You get a bonus if you know what happened inside the building pictured on the right. I don't know what you get. Maybe cheese. Maybe a break. Who knows.
"I'd been dying of a heart attack for three weeks and decided to figure out what to do with all my money once I croaked, and all I can say is that the whole thing was just one great big pain in the ass."
OK yeah... tah dah! The opening I decided on when I told you I decided on an opening some time ago. It's lasted more than a week so I figure it'll be there when I'm done. Well maybe. Who knows.
Somebody said the only psychological disorder connected to writers belongs to people who can't write but keep doing it anyway. A kernel of truth in there I guess. but also sounds like someone is trying to just be a hard ass. Who knows.
I can't write anything unless it's first person any more. I blame blogs for that. There's a lot of people who hate hate hate first person fiction. But most everybody did it from time to time. Ernie sez you can tell it's good when people come up thinking it actually happened to you. I think I'm stuck in this mode now from my long ago experience acting where you get inside the character's head and you don't "say lines" you just have the guy talk. I can't conceptualize it any other way anymore. I think when people don't like first person fiction it's because the writer didn't develop the character's voice enough. If they really made the character a whole thing it's easier. otherwise it comes off really stupid, and I've read shit like that. It's shit. How it gets published I'll never know. Anyway that's my take on first person fiction. Here's the rules; You write first person fiction like this... 1.obviously the protagonist doesn't die because he's talking. 2. then just go from there. Pretty simple. I think. Who knows.
I can't even tell you how many words I have written to get to the words I'm sure are done at this point. A few weeks ago I think I said I have 15,000 "presentable" words. Today I'm only sure of the first 9,000. Not only that but I took the order of events and changed it. Four times. I have three endings now. I still don't know what to use. The ending has to match the first line, not in words but in what the hell is going on. Aaaaaand I've got three that do that. So there I am. I don't see this going more than 26,000. Just barely a novel. Anything more and it's just stupid useless padding. I don't care, let the story write itself. It's been doing that all along... every version. I've written maybe 135,000 words for this in the last year. Yes it's still my best, but that's like 14 writes and 24 re-writes and then some of the re-written stuff is just pitched. I don't even remember some of the places this story has gone. It's a humid summer in a dirty city. Before that it was a half-dead city in the middle of winter. Maybe by next month it'll be a bucolic small town in Nebraska. Who knows.
I'm not complaining, mind you. This is what I call fun. The problem isn't that I can't get the engine going, it's that I can't get it to chill. Everybody I know in the business says that's a good thing. But every week I'm a different kind of writer than I was the week before. So I go back and change a word or two or forty back on page six or twenty. Or one. I don't want to put a foot wrong. i want it to be one whole thing. No wasted fol-dee-rol. Don't include all the stuff people skip over. Big thick paragraphs (like this one?) are out. Dialogue. Dialogue! People talking tells the story dammit. I find myself going into the gas station in the morning to get my coffee and listening to people talk. Listen to how they talk. Nobody speaks in complete sentences. Nobody. It's fits and starts and use only the important words...
"Guy said ninety-eight today."
"It's ninety-eight for a week."
"Already Luis's melting over here."
"How they know it'll be exactly ninety-eight? They don't even know when it's raining."
"It's like baseball. Be wrong seven out of ten you're a fucking millionaire."
The problem is the pastiche for the viewpoint character. Once you start down that road you're done. You can't drop the g's or sound out the words in writing because down the road it's a trap. Screw up one time and it sticks out. You just talk as the character and let the reader fill it in. Like describing what a person looks like. I can't begin to list the classic fiction that's been done that never told you what anybody actually looks like. And yet there are also classic descriptions. So okay so there aren't any rules. So sue me. Who knows.
Never think for a minute any of this is a complaint. This is the fun part. This is just how it is. Welcome to my world. Or my ruin.