So here is where it all started, on my blogspot site. back during the summer of 2009 I got into a tiff with a poet friend of mine. I’ve told this story, or parts of it before. As a nod to all my literary friends, especially since I was feeling a bit insecure and discouraged today, here you go.
So I’m in a bar with my poet friend, and after a couple of beers we good naturedly start throwing shots at one another..
“Poets,” I jibed, “are just lazy novelists!”
Hardly taken aback he fired at me, “And novelists just can’t get to the fucking point!”
and so one thing led to another. On September 12, 2009 I put up the first post in what would prove an utterly exhausting year. I wrote obsessively, everywhere, blurring the line between reality and my fiction, as I incorporated moments and conversations, impressions and anything that would move each story forward.
I went to sleep thinking stories, plots and characters, dreamt descriptions, places and adjectives, and awoke determined to write at least 1000 words each day-more if I could swing it. If the follow through matched the intention, that would mean roughly 5 novels, each about 70,000 words.
Quality was paramount. Finishing on time was secondary. To make things easier, I grabbed characters wholly from real life, or modeled characters after myself. Dialogue made me the most nervous. Writing some dialogue is easy. A writer can follw a train of thought, simply creating the dialogue from linear thought. That isn’t true dialogue. Real dialogue stops and starts, is unsure, and hardly linear, as in a question/answer scenario from a trial.
Here’s what I wrote at the time about why I was undertaking a thoroughly insane project:
“… the recession has challenged a good many hardworking people. Weighted under more pertinent burdens discretionary items like books are quite naturally pushed aside. My goal is to offer five good books to help those folks escape from their troubles for a time, or find community with characters in the stories who are struggling to overcome their own hardships.
Two. The process of publishing makes marketers and salespeople of authors. We’ve gotten away from the art of storytelling. That ancient craft has been forsaken to committees, endless focus groups, and homogenization. Lost is edginess, point of view, individuality and, yes, offensiveness. During the Living Fiction Project I won’t be writing to niche markets. I will be writing to the stories and the characters. Informed often by the news of the day, the characters may go off on diatribes. They may be affected by the news, respond to media, cultural quotes and events as a means to render their world and motivations better for the reader.
This was the way stories were once told. I will have one chance to tell the story and to tell it right the first time. There will be no rewrites, no drafts. The characters and stories will unfold simultaneously for the writer and reader alike.”
Tomorrow I’ll tell you whether or not I succeeded…
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