Writing a Novel. The pain, the process, the publication...be a part of it
Welcome to my world and the tangled web of my creativity.
I have decided I am old (and wise enough?) enough to publish my novels, whether the world is bloody well ready or not.
Follow my journey and wish me luck
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Here's a legit question for you, Lynn...how do you start the process? Does some flash of insight pop up, get filed for later use, then you work on amassing them all into some semblance of order...do paragraphs just spit themselves out? Does a story line spring full-grown into your consciousness and (like Jeff Hoke would say) just let you follow the lines that are already on the paper? Character creation and development - setting - time - technolgoy(ies) - economic and social, political, societal issues - plot structuring and plot development - and so much more - how do you get that all started, my friend? Details, dialogue, monologs, accent, inflection, underlying emotion or lack of it, the baseline of classical Greek personalities from sanguine to choleric to melancholy to phlegmatic...where do you start your stori(ies - I can see where this latest one you published Ch. 1 of starts with a guy with history and a past romantic grand gesture, for instance...) and where do you take them? Do they take you where don't want to go sometimes? These are dumb questions for someone my age, I know, yet, one always goes to the more-informed for insight. Hence, I turn to you. BTW, sweetie (can I say that!?!) I really hope your knee replacement is fully healed or nearly-so, and that you're well and happy, my friend. There are times I find I do in fact miss you. Good to see that perhaps your stress levels may be returning to at least manageable. Anyway, I'm genuinely interested in your input. Did I ever send you a copy of my little pseudo-novel some years ago? It's okay if you laugh now, in case I did send it HA!
March 12th, 4:39pm
I took the time to develop some characters for my new novel so I could answer this intelligently. I have two types of characterization. The first (and favored) sort springs from my mind fully formed, fully dressed and fully three dimensional. These are rare indeed. The second type is built up layer by layer, writing down the way they dress, speak, act, and even make love. Both the fully-formed and the layered characters come to me from images. I study faces, and every once in a while one of them starts whispering to me. When I can listen, I do. I let THEM tell their stories. I have tossed so many plot outlines because the characters simply want to go another way.
I also have to draw each main character, possibly many times until they live for me. A very important part of the exposition of character is through dialog. I speak every line aloud. When I was working on a spec script for Star Trek: Next Gen, I drove my family mad imitating the characters aloud.
One novel (as yet unpublished) started when I got my toe stuck in the bathtub faucet. Suddenly I saw- in my mind's eye) a sports car exploding into flame, incinerating the man inside. His wife, still at the door after kissing him goodbye, screamed and ran forward. Before I got my toe unstuck, I knew him, knew her and felt their love.
Other books are built up layer by layer, of pictures drawn and clipped, of notebooks full of notes, and sometimes dreams. No matter what, my stories always start with the character.
I almost feel I shouldn't write this, but as no one is likely to read it anyway, I will.
I recently reread "Ride The Tiger" for the first time in many years. I FRAKIN' LOVED IT! Yes, there is a lot of gore and some bits that would make Stephen King cringe, but it is also a really deep, beautiful love story. Lee goes through so much to connect to his soul mate.
The whole mad world of "Tiger" was really about breaking down artificial boundaries, the evil "Shoulds" that hold us in our own isolated worlds and places. I mixed martial arts with gay love because of the extreme contrast, as well as the many hidden traditions of male love in at least the Samurai world. When I wrote "Tiger", I was doing kung fu and T'ai Chi over 25 hours a week and training with a master, George Azoo in Chicago. We did it all, Wing Chun, Jeet Kune Do, Iron Arm, Sticky Hands. I loved it all, and was really hard-core. They called me the "Iron Maiden". Then, my right knee went out two weeks before a Demo. I lost Kung Fu. But not the passion. Kept my hand in for years teaching Chi Gung after George passed, but the pain never gave me a days rest. The knee pain, the losses of art and teacher. I had recently moved from San Francisco and could never get that gorgeous bitch-goddess of a City out of my head. Guess I lost her, too.
But out of all that loss, I did end up meeting my true love so I guess things have a way of turning out.
I grew up in the gay community. Although at the time I wrote "Tiger" I was passing for heterosexual, all I had to do was meet "The One" to switch sides. Wouldn't have it any other way. Although I have been criticized for my choices my main character & alter ego, Lee, is simply a reflection of my experience and will, no doubt be criticized as well. Too gay of a book, not gay enough of a book, a gay book written by a lesbian (ooh, that's really bad!), I've heard all the excuses from the so-called LBGT presses. So, in love with e-books anyway, I went Indie.
I hope people read "Ride The Tiger" because there are many moments of unexpected poetry in that book, my first book, my baby
As I wait, contemplating subjects, for the month-long writing contest to begin, I chip away at all my preconceptions about the writing life. It needed all be cold coffee, lonliness, and rejection. I consider the fact that writing is one job that is not as bloody age sensitive as most are, though it does help if one still looks good for the book jacket.