Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Next attempt at novel writing

The last few years I have spent in a hermit like existence. The plus side is that I was able to be greatly introspective and this also allowed me to grow. I was able to shed a lot of baggage (metaphysical baggage) and I feel that this was a necessary step. I have been taking steps (some baby sized, others bigger) since. Lately, the last year and a half, I stepped out of my comfort zone and started teaching a class in creative writing.
Since I am the teacher, the class reflects me and my attitudes and biases and bents. There is a psychological nature to discussions because I believe that writing is all about story telling and story telling involves getting the insides out. And the process of getting the story out from inside yourself involves (for want of a better term) psychological processes. Still I have learned much about myself through the interactions with my wonderful and imaginative students. The greatest lesson being fun; the writing works much better when you are having fun.

The writing class has also been a superior way for me to meet my blocks in writing. I have found that I can write and I can write entertainingly. Now, comes the hard part, the part where I do something with my writings. Can I make my dreams happen ? I hope and I pray so. This is the part where the angels jump in, take my writings, and secretly send them to publishers and agents. Then they, the publishers and agents, come beating on my door with offers of money, sex and fame.

But the real goal of this essay is to start on my done-by-Xmas novel which is my start at making myself get out there and produce something that can be used as a wedge to get me into the world of book publishing. So here goes. I do not pretend this is my best writing but if it gets published, it will be.
I will start with the first thing any novel needs – the title. The last paragraph's last line gives me an idea. Sex, money, fame are realistically one thing: desires of the ego, things we think we need in this life. Illusions, perhaps, but an idea that I think that can make a good title.

Desires of the Ego

I think this is a good title but it needs some zing, some grabby tabloid upgrade. So I decide to make a new title because after all, this is the first thing the reader sees and this is the first attempt at hawking them. Come read my novel I want to say because there will be these things will be there and you will be entertained. So my next attempt at a title goes like this:

SEX, MONEY, FAME (Desires of the Ego)

I think this is a great title because, well, it has it all in terms of hooks. What more can there be besides money, sex, and fame? Uh oh, doubt has come into my mind and now I thinking (always a dangerous thing) I have to make a decision here. Do I want to go with my new title or do I want get rid of the scholarly sounding part in the parenthesis and go with a totally tabloid title? I decide to go with the tabloids (hey, Enquirer still makes money, you know). Now my title looks like this:

I am happy with this title, it has a catchy, grabby feel and it does not turn off Suzie Soccer Mom with scholarly subtitles.
Now I have to start with the actual story. I think I will start by making my main character female. I will call her Susan Smith for now until I think of something better. My story will be about the coming of age of Susan (Susie) Smith and how she learns that there is more to life than just the desires of the ego. But, of course, to make it entertaining she has to go through these processes, these phases of being dazzled by fame, sex, and money. I begin to think of a book I have just read "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert (which, by the way, is a fantastic book, well written and articulate, concerning a woman's journey to her soul. I think a sub-title could be My Year of Being Good to Myself). The reason I have thought of that book is because my book has a three word title too. Other than that there is not too much similarity in these two books. Granted, my main character is a woman and she will experience life in order to grow in spirit but she will do it by becoming absorbed into the world's of money, sex, and fame and she will have to rescue herself from these worlds somehow. But at least I have a vague plot and that is a start. The cynical part of me asks 'What do you know about money, sex and fame ?' and my honest answer is: next to nothing but that will be a challenge I am willing to take in order to get my novel done. I am of course talking about the research part of making the book, my attempt to find out about sex, money, and fame.

Sex. This seems to be the right place to start doing research. I will have to place Susie in a situation where sex is all around and where she realizes it is not what it is cracked up to be. I am thinking of a ski chalet because I have been in that situation but sadly, not in the wild sex party part. But it is a situation that I am somewhat familiar with. So here goes the start of the Sex section of my novel. (Note the actual story will be in italics).

I am nearly naked, lying face down in the snow and the thought comes to me: 'Am I having fun yet? ' The reason I am lying face down getting acquainted with the white stuff from the sky, the reason I am having trouble bouncing right back up and brushing the snow off my naked if not for panties body is two fold. One, I am drunk, having left sense and inhibitions (if I had any) far behind. Several (my word for having lost count) shots of watermelon and other sweet intoxicating concoctions have done that job for me. I am officially buzzed. This is the state I wanted to be in, the place where I thought I could finally let go of Jack, the heartbreaker, my former beau and current foe.
The second, and more profound reason, why I am not jumping right back up and rejoining the party is joy. I am feeling it here, in this fresh falling snow, and it touches all of my body, even my soul.
At this point, I have to interrupt and say that no, I have never been naked (or even nearly naked) lying face down in the snow. I have been in a drunken ski chalet party but alas I was not drunk and I did not want to be part of the party. One reason was I was already taken (by my wife who was with me) and another reason was that I was worn out by a full day of skiing. I did see on my way back to my chalet several scantily clad young girls running through the snow being chased playfully by scantily clad young men. They seemed to be quite intoxicated, having spent most of the day getting that way. Which might explain why they were not worn out. They were for the most part ten years or more younger than me and my little clique of old farts. We had come to ski, enjoy the snow, and sleep. The younger people had come for something else. So I am incorporating several of these young girls into my heroine, Susie. I am not wishing I was a girl or anything like that. I just think the story might be more interesting if the main character was female. I do not recommend this crossing gender lines for the beginning writer as it might lead to gender confusion and other interesting possibilities your counselor might like to explore, slowly and costly. But this explanation gets boring so I will go back to the story of Suzie in the snow.
Maybe, it was fate, sticking its leg out that made me fall face forward, and maybe some higher being helped out too. I mean I fell hard but I landed softly on freshly fallen snow. There was nothing for me to trip on except of course my own two feet. I was too drunk to feel scared about falling and too drunk to even think about it either. So I fell swiftly and in doing so I removed myself from the hedonists around me. It was as if I had been swallowed up by some snow monster, only my outline was visible to others and they were far too deep in debauchery to care.
So for several moments, I lay there alone in my white meditation room made of snow, reveling in the joy I felt. I was too drunk to think and in retrospect, I think that was a big reason I was able to feel this joy – I could not think of a reason not to. And that was why I came on this hedonistic adventure in the first place, to feel again, to stop thinking
about my failed relationships. Joy was not my goal but feeling good was.
d of part one


Soulsearcher said...

Okay, I's confused. Is this a new start to a new novel? I don't think it connects to the previous, untitled one...I'll have to re-read that one to really remember. Also, Susan Smith, you may or may not recall, is the name of the young mom who drowned her kids by pushing her car into the lake with them still strapped in their car seats. Her reason: she was afraid of losing her boyfriend! Too weird a situation here--you will HAVE to come up with a different name!

The writing is good. Is this your female side being "exposed"--no pun intended, but it is pretty funny!

Keep writing. And yes, the novel is on my list of things to do, IF I can come up with an interesting idea.

butterfly woman said...

Thanks for sharing your own writing growth via the class and outside that environment. I have seen your passion come out more and more each day. Writing 1,000 words a day at the least what an accomplishment for you. I think you are being so much more authentic in your writings, your voice is evident now, and I think starting a spiritual site here taps into that very important part of you. Hope you read this part about yourself and your development in class next time. They'd appreciate it, I do. And as this already long, I shall comment on your "novel" in another post.
Bev (Your creative companion in this journey).