Sunday, July 16, 2017

"Takeover" is the "good" book. I need to keep it that way. Make sure that every piece works, that I don't compromise, that I don't get sidetracked. This estimation of a "good" book is strictly mine, and may bear no relation to how others will see it. It could very well be rejected and it wouldn't change my opinion of it. It could get few readers, bad reviews, and it won't change my opinion.

I've always wanted to write the "good" book, the book I can point to and say,  "Here. I've left this."

I could make this a reality-based book all the way through. It would probably get to 30 or 40K words and could be embellished, I suppose, to 60K words. Maybe lots of philosophizing and politicizing and interior dialoguing and I  could get it to 80K words. That's a real option. I've been debating with myself. To do that book I'd need to do more research.

I'd need to drop the plot, basically. The murder. Drop the second murderous group. End the book with the capture of the leaders and the death of Jules.

If I was a literary author and could bring some depth and pathos to that, it might be the way to go. How ambitious am I in that direction?

I have my doubts that I could really nail that book. I do think, however, that I could nail a thriller. 

So keeping to real events would just be my interpretation of what really happened. That might be critically more palatable, but it wouldn't be a thriller, per se. And I'm not sure that I can pull it off. I also don't think it would be as fun and satisfying personally.

Like I said, this has to please me.

So, by the time I write some fill-in chapters, I'm going to be at 20K words.

Then the murder. Then the plot happens. From that point, it will be more plot oriented, like a thriller.

That doesn't mean I have to drop the reality "feel" of it, it just means I move away from what really happened.

I came into this book with only two plot ideas. That there would be a murder, and that a more extreme and violent group would come in and the original group and hostages have to work together to beat them.

The first 20K words have paralleled real events. With the murder, I go into new territory.

In every book, there is that part where the story drives me and there is the part where I drive the story. I always prefer the former, but always bow to the necessity of the latter. The crafted parts of the books aren't worse, they just aren't quite as personally satisfying. Sometimes, actually, they are better because the inspired parts often are more predictable, the parts I have to think about I can try to veer away from predictability.

I liken inspiration to a well. Sometimes the well is overflowing and it spills out on the page. Sometimes I have to dip into it. Sometimes I have to dip the bucket to the bottom of the well. But the water, the inspiration, is the same no matter how I access it. the same time...the overflow water always seems to have a big more fizz to it. It always tastes just a little better.

I've gotten as far as 3/4th the way through a story with the story directing me. But I've never made it all the way through a book before inspiration peters out and I have to direct the story. I think I have the luxury with this book to make sure I get all the way through being driven by the story. Even if it takes twice as long as normal. I don't want to mess with the "good" book.

I've tried to let the characters direct the story so far, but I've reached the logical conclusion of that unless I intend to leave out the plot. If I bring in the plot, then I have to have the characters directed by the plot.

I'm waiting for inspiration, really. Waiting for my subconscious to tell me what comes next.

The funny thing is, this is exactly the opposite of what I thought would happen. This was the book that I was going to fully plot out, every little detail, with character sketches and tons of research.

So I did some research, as much as I could force myself to do, and then I started writing the character sketches and those seemed to take on a life of their own and were telling the story better than a fictional narrative, and I kept that approach.

I've used up most of the research in the first 20K words, which is fine because this is where the fiction takes over. So far, everything I've written has paralleled real events. If I decide to keep it real, I'll need to do a lot more research. I'll need to figure out how to explain the thinking and motives of the characters. If I go with the plot, then I need to make it satisfying in an action way, without so much literary interior dialogue.

I'm going to keep waiting for the characters to pop up and tell me it's their turn. I have the plot pretty much formed. I've written the book in my head, so to speak. Which is always alarming and reassuring at the same time. Alarming because I'd much rather keep discovering (but of course I do) and reassuring because there is always the danger that I can't come up with an ending. Heh.

Anyway, I'm incredibly excited by this book, and I'm hoping to keep the head of steam all the way through.

1 comment:

Dave Cline said...

In market trading there's thing called the cone of probability. It's a chart thing, but looks like this:

Essentially, given the factors that brought price to here, "may" take it in these directions given these probabilities. Most cones are not symmetrical, that is, you want them biased in some way so that your bet (trade) has a better chance in this direction that that direction.

Lately, I've thought of the story arc as a progression of probability cones. From here, the story could go this way... Or the story could go that way... Or...

But what I end up asking myself, when a nexus of the story presents itself, is: "what MUST happen next?" And the answer to that question, most often is the one that both satisfies AND twists the story in a way as to make it unpredictable. For me, as soon as a story is predictable, then I've lost the reader. That thing that MUST happen? Yeah, it's usually a shock, but it often opens up a whole new cone of possibilities.