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Rebel Writer Without a Cause

February 5, 2010

Okay, who picked this week’s topic? I hope it wasn’t me. No really. The last thing I want to talk about this week is where I’m at with my current novel. Hell, I think I’d have more fun gouging out my eyes than talking about finishing The Courier. Hey, C.J., could we use another guest blogger this week?

Mmmm... James Dean as my protagonist.

Anyways… Lately, The Courier is like a relationship with your teenage child. You love and nurture him from the very beginning, but towards the end of his teens, he’s lucky he’s still alive. The only saving grace is when he receives his first acceptance letter to a college, and you realize it’s only a short while before you can boot his ass out the door. In the case of my novel, throwing it in the fireplace and burning every last stinkin’ bit of it would be more than satisfying at the moment. But yesterday, Steve said, “never throw anything away,” and that’s some really valuable advice. Especially five seconds into the burning, when I jump into the flames to save Barry, Nina and all their evil friends.

I guess it’s normal to have a love/hate relationship with your novels. And, I suppose this phase of writing the damn thing was inevitable. Remember me saying I started writing The Courier as a fun experiment, not really taking it seriously. Now, six months later, I’m so freakin’ wrapped up in the story line and characters, I can see them all glaring at me from across my desk, disappointed I’m not moving their lives along quicker.

Go get him, Michael

The shit really hit the fan when I read in Manuscript Makeover, and a few other places, that it’s hard to sell a novella as a first time author. ARGH! That’s exactly what I had been writing. Shortly before that, I started contemplating serializing The Courier. Oh, and my agent also asked if I had thought about adding in more of the traditional and biblical acceptance of Satan and the origins of evil. I replied I had for a later book, but that answer seemed absurd. When I wrapped it all up in one package, the story no longer made sense as a novella.

So where am I now? Still organizing chaos, like I was a couple weeks ago. It’s getting easier though. I’ve rewritten the ending, lengthening it and twisting in more conflict for a better flavor. Took me a few months to really figure it out though, which is frustrating considering I had hoped to have the first draft completed by now.

On a good note, I got a couple reminders from friends that things could be much worse, one being a ridiculous ad, posted by a not so nice individual, looking for writers to edit 500 word articles for $1.25 a piece. Yeah, I’ll take my troubles with my novel over that work any day.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 5, 2010 12:36 am

    Sounds like it’s time for “White Writer, Black Heart” or “Heart of Darkness: A Writer’s Apocalypse.” Of course, I’m riffing on Peter Viertel’s “White Hunter, Black Heart,” his account of the grueling odyssey of his time with John Huston in Africa making “The African Queen.” The other reference is based on “Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse” about the extreme trials and tribulations of Francis Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now.”

    Naturally, I’m thinking that your trials with “The Courier” could make a novel in and of itself.

    I applaud you for sticking with what started out as a “fun experiment.” That was probably akin to Michelangelo saying that he’d paint the Sistine Chapel because he wasn’t doing anything else at the moment.

    Keep at it, W.J. Pretty soon, you’ll have a movie deal to rival Dan Brown and your initials will be up there with J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, H.G. Wells and J.R.R. Tolkien, except you’ll be American and speak normally.

  2. February 5, 2010 1:21 pm

    You need any help just drop me an email. I know how hard the end can be and I know the middle can be even worse! Tying it all together and introducing more complex sub-plots when you’re almost done would be enough to rival any sane individual!

    Wishing you the very best and I know you’ll do fine (with or without any outside help). Yes, girlfriend, I’ve read your work and you’re just that good.


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