assignment: procrastinated Tom Jones

In the ongoing free-for-all in the Alice post, Kevin posted a quote from philosopher/physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenburg: “To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation.”

In the Wikipedia article, I found the following:

Lichtenberg was prone to procrastination. He failed to launch the first ever hydrogen balloon, and although he always dreamed of writing a novel à la Fielding’s Tom Jones, he never finished more than a few pages. He died at the age of 56, after a short illness.

And so our challenge is to write our novel à la Tom Jones (text here), but only “no more than a few pages.”

Today is Tuesday, albeit late, December 11. Your “few pages” is due by midnight, Saturday, December 15. Email it to me in some text format, and I’ll post each one as I get them.

There are some rules, of course.

Rule #1: You must use the phrase “dear Reader” at least once.

Rules #2: Let us agree that “no more than a few pages” actually means fewer than 1,500 words. If you must write more, write the d—n novel.

Other rules, in comments, as they occur to you.

Rule #3: Cut-off for rules is midnight, Thursday, December 13.

Rule #4: You cannot go all Five Obstructions on our ass, Marc.

Rule #5: You may ignore new rules, but save all radical versions of your work so as to discuss them.

8 thoughts on “assignment: procrastinated Tom Jones

  1. Do realize that there are no rules about where in your novel this abortive set of pages must occur. Mine are the beginning of Chapter Three, for example.

  2. I couldn’t help but notice the following bit of text in the link Dale gave to us:

    By 1749, the year Tom Jones appeared, the novel was only beginning to be recognized as a potentially literary form. Samuel Richardson’s novel Clarissa had appeared only the year before, and for the most part in intellectual circles prose fiction was not considered a worthy pursuit.

    I might rewrite it in this manner:

    By 2010, the year Blake’s Moonlight appeared, the video game was only beginning to be recognized as a potentially literary form… for the most part, in intellectual circles, video games were not considered a worthy pursuit.

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