Development of the novel I’ve been working on for about the last year is going well. But I have to accept there are some existential issues that aren’t going anywhere. I’ve been using Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Played With Fire as my “textbook,” and, as such, I’ve picked up some of its macro structure, at least the first part of it.
As you may know, that novel actually has a “first part” that is more of a first adventure for the heroine than anything to do with the greater plot. That’s one of the reasons why that book’s word count is about 185,000 instead of the 165,000 of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I’m growing so frustrated with how long development has taken — and it’s actually going really well — so I’ve decided that the metric I’m going to use is results. I’m going to keep going with development, finish it and the write a first, serious draft as quickly as possible.
Though any number of disasters could strike that would make finishing the novel at least more difficult. I know the general plot of the novel so well that it’s really just a matter of doing the hard work at this point. I’m fully prepare to do that, but I also don’t want to wake up and it be a year from now and I’m still struggling with the finer points of this or that plot point. I want to actually finish the damn thing and try to sell it.
I really enjoy this novel for a number of reasons. There’s a surprise on every page and it affords me the opportunity rant — in a very diffused manner — about a wide range of things that really piss me off about the modern Trumplandia Era. If I was a better writer, you wouldn’t be able to figure out my politics. But, alas, while I’m not going to preach at you, I think you’ll be able to figure out I fucking hate MAGA with a white hot creative rage.
I kind of — for the time being — have something of an idyllic situation for developing and writing a novel. I would prefer a pandemic not make that a lot more difficult. But time will tell, I guess.
Though the novel I’m currently developing is supposed to be dark and serious, when it comes to actually developing it, generally, if something makes me laugh, I throw it into the mix.
And right now, I find the idea of a my female romantic lead being inspired by a specific famous person who is easy to do research on HILARIOUS. It’s just a hoot. And it gets funnier to more research I do because given the conditions of the scenario I have setup on an existential level in the novel, it it actually IS within the realm of the possible that my Hero could snag a woman otherwise so incredibly out of his league.
It’s very, very funny.
I mean, usually, constructing a character is hard work. You have to think up all these things about them to make them seem “real.” But since this character is inspired by a famous person who is quite open with their life, then it’s a lot easier to crib off of what is publicly known. And, as I’ve said before, this character is something of a treat to me for all the other hard work I have ahead of me.
And I like the idea of seeing if I can pull this off. I like the idea of SHOWING how life as an expat in Seoul leads to some surreal personal connections that otherwise would never, ever happen. The whole thing definitely lightens the mood whenever I look into how I can base the character in reality as much as possible and to see if I can make it believable that this otherwise bonkers thing (at least to outsiders) might actually happen.
Anyway. I’m sure I’ll see that person from Washington DC (is the FBI monitoring me?) or that other person from Sweden (ex boyfriend?) or that other person from Great Britain (member of her “team?”) snooping around my website in the paranoid fear that I’m some sort of crazy person when, in fact, I’m just a harmless writer looking for a bit of entertainment for myself.
As of this moment, things are going fairly well with the novel I’m developing. That could change rather abruptly for any number of reasons, but I’m trying to enjoy this moment while it exists.
I have a lot of really interesting characters that I smash up against each other in interesting ways. I’ve made a number of clever editorial decisions if I do say so myself. I’ve created a number of characters who are an amalgam of a number of people I’ve crossed paths with over the years. I’m looking forward to writing the story for no reason than to simply see these characters come alive on the page.
I have one character who is inspired by one specific famous individual and it will be a lot of fun to see how realistic I can make the character in the context of how surreal the situation I’ve come up with would be in real life. But I’d like to think readers will grade me on a curve. That character is something of a treat I’m giving myself for all the hard work I have to go through over the next months.
I hope to start writing the official first draft no later than, say, April. I’m going to try to keep this first draft close to my chest as possible. The second draft I’m going to show to some Beta Readers. That probably will be August 2020 at the earliest before that happens, though.
Wish me luck. This is a really tough job that I love.
I’ve realized that I need to learn more about structure. What I have been doing — using Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl Who Played With Fire” as my textbook on structure simply doesn’t work with my novel for a number reasons on a number of different levels. I have an actual text book on scene and structure and I’m going to at least attempt to sit down and read that now. This has happened for a number of reasons. I can’t keep trying to do a one-to-one copy of The Girl Who Played With Fire’s structure. It just doesn’t work. I have to understand structure independent of that book.
I had an interesting conversation with an elderly woman who definitely had a very low opinion of my efforts to write a novel. But, ultimately, the chief take away was — I need to go faster and I need to realize I probably have a limited amount of time to get this done. I’ve been moving forward with development, yes, but this ideal situation isn’t going to last forever. I am going to at least try to re-double my efforts and be more focused on the task at hand. Hopefully.
Any normal human being would shut up about what he’s working on, but I’m not normal. I’m 100% extroverted and usually — unless there’s a specific reason to do otherwise — I pretty much just talk about whatever’s on my mind in as conspicuous a manner as possible.
Regardless, I’ve entered yet another new — if subtle — phase in development. I have a better understanding of how badly I miscalculated at the beginning of this process on more than one level. I thought this was going to be simple of a matter of casually studying The Girl Who Played With Fire and could happen all within maybe two years.
What happened was the whole thing was very poorly thought out at the beginning and as my storytelling ability has gotten better, my personal demands on myself have also gotten higher. And so there you go.
Now that we’re in the Fourth Reich after the acquittal of Trump, what happens to pop culture? I thought at first maybe a sizable chunk of the audience might want some sort of emotional catharsis. But I now think it may be a bit more complex than that.
What’s more likely to happen is we’ll enter a sort of second 70s in that a lot of people are just going to want to dance while other people want to see serious, gritty movies and TV show that address what just happened. I think. I don’t know.
Given what the novel I’m writing is about, I definitely have a vested interest in people wanting Trumplandia catharsis. But we’ll see. I’m writing a novel instead of screenplay because I live in the middle of nowhere, it affords me more nuanced creative universe building ability and just don’t want to write a screenplay right now.
Barring, like, a global pandemic, I am going to officially jump back into the development of my novel immediately with an eye to wrapping it up in a few months. Things are going really well and as such I’m going to give myself until April.
Then, I’m going to throw myself into writing a really, really good first draft.