Friday, January 17, 2014
The New Book
There’s something totally thrilling about typing out the first few pages of a new book. Will it fly? Will it have legs? Will the characters develop well enough to stand by themselves eventually, and even question their author’s choice of actions for them? Will the plot come full circle without resorting to some silly deus ex machina loophole, as do so many bad novels? Or, as often happens, will it peter out after 50 or 100 pages and be relinquished, with others of its ilk, to the back of the book closet? Every author has great ideas that came---and went--to naught. It’s part of the trade.
For a writer, a book is a world, and he or she, for all good purposes, is that world’s creator and god. In time, the writer speaks of the characters as friends. They have a backstory, if only in the author’s mind, and their existences, their lives, are certainly more important than those of real and passing acquaintances. After a while, the book’s development transcends fiction and becomes reality. Winston Churchill, no slouch in the writing department, once wrote, “Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”
I have a friend who recently finished writing a novel, and for months that was all he could talk about. It got to be boring, but necessary. When you choose to create an entire world, peopled by the men and women forged by your imagination, and you hold these people’s fates in your hands, well, what else can you possibly think about? These are your children, the offspring of your mind’s fancy. Without you they become orphans, purposeless phantasms blown apart by the slightest breeze.
All this to say I have recently begun writing a new novel, and I’m excited.
This project is uncharted territory. All I have right now are three brothers who decid to go into business together. They all have different expectations on what this partnership will bring. There are some vague notions attached to the not-yet-conceived plot. There will be love and humor and sex and conflict, because that’s what books are made of. Hopefully, the brothers will develop minds of their own and enter into dialogs willingly. Their conversations will make sense and be fun to read, their interactions believable. They will do, generally, what I suggest, but in their own way, and all I will have to do is watch and take notes. They may rebel, God bless ‘em, and take off on unexpected tangent, and I plan to do everything to encourage that. I will document the twists and bends of their lives and may nudge them from time to time in the right--or wrong--direction.
This is made more exciting by the fact that I’ve just signed on with a new literary agency that will represent my work. I’ve had agents in the past, and my most recent experience was not a happy one. I’m hoping this one will be different. These guys seem enthusiastic about my writing, which, frankly, makes me really feel good.
So off I go on another adventure. I’ll keep you up to date.