Yesterday was a great example for never giving up.
I started writing a book awhile back about terrorists setting off fires out west. "Fires of Allah" is the working title.
Started writing around noon but nothing came. None of my usual tricks worked. Problem is, this book has twice been coitus interruptus, so it's a little...hmm...hard to get my....hmm....mojo back. Finally, at around 5:00 as I was headed out for my walk, I had a glimmer of an idea.
Sat down on my walk and wrote it, and I thought it was OK.
As I walked back to my car it suddenly occurred to me how I should write this book. I've always wanted to write a Magic Realism tinged novel. Something that a fantasy reader would like but so would a non-fantasy reader.
What if I treated the fire as a separate character--as a Jinn, if you will?
I added this element to the chapter I'd just written and it improved it dramatically. I started to see how I could insert this idea all the way through the book. The Koran mention Jinn 37 times, almost always in conjunction with fire.
"Smokeless fire." "Scorching fire."
How perfect is that?
So that's where I'm going.
I also have decided that I will probably jettison the upper bureaucratic layer of characters. When the big time literary agent asked for a "100 kickass pages" and to make it "big" I sort of went generic thriller, including a "special assistant" to the president and an astronaut and a bunch of other suits; adults in an adult world.
I mentioned, I'm not comfortable writing about this--almost all my ideas about this world come from other books, movies and TV shows. What do I know?
Whereas, the rest of the book is written at street level, if you will. The actual firefighters and terrorists. (Don't ask me how terrorists are more relateable than muckymucks, but somehow they are.)
Part of this comfort comes from the fact that these firefighters are more or less neighbors, they live where I live, and I can get a sense of them. Also, I'm doing a lot of research, reading memoirs of firefighters, so I can get at them that way.
So there are several chapters in the first half of the book that I'm probably going to jettison, or at least cut way, way down. I think I can do that (which probably means they weren't necessary in the first place.)
Thanks a lot, Mr. Agentman for steering me wrong.
Anyway, I feel like this book has a ton of meat to it, lots of thematic possibilities. And the Magic Realism aspect makes it possible to try to be a little poetic.
I read the new chapter to my wife, Linda, last night and she really liked it.
Glad I didn't give up.
4 days ago