Sophistication and New Book

So I’m typing this on the new iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard cover while I watch the latest episode of the Unabomber show on the Discovery channel. The latter part is probably irrelevant, except to acknowledge that the series is quite good and recommend it. The former is impressive. Never thought a tablet and cover could replace a desktop or laptop, but I’m teetering on the edge of saying good-bye to traditional hardware in favor of something truly portable.

Anyway, I’m in the middle of some revisions to Sophistication. I survived this on Dead Weight, too, and once again, it is the worst part of the creative process. The part I dread the most. Not because it’s particularly difficult, but because it feels wrong. Like coloring over your colors. But it must be done and hopefully–fingers crossed and say a prayer–it’ll make the novel that much better. Deadline is September 15. That’s when I’ll resubmit to a publisher and sacrifice a lamb or two to the dark gods so that the folks on the receiving end of my outbox find a shit to give.

The third book. I’ve been meaning to write about it a bit more. I already said that it’s inspired by a friend with a problematic eye issue. I wrote five or 10 pages and liked the cynicism and comedy of it. I started to learn about the main character. That he hates his job. That his grandmother is unwell. That the stress of keeping his broken family afloat in an expensive city is about to overwhelm him. That’s really where the narrative begins.

The way I form stories may or may not be similar to other authors. I’ve never really bothered to check. I see scenes–moments–and eventually a narrative begins to form.

Picture the main character in his shitty, dilapidated, rent-controlled apartment with his anorexic grandmother. She’s from some old country, speaks a single word of English, and it is the only word she ever says. Hungry. Or maybe it’s Hungary. Imagine the main character, barely a man, washing her hair in the kitchen sink under the dim lights as she stares up at him and smiles. Maybe she says hungry and maybe he nods back to her as he scrubs her thin, gray hair and tries not to think about what’s going to happen to them if he loses his job. His head aches and his left eye throbs and all he wants to do is curl up into a ball and hide. But that’s not an option.

I don’t write straight fiction, so of course there will be much more to this picture. But that’s a post for another day.

Five or 10 pages. Written third-person present tense. But about a week ago I started to think I should scrap the opening and rewrite everything in the first-person. Never written a first-person novel before. It sounds… easy, to be honest. Prose tethered to inner monologue. The idiosyncrasies of the way the character thinks and acts. You can fuck it up bad, too, obviously. But I’m eager to try it. It’s new and interesting. So we’ll see where it goes.

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