Friday, September 30, 2005

Fini (or In Case You Missed It)

In case you missed the reference in my last column (which appeared on the street today) it is, at long last, finished -- I finally got to type the words "The End" on the last page of the novel I started last November during national novel writing month.

I actually finished it last week. I'm not sure why I didn't make any mention of it here, after counting down the last few thousand words so religiously. I think, maybe, I found myself so relieved to finally be finished, to finally have a novel finished after so many attempts of starting and not quite getting through, that I just kind of purged all thought of it from my mind from the moment it was done. It took me three days to remember to send the last few pages to the friend that had been reading along, ever step of the way, since November, and usually I'd send him something as soon as it was complete.

In a way, I was dreading it being over as well. In the same way that, when reading a really, really good book you can find yourself dreading the end, because you'll have to close the book on the events and the characters and the people you've come to know and love over time, so it is when writing a book. I really grew to care about these characters, and even like most of them (some of them tried very hard to be unlikeable, but in the end, I think even they found a few shreds of decency). So walking away from them was hard.

Not that I won't be visiting them at some point in the future -- the book may be done, but it's a mess. It needs a rewrite *badly*. But I need to put it away for awhile. I need to let the characters and the ideas and the themes drift out of my head, so that when I go back to do the rewrite, I can approach it with a completely new set of eyes. So I can be a bit more objective, so I can more easily yank out the parts that don't work, and discover the things that really, really do.

Until then, I have a one act play called "Dinner and Drinks" in the works (three stories, about three different stages of relationships). I'm about halfway through one of the stories, and I'm already convinced that it would be almost impossible to put on the stage here in Williams Lake without offending more than half of the people who came to see it. Which, while not something I'm always against, isn't really the point of the story. Unfortunately, some of the subject matter in the play has proven difficult to talk about without being...well, vulgar.

Still, if all goes well, the play should be complete by the first of November, and the start of National Novel Writing Month, and my third crack at it. Two weeks ago I was terrified, because I realized that I'd been spending so much time finishing last year's novel that I didn't have any ideas for a new one. No old ideas rattling around in my head waiting to come out either.

A title came to me one night, while lying in bed, my brain refusing to drift off to sleep. Even though, at the time, there was no story attached to it, the title was too good not to use -- "The Smalltown Pornographer's Blues". I decided the next day that it would be a fun challenge to go into a book with nothing but the title, and just sort of let the story tell itself, however it saw fit. Within the next few days, I'd figured out the ending, as well as the first two chapters, so I'm pretty confident that this will actually be doable.

And even if it wasn't...well, the title would *still* be too good not to try.

I've avoided blogging the novels in the past, though I did stumble past a few people who were posting their entire book, as they wrote it, to their blog, and it struck me as interesting idea. I probably won't go quite that far (I'm a little nervous about copyright infringement, after getting burned a number of years back by a newspaper that shall remain nameless) but I might post occasional novel excerpts here, so if you're interested in the saga of my pornographer and his blues, you'd do best to visit periodically during the month of November.

In my last bit of writing news, I'm considering getting into small-town political discussions in my column by writing a review of campaign signage. I've seen two signs so far that have made me think of two things that are very different than what they intended, and I thought it could be a pretty funny approach.

Though I'll probably wait until a week or two before the election itself, just to make sure that everyone who's going to get a sign up *gets* their sign up. Though I have found a spot that seems to have a sign from just about every current candidate under the sun. I should finally figure out how my stupid digital camera works and snap some photos of it...

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