Sunday, March 27, 2011

So I'm Writing A Book

So like the title says, a book, I am writing one. A novel. Fiction. There, I said it. It's on the blog, so it's official. I started it about ten months ago and have carried on with it with increasing levels of seriousness ever since then. It started out as the thing I dabbled with here and there and gradually -- wait, back that shit up. It actually started out as a play, a thing to put on a stage with lines for actors to speak, mangle, forget, or ask me to cut, and stage directions for them to interpret, ignore, rewrite, or ask me to cut. But it seemed like every time I sat down and tried to make something happen on paper, it was like I was trying to walk through a brick wall. I'd try taking a run at it, only to be knocked back on my ass with maybe a few pages of crap to show for it.

"I don't remember this being so hard," I kept mumbling to myself.

"You should write it as a book," my wife kept telling me.

"Yeah! A book! Make it a book!" my gut said, echoing my wife.

"Don't you dare write a book! It'll be terrible! A huge disgusting failure! They're all going to laugh at you!" said that mean little voice in my head. Yeah, you know the one. He's a dick.

Why does it feel weird to be writing a post about this particular project? I post about plenty of the other shit I do, so why should this be any different? I don't know why, but it does, like it'll come across as  bragging, which is silly since I hardly have anything to brag about. But anyway, there it is. Weirdness acknowledged. Moving on...

So I started this novel about ten months ago, and I've now reached the point where I write more days than I don't. I lay awake nights thinking about it, trying to fit the pieces together, to understand the  connections that aren't immediately apparent. Which is kind of cool. Here are a few more cool things about it:
  • Seeing faith pay off. The idea for this book started with just a few words. Three words, in fact. Sure, I churned on it a lot before I started, but I hardly knew where it was going to lead. Even now, while I can say with certainty that I know what the last moment of the book will be and I know a few of the big milestones between here and there, I hardly know every twist and turn. But I'm growing increasingly comfortable with that feeling of not-knowing. Coming to relish it in fact, because without that feeling, I couldn't experience the moments of epiphany when things become clear, the next few yards of the path are revealed, and I get a glimpse of another pixel in the big picture. 
  • Research! The idea of doing research to write fiction used to make me bristle. "I'm an artist! I make things up!" But what is fiction but fact with the names changed, a few details rearranged and, in some cases, the rules bent a wee bit? So it became clear pretty early on that some research would be in order if I was to get certain elements of this book right. This meant reading a lot about slavery, researching the nuts and bolts of dogfighting, listening to a lot of hip-hop (gosh, how awful), reading up on Austin history, etc. My knowledge: it has increased. 
  • Writing a lot is a good way to learn about writing. 
  • Werewolves. Motherfucking werewolves. 
And here are a few things that are not so cool about writing a book:
  • It brings out the asshole in me. I'm a busy guy, so my writing time is sacred. But there are times when something else has to take priority over it and it just can't be helped. And when that happens, Captain Dickhead emerges. 
  • It kind of cuts into the blogging time. 
You know, I had a few more bullet points to add to that second list, but they all sounded like whiney bullshit, so I'm gonna leave it at that. Two lovely complaints. Ah ha ha ha.

So that's what I've been up to, aside from the work and the family and the chickens and the beer consumption. Provided that I don't die in the next couple of years, I have a pretty good feeling I'll finish the damn thing. Then y'all can read it. Sound good? Cool. 

8 comments:

flutter said...

Damn. Right. I can't wait to buy your book

Laurie said...

Nice! Congratulations. I look forward to reading it. (Maybe even a little bit like a boss.)

dbs said...

The three word inspiration intrigues me. That sounds like the makings of a cool blog contest.

Always Home and Uncool said...

Burning question: Do the chickens figure prominently in the plot?

sybil law said...

Sounds spectacular, Holmes!! Love it. Can't wait to buy it!

Bubblewench said...

Awesome. Can't wait!!

erin said...

Excellence in a half shell. Turtle power!

I have a transcription job and two editing jobs, so I get super anxious when I sit down to write something I actually want to write.

But alas.

Homemaker Man said...

Nice tease with the research subjects, Captain.