Monday, June 23, 2008

The Great American ...

... Novel. At least I'm writing what I would like to think is going to be novel. Once begun half done, as it were. I've been all over the place lately in a fearful way trying to determine a new course for my life. Nothing drastic, like some big left turn away from making films, but searching for some complementary path that would provide some income, stability and structure. I decided for now to keep my head in the sand where money is concerned and stick to my strengths. Writing scripts always gives me the production jones, so I've been thinking about returning to prose after a seven year break. Then Friday I landed a job making some tasteful, albeit corporate, videos. I didn't think about it until now, but the influx of paid work must have cleared a little space for me to start writing.

Basically I just started writing, trusting that the story and the structure would reveal itself. Which may sound naive, but I'm not someone that has always thought it would be cool to write a novel and just sat down to do it. I've been writing for twenty-five years or more - thousands of pages of stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, journals/blogs. I've even written the first draft of a novel before. I've also been analyzing stories from the perspectives of an English and Spanish Lit student, actor, director and acting coach for as long as I've been writing. What's more, I'm a born storyteller. Some of my friends, especially those from the first twenty some years of my life, might have another name for my endless spinning of yarns.
Writing is something that comes easy for me and as such I've tended to take it for granted. Or perhaps there's some psychological aversion to pursuing something I'm good at for fear of actually being seen as good at something. Because as much as I might crave attention, I shrink from it at the same time.
Anyway, I kicked out 1500 words the first evening. Then another 6000 the next day. And another 2500 this morning, bringing my total to 10,000. Another 90,00o and I'll have a first draft!
It's called Sway. The protagonist is Eugene Morris, the singer and manager of a jazz band that plays weddings and tourist bar gigs in New York City. It's a world I know well and I'm stepping into it again with a new fictional friend leading the way.
I could have spent a lot of time reading books on writing novels or taking notes or joining a writing group or even taken a course, but I decided to just trust that I might know a bit more about this than I give myself credit. Besides it doesn't matter if it's good or it sells or anything like that. It only matters that I keep typing.

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