I have spoken about novels one and two, "Wanted," which is complete in its first draft status, and "Country Church," which is not, but is about 25,000 words complete. And we are finally getting to some conflict. It is like the latest Tom Clancy novel, 27 hours worth of listening and almost no drama. If mine ends up published and selling one-tenth of Red Rabbit, then I have nothing to complain about. Now is the time to write about novel three, "lol," though it may be renamed "asl." Both are chat room lingo, Laughing Out Loud and Age Sex Location. I like "lol" as a title, except that the book itself is not that funny. Funy, but not funny enough to be called "laughing out loud." I think that "asl" more aptly reflects the subject matter of the book and plot, but I have not had the heart to make the changes to the Word document. Maybe soon.
"asl" is about a university grad student who is dating the daughter of a publishing bigwig who is interested in publishing the kid's research and helping him get his start in his career as a popular business writer. Sounds like quite the life plan, huh? Well, the guy gets a little lazy and ends up spending much time on chat rooms and web sites. This new hobby and source of socialization and firendship open the main character to a new world of vulnerability and faux communication, but the result are losses in real life, or IRL, to career and relationships, etc . . . Now that i think about it, "IRL" might be the name, although Indy Racing League might sue, and open wheel racing fans might be disappointed in the subject matter. "asl" may be the name to go with. This is worth considering.
I just finsihed the See book, "Living the Literary Life" and quite enojyed it. She makes some intriguing points about this life I desire, the life of the academic and writer. She makes a fascinating claim about characterization. She says that a list of the 10 people who most changed your life and the 6 poeple you most dislike (she had a different word, the the concept is right) will give you the guts of all your characters. These 16 real life people will eventually morph into the characters of your novel, whether you want them to or not. I believe that this is what "write what you know" means. Maybe the phrase should be "Write who you know." One of the interesting things aboutt eaching is the wide number of people you get to know, the wid enumber of potential characters that are there before you. So I don't think I'll have 16 possible characters, I think I'll have as many as I get to know. Students open up, not about every part of their life like a friend would, but certainly about parts of their lives, sometimes very perosnal parts. There is pleanty of material sitting before me every day of the school year for interesting characters, at least interesing composites. And that does not even mention my faculty colleagues. One thing to keep in mind about professional professors is that there is a reason they like research and quiet and summers off and not supervising people and not dealing with customers, etc . . . I know that is why I like being a professor. It meets my personality, because my square peg did not fit in the round hole of mainstream society. All of my colleagues are square pegs, although a few are octagonal pega, rhomboid pegs, trapezoidal pegs . . . I am one the most normal people on campus, and I am a bit nutty. "asl" has a wealth of characters to draw from, and a wealth of situations to draw on. I am interested to see where it goes, although I know it will not have a happy ending. The work has "cautionary tale" written all over it. But I will try to make it not a cookie cutter morality piece, but a living breathing work of value, that just happens to have a "cautionary tale" feel to it. But I don't seem to be able to get to "asl" or whatever it is called. I am on a bit of a roll with "Country Church," although roll is an exageration. I am on a habit, perhaps, and have made some progress. And of course I need to revise and summarize (summarize, then revise) "Wanted," also. So I just need to live "asl" and gather experience and eyeball potential characters, let them simmer, maybe write some here . . . but get back to them some time down the road.
I am concerned about the accountant in me, that part of my personality that has noted that this paragraph began at 935 words, leaving only 65 to write today. The organizational side of the accountant is a good thing, letting a number of plots go on at once and making outlinging less of a struggle than it could be, but the picky pick picky part of me gets on my nerves sometimes, and may hinder my writing. I sincerely hope not.