Discovering Beloit by Tom Warren

Discovering Belwah

I am plugging along on my book called Discovering Belwah: Stories too good to be true?  The end is starting to come into sight and hopefully it will be available as an eBook as well as in print format during  2013.  In the meantime, here are some preview questions and comments:

Who might read and enjoy this book that is set in Beloit, Wisconsin in 2017?

… Anyone interested in the decrease in investigative journalism that accompanies a decline in local coverage of news.

… Beloiters:  people who have lived in this stateline town or attended Beloit College and want to learn more about it while smiling and thinking.

… Cub fans.

… Anyone who realizes that things aren’t necessarily as they seem. They will experience some familiar things becoming strange.  At the college, in the sporting scene, and at Oakwood Cemetery.  In churches.  In neighborhoods.  In people.  In turtles.

… Anyone who realizes that everyone (!) has a story to be told, and that the stories are too often kept secret.

In a nutshell, what’s the book about?

Overview Draft #1:  Five bright Beloit high school students get more than they expect when the enroll in a journalism class taught by an old guy called Gov. He is frustrated by the loss of investigative reporting as newspapers diminish and disappear. The class responds with stories waiting to be uncovered.  In Beloit.  Some of them are unbelievable.

#2:  When subscriber-based newspapers diminish and disappear, investigative journalism goes too. That is the sad tale that veteran newsman John Marshall Bridlington tells his class of high school students in Beloit, Wisconsin.  But he has a plan: help them discover stories that must be told.  Help them discover some of the unbelievable secrets of this dynamic little town.

#3 One of them is the irrepressible Californian daughter of a visiting professor at Beloit College.  Another is a farm kid from east of town.  A third knows more than anybody about the move of the Chicago Cubs to Belwah.  A fourth is the offspring of the teacher and privy to some of his secrets.  And then there is Frank.   These five students enroll in the journalism class of John Marshall Bridlington, a retired reporter who is concerned about the diminishing practice of investigative journalism.  Together they dig beneath the surface to uncover stories about Beloit.  Some of what they find is unbelievable.

#4  It’s 2017.  The decline of print newspapers has continued a decades-long trend.  Financial circumstances are used as an excuse to diminish investigative reporting in Beloit, Wisconsin, and everywhere.  Stories are not being told.  Enter John Marshall Bridlington, a retired Chicago reporter who teaches at Turtle Creek Charter School located on the Beloit College campus.  He sends his little class of “newswriters” out into the community to snoop around.  “Things may not be what they seem,” he says.  “Look for the strange in the familiar.”  They discover that stories are everywhere waiting to be told.  Some of them, unbelievable.

#5 Belwah.  What a place: mysterious, challenging, and on the move.  Full of tales that could keep Beloit College alums and townies up late reading about them.  The problem: the stories seldom get told.John Bridlington’s journalism class sets out to do something about it.  His students become investigative reporters.  What they discover about Beloit, Wisconsin, is informative, eye-opening, and in some cases downright unbelievable.

#6 Major league baseball in Beloit?  Ex-cons on the College football chain gang?  Hi-jinxes in Oakwood Cemetery?  Big news on the turtle front?  Good grief, what’s happening to this place we call Belwah?  Could it all be true, sorta?  And what about the Buffaloes and women who read a lot?