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Three Threats: Can the Homeplace Survive? A Writer’s Working Title

Updated on July 21, 2014
Homeplace Series profile image

Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

The concept of the next novel was developed in notes over time

A notebook and pencil that every writer needs
A notebook and pencil that every writer needs | Source

A Request to my Fellow Hub Authors:

I have developed a great deal of respect for the many writers and authors I have met here at HubPages this year. With this hub, I hope to tap into that pool of expertise, if you are willing, to get some comments on my next project. Most of you write in other genres than the family saga that I write, so let me get right to the first request:

Does the working title, above, catch your attention? Would it cause you to at least pause to look at the blurb? Whether you read on, or not, I hope you will leave a comment on this one issue. THANKS!

If you are willing to help further, please read on.

Do you have a board filled with notes?

A note board filled with notes of the concept
A note board filled with notes of the concept | Source

The concept for my next novel

It is now time for me to get at the serious work of writing my next novel.

The concept of this novel has been under development for over a year, as I’ve been working on diversifying the writing platforms of “The Homeplace Saga” series of my family saga historical fiction stories, and finishing the last novel in that series, “Christmas at the Homeplace” (which I highly recommend, even if you haven’t read the others). I have also been finishing up work on the separate short story collection, “American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876).” More on each of these, later.

The concept in the form of the Tentative Blurb:

In February 1999, social and economic times were booming for the Bevins family and their Homeplace. The Homeplace, located east of Oak Springs, in the southern Missouri Ozarks, was represented by The Bevins Agricultural Corporation and the McDonald Conservancy (created by the Bevins Trust) with additional farm lands purchased and additional lands donated to the Conservancy. The Conservancy had just received an $800,000 State of Missouri Conservation Grant to implement their major operating plan. Then it happened.

Bad things come in “threes":

  1. Bevins sister, Beverly, moves back to Oak Springs “permanently.” Remember the bad things that happened the last time she came back? And she wasn’t yet rich, last time?
  2. A mature man appears in Oak Springs claiming half of the Bevins-McDonald property at the time Mildred (McDonald) Bevins died in the fall of 1986 and the Bevins Trust was created. He says he is very serious, and his claim will be upheld in court.
  3. An F-3 Tornado strikes in the Oak Creek valley, east of Oak Springs, with devastating results.

Since I am sure most of you have not read the previous novels in the series, does this blurb do anything to attract your attention? Does it turn you off by the reference to the past? How would you change it? Any comments would be appreciated.

The latest novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series of stories

A Special Thanks to Bill Holland (billybuc)

Bill is at the forefront of the writers I have come to know and appreciate here at HubPages. He has supported and encouraged the development of the two series of short story episodes (20 episodes each) that I have had the privilege to publish here (as “Homeplace Series” and as “DrBill-WmL-Smith”). The first is now available in ebook format, and the second will be shortly, as well.

Before I go any further here, I needed to pause to say “THANK YOU!”, again.

How do you organize your notes?

Notebook and colored papers and folders
Notebook and colored papers and folders | Source

Let’s look at some background on the First of the Three Threats of this novel

Beverly, the second oldest of the four Bevins siblings, was very disruptive when she came “Back to the Homeplace” (in the first novel in the series) in response to their mothers’ distinctive will. Everyone in the family was relieved when she finally left again. They do not look forward to her return, anytime. This was especially true as members of the next generation of the family have settled in to their new leadership positions in the family and the community.

It is now twelve years later, and she has become very wealthy as the result of the death of her second husband. Has she changed? Changed in what ways? Will she still be disruptive? In what ways? What can they expect from her this time?

We pick up the story in late January of 1999 on Martin Luther King holiday weekend of 1999 when she shows up, saying she is going to stay. Of course, she committed to that, in 1987, as well. Why did she actually come back?

First side story, which Beverly encourages, is “Homeplace Estates,” a real estate residential community just below the Mill on the south side of the pond and along the creek in the NW corner of the original section of land of the McDonald and Truesdale families. In effect, it is also adjoining the Stables and Clinic on Bart and Diane’s home property. It adjoins the McDonald Conservancy land along both sides of Oak Creek.

Several second generation families are interested in building their family homes there. Matt and Susan, Christopher and Nicole, Jennifer and Brian, possibly Lori, possibly Beverly, with others of their acquaintance as well. A club house will celebrate the Homeplace heritage, as told in the Founding manuscript, recently discovered by members of the local Historical and Genealogical Society.

The second side story relates to the Historical and Genealogical Society coming up with the Founding manuscript, earlier, and how this feeds into current story lines. Later on, near the end, they also find the Journal of William McDonald (Mildred’s grandfather), that leads to the next novel in the series.

The novella in "The Homeplace Saga" series of stories

What is she thinking?

Her diary holds her attention
Her diary holds her attention | Source

Background on the Second of the Three Threats of the novel

A man shows up in Oak Springs, from the east coast, claiming that half of all the land and assets of the Bevins Trust, including the McDonald Conservancy created by the Trust, is rightfully his. He claims to be the son of a sister of Mildred’s who “was driven away” from the family in 1929. He had recently discovered who his mother really was, and then saw the story of the $800,000 grant to this very successful family in southern Missouri in the news. He has returned to claim his rightful inheritance. And he now has the “proof” needed, he states, to make his claim stand up in court.

Her four children, Karen, Beverly, Bart and Peter, had no idea that their mother, Mildred, even had a sister. No one ever talked about it. If she existed, why did she leave? Were there people in the community that remembered? Surely there were, but why had they never “talked about it?” Would anyone speak out now, with the Homeplace family, and all they did, and had done, for the community, in jeopardy? Were there written records available that would clarify the situation that could be used in a court case, if it got that far? How could this have happened?

A tornado is the third threat

A tornado
A tornado | Source

Background on the Third of the Three Threats of the novel

An F-3 (150-175 mile per hour wind peak) tornado (EF scale didn’t come in until 2007) strikes east of Oak Springs, and wipes out the farm home and building of Virginia Hollingsworth and the nearby Homeplace Heritage Inn - some strong wind damage elsewhere, include the stable buildings, but no other serious damage. Was anyone killed? Were Homeplace documents destroyed that will make defending the family against the east coast “cousin” more difficult or even impossible?

I live in Branson, MO, where such a tornado struck, a couple of years back. We are still living with the ramifications of that event... even though it was much “less” in terms of total devastation than the tragedy that also hit Joplin, a hundred or so miles to the west. Our fictional town of Oak Springs lies a hundred or so miles to the east of Branson. I’ve wanted to bring this traumatic event into my story line. This seems a great opportunity.

The original novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series

Final words

Thank you in advance for any comments you are willing to offer... either negative or positive comments are appreciated in this case. My writing is all based on family history research and life experiences. It isn’t always terribly exciting, although I hope this novel has more of those elements in it. I have enjoyed creating the extended families and community of my stories. I hope you will join in and enjoy them, as well.

At this point, I still encourage readers to begin with “Back to the Homeplace” - available in both print and kindle editions. It is a great story that has not reached nearly enough people yet.

If you’d prefer, I also accept comments directly at: williamlevernesmith at


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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      My pleasure. Thank you for visiting, and leaving a comment. It is what keeps me going! ;-)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      4 years ago from California

      So interesting to see your writing process here. I love it when writers talk about writing!

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I appreciate your thoughts, Martie. They'll all be here, when you are ready. ;-)

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      4 years ago from South Africa

      I would love to read your books as soon as I have more time on my hands. I will start with the short stories. I love historical novels. Sadly, Time is my master, and too many obligations. I'll be back with more constructive comments.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Nadine. I hope I am learning. My many new friend here on Hubpages have, and are, really helping with my mind-set for this next novel. I've always professed to be a life-long learner. I hope it is still working, even more so!! ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Dolores, thank you so much for your visit and comment. I have come to agree that a question won't work well for the title. Right now, I'm at a title that is consistent with the earlier novels: "3 Treats to the Homeplace." The Will by Mildred is the heart of the premise of the first novel, "Back to the Homeplace." I highly recommend it. I hope to return to that quality of writing with this one. The changes in Beverly are the overarching theme from the first novel - to and thru the "3 Threats" novel. Great comments!

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Suzzette, I really appreciate your comments, and support. I'm working hard to take this novel slowly, think about it, consider the options. I made the mistake of hurrying, in the past, and regretted it. Thanks, again, for your visit!! ;-)

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      4 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      I know that you asked for suggestion for you new novel, but since I have not followed your writings, the title you suggested: Can the Homeplace Survive? I feel would only work for the readers who have read the previous novels, but I'm not so sure about new readers. After I Googled the word Homeplace I discovered that you did a great deal of marketing for your novels. well done. I linked to you on Goodreads. Good luck!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      4 years ago from East Coast, United States

      This is so interesting! You must be having a lot of fun, working really hard, and sort of crazy. I think of fiction writers and their obsession with people and things that don't exist outside of their own heads - it's marvelous. If I may put in my 2 cents, I don't think that a question makes for a good title. Also, was there a will? Was Mildred mentioned? Could a more mature and experienced Beverly be a help in the troubles, one of those people who sort of change as the story goes along. The mark of great fiction, some say, is that a character is changed.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Well, the title pulled me in also. I find your premise very interesting and the three threats or plots I think will make great fiction. There is the right amount of conflict here to make the story interesting and the characters sound interesting to me. I would continue on as you have given a great synopsis of your novel and I for one would certainly read it.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Yes, I'm enjoying my current writing projects. Bill Holland, billybuc, has helped give me confidence to write what I believe in. It seems to be working! ;-)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A great hub! So much more to think about life and of the many battles through life. Sound like you have a great journey to writing.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for your visit and your comment, vkwok. Stop by anytime! ;-)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for sharing this amazing hub! I wish you all the luck in the world.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, so much! I appreciate every reader... and, I especially appreciate comments on the stories... and the novels, and the novella, and the eBook. ;-)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Since I've only recently started to follow you, I'm looking forward to reading more of your writing to learn about the background to your stories. The stories do sound interesting! Good luck with the new novel.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I appreciate the visit and the comment, always exploring! All working together seems to be a great approach! ;-)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I enjoy reading articles about families, their struggles and triumphs. I personally would like the title of, ' Can a homeplace survive ' better than adding the working title. Thank you for the follow. I look forward to reading more of your work.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Lady! Now I don't feel alone. The first sentence was good enough for me! Thanks for stopping by, and helping out! ;-)

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      4 years ago from West By God

      Well the title pulled me in. I am not good with titles. I never was and I don't know if I ever will be. I am also passing this on.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Jamie. Your support and encouragement is appreciated!! ;-)

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 

      4 years ago from Reno NV

      You are on the right track. Keep it up and hopefully I will sitting out on my porch enjoying your new novel. Jamie

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Gypsy, thank you, so much for your thoughts. That was the feeling I hoped to get. Now, to follow through. Your support is so helpful!! ;-)

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Froggy213... I had the 3, earlier, and changed it. You are correct, in your reason, of course. I REALLY appreciate your input. Thanks for stopping by, and, leaving a comment! ;-)

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      The title certainly caught my attention as I considered what the threats could be. Then your saga caught me and kept me till the end. In fact it sounds like one of those great old Hollywood thrillers that combine love, mystery and intrigue all in one and keep you riveted to your seat. Glad we connected here. Good luck with your new book and looking forward to reading more of your hubs. Passing this on especially to my followers to let them know you're here.

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 

      4 years ago from Returned to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      Personally, I like it for the most part. I could be apt to change to 3 Threats That Could Destroy The Homeplace, but overall it is catchy. I always use the basic number if the count is under ten; if over, I spell it out.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for your comments. Feedback is good, and I appreciate it. Looking forward to reading more to learn more. Thanks, again, teaches12345! ;-)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      The title makes a great news article catch but not sure it will excite a reader as a book title. Your thoughts for the book are quite interesting. I'm not sure what angle you are trying to achieve but I do like your thoughts for the new book. Thanks for the follow and I am looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill. Very helpful! Demonstrates, again, that I really don't understand the process very well. That is, catchy titles. I'll work on it. The title really should come near the end, not the beginning... but, I wanted to get reactions. Hope I get a few more. Thanks, again, as always!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well my friend, thank you for mentioning me. I am humbled and honored by that. As you know, I have followed your stories, so I at least have that background to base my opinion upon. Having said that, I'm not sure I like the working title above. It seems too nebulous for lack of a better term, and it doesn't grab me fact, I was confused by it. After reading the article I understand, but I don't simply from the working title....just my two cents worth. :) Best wishes on your new undertaking.


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