Monday, June 21, 2010

How I Sold My Soul to WRITING

A few years ago, after reading too many Christopher Moore books in a row, I came up with an idea for a story. Most of my story ideas come in script form, and since I spent about 7 years in school writing scripts, I think that's pretty natural. I used to work on a magazine in college and I wrote out this script to submit to it but it was too long at 30 pages and I had too many things I wanted to integrate into it so it didn't really work in that medium. So I toyed with the idea of making it a book, a full-length work of fiction. I'd keep the general idea and the title because it fit with the expanded version I has in my head.

Now, I've written many things from angry letters to Holly Valance's (one hit Australian wonder, used to star in soaps on that end of the world) publicist to 120 page film scripts to emails vaguely hitting on rock stars. I've never written a book. But I've decided it's time. So I made myself a cup of coffee, the beverage of writers (okay, technically the second beverage of writers but it is way to early to start drinking right now) and sat down. Then got back up because coffee makes me go to the bathroom. But then I sat back down. And watched an episode of True Blood. Oh God, is that show trash. I love it. I love it so much. They made vampires fun again! Not to mention, nudity and graphic violence are a win-win combination. Okay, so after that I sat back down again. Well, technically I already was sitting so I just un-minimized the Word document. I wrote out the title and the byline and then went upstairs to play with my kitty.

Are you sensing a pattern? Well, this is how I write. By putting it off FOREVER. I really hope I can break that habit. Or maybe I'll start drinking for real.

I finally spat out a prologue of sorts. You see, my scripts always have a sort of formula to them. I have a completely bizarre introductory scene to set it off, and then I start the story and slowly make my way up to that scene. It's my style so I figured I can use it for this. I already have the 30 page script but I have so many ideas for the book version, I actually sat down and scribbled them all out on a handy pre-storyboarded moleskine I have. I always outline my writing before I write, which is why I had that, but with this, I think I'm going to play it by ear and see how it goes and just use it to not forget stuff I think of along the way. I think I'd target it towards a young adult and up audience. Here's my (unedited! UNEDITED) prologue, do you think it's something you'd keep with and read on?

Prologue – Die Another Day
It’s a dark and stormy night. Of course. These stories always take place on dark stormy nights. What’s sinister about a bright sunny afternoon? No, no there has to be at least some precipitation. But then, “it was a humid late morning,” doesn’t quite work either. It needs to be dark and it needs to be raining. Dirty deeds are always done in the dark. And dirt cheap if Messrs. Young and Scott of AC/DC are to be trusted. So it was a fair bit of luck that the events herein happened on a particularly wet night, highlighted by growling thunder and perfect zig-zags of lightening.
Two figures stand over a body. The rain pounds down like thousands of wet bullets forming a lake of sorts around the motionless body. The two figures bend down to get a closer look. A brief flash of lightening illuminates their faces; one paler than moonlight had there been a moon visible, and the other more mutilated than a Barbie that had an unfortunate run-in with a lawnmower, but with the same sick loveliness.
“Is he dead?”
The figure moans, not unlike a distressed hippo.
“God. Damn it.”
An exceptionally large bolt of lightening cuts a swath into the inky night, barely missing but further highlighting the speaker’s gruesome porcelain doll face. She glares heavenward.
“I didn’t mean you!”
Her pallid companion laughs. The grey sheen to his skin makes him seem to glow.
“You know, it might make our job a lot easier if he were dead.”
The lightening strikes again. Too close. He stops laughing. He tries to grin but it comes out as more of a grimace as his teeth catch on his lip and he holds up his hands and hunches over. It’s the retreat pose of a wuss who has overstepped his boundaries.
“Maybe another day.”
The figure lets out another moan from the ground.
* * *

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