Sunday, March 05, 2006

Writing Woes

I told Dora about the novel I’m working on. She had an interesting response. She asked me if I was ever going to write something for her. She didn’t mean, “Are you going to dedicate a book to me?” She was implying that she is not my target audience, and she’d like to be.

It really is a reasonable request. She’s not asking me to be a better writer. Nor is she asking me to write more commercial material. Dora’s a good reader. She doesn’t read crap… Well, not all crap. She does like that Shopaholic series, but then, I’m a sucker for cheap sci-fi. Dora reads good stuff, and she was asking if my books would be on her to-read list if she didn’t know me.

Well, if I can get my stuff published, I hope all of humanity will feel compelled to read my work. Short of that, however, I’m afraid I am unable to pick my reader. No matter how much I love Dora, she doesn’t directly influence what I write. I don’t even directly influence it. I’m not trying to claim some muse-bullshit, like, “The material comes to me and I am but a conduit.” It’s not that at all. When I started “Mifflin” (By the way, an agent asked to see the full manuscript last month. Keep your fingers crossed.) I thought the book was going to be about a young man who truly wanted to become the Anti-Christ. As I wrote, however, the characters became more real than I had anticipated. Theo didn’t want to be the Anti-Christ. He just wanted to move on after a difficult break up, and it took the death of an old schoolmate to put the fire under his ass. It was a big change in narrative.

Now with this new project, I have these two brothers, twins maybe? I’m not sure yet. One lives in New York. He’s a divorced PR consultant with questionable moral practices. (He staged the terrorist kidnapping of two pharmaceutical executives in Iraq to create brand awareness.) He becomes involved in a large scale project that changes his worldview, involves him in a Budapest crime spree, gets him three years in federal prison, and changes the direction of globalization (not all in that order). The other brother is happily married with four children. He and his family run a small farm in Central Wisconsin that specializes in ethically-grown crops. He and his wife are also labor activists and non-violent anarchists. The two brothers have a father whose health is faltering, a fuck-up of a cousin, in-laws, and other issues. But in the end the sorry is about these two very different brothers finding some common ground and attempting to make the world a more interesting place.

I can’t say where it will go as I write, but even since its conception the project has changed a great deal. So in answer to Dora’s question, I don’t know if I’ll ever write something for her; for you, dear reader; or for anyone. It’s frustrating, but I do enjoy being dragged through the process.

1 comment:

La Joconde said...

Write for you. Write what you want to read.
It's my point of view.