If Winter Comes: Project Progress Notes

If Winter Comes tells the story of LUKE, a young, gay, black man recently diagnosed with HIV in the 1990s who drives to Vermont to see for one last time his college lover, CHAD, now a committed, fundamentalist Christian with a wife and child.

In reverse chronological order, this is a record of my work on If Winter Comes. More Project Notes.

2019.09.16 (Mon)

  • Updated the Backstory to include details about LUKE and CHAD’s clandestine relationship at Princeton.

2019.09.15 (Sun)

  • Gave myself a well-needed pep-talk about how it is completely okay that I tackle this story.
  • Updated the Backstory to include the deaths of MADDY’s parents and the birth of baby JOSHUA (whose name has to change).

2019.09.14 (Sat)

2019.09.13 (Fri)

  • Reworked the Backstory timeline; made Maddy two years younger so she doesn’t meet Chad until he’s out of law school.
  • Seriously questioned whether I really want Chad to be a practicing lawyer–or have him drop out of law school

2019.09.08 (Sun)

2019.09.07 (Sat)

  • Reconnected with Winter after a little more than a week off.
  • Expanded Backstory timeline, firming up dates for LUKE and CHAD and constructing a timeline and backstory for MADDY.
  • Expanded and fleshed out Locations page.
  • Expanded and fleshed out Characters page, especially with an emphasis on MADDY’s backstory.

2019.08.29 (Thu)

2019.08.26 (Mon)

  • Pondered the role of grief and grieving as part of the thematic landscape of If Winter Comes.

2019.08.25 (Sun)

  • Spent more time exploring musical influences on If Winter Comes.
  • Outlined scenes I have conceived so far in Scrivener.
  • Wrote 1104 words (continuing the scene where Luke arrives at the farmhouse) for a total of 2117 words.

2019.08.24 (Sat)

  • Created If Winter Comes: Literary & Musical Inspirations page.
  • Spent an inordinate amount of time exploring the intersection of themes and events in If Winter Comes with the lyrics of Goethe’s “An den Mond.”
  • Sketched out a the scene where Chad meets Maddy and a scene where Chad confesses what Luke’s presence is doing to him.

2019.08.22 (Thu)

  • Worked on character sketches for LUKE and CHAD.
  • Tweaked the timeline for the Backstory.

2019.08.21 (Wed)

2019.08.19 (Mon)

  • Trashed If Winter Comes: Narrative Chronology page and created separate pages for Backstory, Story Events and Afterstory.
  • Spent hours doing research on real world events and character backstory.
  • Fleshed out CHAD’s character description and backstory.
  • Sketched out a few early scenes in the narrative.
  • Toyed with idea of Jonathan Groff as a fantasy casting for CHAD.
  • Wrote 719 words (Luke arrives at the farmhouse) for a total of 1013 words.

2019.08.18 (Sun)

2019.08.17 (Sat)

2019.08.16 (Fri)

2019.08.15 (Thu)

  • Determined that Chad is a poet and Luke is a novelist.
  • Changed character name from CHAD to CHRISTOPHER.
  • Split off If Winter Comes: The Characters as a separate page.
  • Created character introduction page for CHAD.

2019.08.14 (Wed)

  • Added character blurbs for LUKE, CHAD, MADELINE, JAKE, and NEIGHBORs 1&2.
  • Added CHRONOLOGY with Backstory and Scene Sketches.


  • Wrote the first 294 words of prose, a scene where Madeline asks Chad about the nature of his friendship with Luke.

2019.08.08 (Thu)

  • Conceived of If Winter Comes as a novel loosely based on the play of the same name I wrote in college.
  • Described novel idea on http://www.joncarllewis.com.

1986 (Fall)-1987 (Spring)

  • Wrote stage play If Winter Comes at Princeton University for a playwrighting class with Corinne Jacker while I was supposed to be working on my thesis (I’m not entirely sure how my thesis got done).

Thank you for your time and attention. Unless otherwise noted the contents of this website are © 2018-2019 Jon Carl Lewis. You can get in touch with me at joncarllewis@gmail.com. May God richly bless you on your journey.