of plastic and pixels, a silly and superstitious man who calls the crusts of bread ‘bones’ and refuses to eat them. But perhaps his fears have kept him alive for these ninety-one years.

His lover was a dangerous woman who feared absolutely nothing, not even when they came after her with fire and guns. She once told him that she made a deal with the devil and now he believes her.

A Description of Riot and Devotion

Fast food restaurants burn in the night. Discount superstores explode into bloody riots without warning. When the cameras arrive, witnesses provide conflicting accounts while shivering beneath a wool blanket or moaning on a stretcher, saying there was a strange vibration, the sound of a dial tone or maybe a demon. Conspiracies spread. Factions emerge. People invent makeshift gods. An old man who is afraid of the sun watches all of this through his windshield as he crisscrosses the country, still searching for his wife after forty years. She’d told him the future would be filled with dangerous signals moments before she disappeared into a crowd. But that was a lifetime ago. Now he dreams of retreating into the quiet halls of a museum or a far-flung desert town. One night he turns on the radio and hears her voice in the static, calling his name—and telling the world to riot. Reverberating with the echoes of ancient myth and speeding towards a broadcast that will grip the nation, Riot and Devotion is a modern fable about anxiety and faith in uncertain times.

Riot and Devotion is complete at 84,572 words and I’m currently seeking an agent or publisher.

3 Replies
  • This is great! I haven’t read prose this strong and full of imagery in forever. I wish you the best and keep us updated, when you get this published I’d definitely love to read it.

Leave a Reply

Further Reading