I know a guy who is a novice screenwriter much like I’m a novice novelist. He frequently writes with near sexual rapture on Facebook about what he feels is the astonishing beauty of the words he’s putting to paper.
I read his screenplay — it was a big meh from me.
I have talked to him at length about how he might improve it and he is pretty passionate about what he’s written and keeping it as-is. Who am I to tell him he’s wrong? I hate it when people discourage me and I’m sure as hell not going to discourage him.
So, while I love to talk about the novel I’m writing, that doesn’t mean it’s any good. In fact, it could suck. But I do enjoy the process of writing and hope I will write something that someone, somewhere might enjoy.
Things are growing dark in the United States. So dark, that my options sometimes seem to be either staying drunk all the time or staring out into space thinking about how, exactly, I will escape the coming Trumplandia dystopia.
But, luckily for me, I have the novel I’m working on. It gives me hope. That’s all the hope I have right now, in fact. Hope that when I finishing writing the novel we will have reached some sort of endgame with Trumplandia and people will want a novel that helps them understand what the fuck just happened.
After months and months of development, pretty much all I have to do is write. I’ve finally given myself the right to write crap without judgement. I also am pushing any problems that I can’t figure out right now to the second draft. So some things I just don’t know about — like exactly how to structure subplots — I’m going to work on in between the first and second drafts.
Given that this novel is me raging against the Trump Era in a very accessible, breezy read I definitely have a lot of motivation to buckle down and keep going to the end. Writing a novel seriously is a massive undertaking, especially if you don’t, really, know what you’re doing. At this point, I’m simply using my gut and whatever native storytelling ability I might have.
At best, this novel will be “finished” at some point in, say, mid-2020. Should I sell it, I suspect there will be six or months of post-production. If I don’t ultimately sell it, I’ll just self-publish and turn my attention to a screenplay. I have a shit ton of movie concepts that I can work on now that I have a better understanding of how to pace out a plot. I believe you have to know structure before you can fuck with it. Plot structure is so built into the average person’s enjoyment of a movie or a novel, that you diverge from it at your own peril.
Anyway, I love writing and the process of writing and I generally write a lot without thinking about it. It’s like shedding skin for me. the difference now is that for once I have some sort of strategic goal to it all.
Having said all that, there’s a chance I might dabble in song lyrics again. I like the idea of art for art’s sake and all things being equal writing song lyrics when I don’t know anything about music — I can’t even play an instrument — is kind of a fool’s errand. The only reason why I might do a little of it is there are simply so many song concepts and titles being spun off the Trump clusterfuck it’s hard to keep up.
I hope to focus on writing the novel this weekend, however. It’s a lot of fun and I feel — at least at the moment — rather inspired.
I would say one of the biggest surprises to learn on a practical level about seriously writing a novel is how outside events shape the narrative. This especially the case since I want this novel to be my “Apocalypse Now” of the Trump Era. Instead of explicating the entirety of the Vietnam War in a movie, I’m doing so about life under Trump in a novel.
Two other movies that are important to me are Network and Being There. Network because it is both timeless and very timely. You could release Network today and would still be a success. I like how it explains the modern world in an entertaining fashion. I am not in anyway proposing I’m that good a writer, but it is at the forefront of my mind as I write.
Being There is really important to me because it’s a snapshot of post-Watergate America in the late 70s. If I wanted to explain to a teen what 1979 was like, I would show them Being There. So, even though my novel is completely different than Being There, there is a spiritual connection.
Anyway, the point is, I started this novel thinking it would be a snapshot — in a general way — of life leading up to the release of The Mueller Report. Well, given how long it takes — at least me — to write a novel as well as the unknowns of post-production, it’s definitely looking like this is going to be both more ambitious and more general. Instead of just the first two years of the Trump Era, the novel is meant to encompass the entirety of it in a general sense.
If I am successful with my vision for this novel, you’ll be able to read it over a three day weekend in 20201 and it not even really register that it was generated by my abject rage against MAGA (and extremism in general.) It should be just an interesting novel that’s very accessible and zips by. Only if I were to point it out to you will you notice the allegorical nature of the work.
But that’s down the road. For the time being, I’m hard at work on the first draft. It just takes physical time to write between 165,000 and 185,000 words. For the time being I have the proper momentum to keep going. It definitely doesn’t hurt that the very thing I’m so angry about that I want to write a novel about it — the Trump Era — definitely doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.