by Shelton Bumgarner
The thing about writing a novel as opposed to a screenplay is you’re alone. With a screenplay, you have a large vibrant and supportive community of like-minded people looking to score with a story they’ve come up with, but with novels it’s just you. I love telling stories and I have what seems like an endless supply of pretty good movie concepts rolling around in my head. One thing I’ve learned the hard way is you have to have “paper” for anyone to take you seriously. You can’t just pontificate about some great idea to any and everyone who will listen. You have to actually put in the hard work of producing something someone can read.
One of the things I know I’m good at is taking pictures. That’s self-evident. I love photography because I can point to a shot I took and you instantly know if it’s any good or not. You don’t have to spend a few hours reading something I spent months, if not years, working on. You just glance at it and know if it’s good or not.
It’s just unfortunate that pretty much I’m 20 years behind the curve on realizing I want to be a photographer. Writing a novel, meanwhile, if you do a cost benefit analysis is something a middle-aged man can actually believe he might be able to successfully produce.
I still want to become a professional photographer, but I am going to start working on the novel again in earnest. Nothing, but nothing, is going on right now in my life. Things are at a complete standstill. So writing a novel gives me a distraction from what a disaster my personal life is right now.
The issue with the novel concept is as I currently conceive of it is it allows me to tell the story of ROKon Magazine in a layered manner that you won’t know that I’m doing it unless you know the story of the magazine as well as I do. The novel originally was going to be a homage to The Big Chill, but after developing it some, I realized it was pretty good, but it was a screenplay, not a novel.
So I went back to square one.
After I get some idle rambling out of my system, I’m going to finally sit down and work on character studies and try to flesh out the plot some. Right now I have a pretty good logline and that’s it. Now I have to figure out what, exactly, I want to say. That will probably suck up an entire day, if not more.