I have mentioned this before but I am seriously thinking about writing a Haxan prequel novel. I think this more than anything else will be my next big writing project. This would take place before Marwood goes to Haxan, while he was up in Montana Territory as a U.S. marshal.
We know some things about his life up there, and before. Things that were hinted in previous stories and which I talk about in the novel Haxan which CZP wants to publish. Carlene Minker, Magra’s adversary, may be in this novel. She was in Helena at the time and that whole story with her and her husband was alluded to in “Vengeance is Mine” in the Beauty Has Her Way anthology . Judge Creighton was there, too. When Creighton was transferred to New Mexico Territory he brought Marwood with him. (A not unusual occurence in lawing. When judges found marshals they liked they kept them.) We also know Marwood spent time with the Mandans while in the territory and that’s where he became known as “Long Blood”. So there are revelations I can work with, both for his story and for himself.
In a way I guess it’s a story about a man finding himself. Discovering who he really is, along with his past, and coming to terms with that.
I could write this as another Haxan novel. What I mean is, it could be like the other stories we see. I’m not denigrating them at all, but they have a recognizable pattern. And, hey, it works and it sells. Nothing wrong with that at all.
But I want to do something different. I guess what I’m saying is I want to do something more. Raw, brutal, uncompromising. Show the West for what it really was. No more TV ideas or tropes. Trash can all that, upend it all. Dump out the bathwater and scatter the papers of what we think we know about the Old West. It’s been done before. I just want to do it, too.
I think the key to something like this is I cannot hold back on language, structure or style.
I would be lying if I said I was not inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. I think Haxan, the entire world and mythos of Haxan, lends itself well to many interpretations. In fact I know that is true because we can read the published stories and see how they are open to different genres and even styles. I have always said I love Haxan because it’s my own little corner of the universe where I can play with matches.
Now I want to play with a forest fire.
This would be doable. I think. Heh. A bit of whistling past the graveyard there, no doubt. But I am also under no illusion it would be tough. It might even be impossible to write. At least for me. And if I did get it written, it might be unsalable.
Anyway. I’m thinking about doing it. As the days move past and the year draws to a close, I think I am going to pull the trigger on this.
What do you guys think? Advice?