This post is in direct contrast to my last post, which was complaining gloomily about Rome. I’ve figured out what to do about Rome (write it steadily, but by hand. Takes longer, but gets there instead of failing).
THIS post is me talking about my first day writing The Nondescript.
Everything about this book has been a dream, even before I started writing it. My research was exciting and my dates worked perfectly. I needed certain things to be happening in October 1940 and, as it turned out, they happened in that month anyway. So I get my perfect story elements combined, along with accurate history.
(1940 was the first year the United States draft went into effect: It was also one of the final years of the privately owned carnivals moving around the country)
So the research goes perfectly. But even better, somewhere in there, I hit my crap threshold and said “***** it!” and am gleefully working on The Nondescript with no concern for how anyone likes it.
I don’t think the beginning has any discernible hook. It doesn’t have a really catchy opening line (although it does have a fun opening line). The paragraphs are thick and full of information. ALSO, and I really enjoy this, I decided that what the heck, I am in the novel as the narrator. I have a small line where, quietly, I just speak to the audience. They may not notice. But I noticed, and I wrote it anyway and like it. Problems with it? Well, they can go hang. I’m having fun.
Here’s my first paragraph, because even if it’s not catchy and even if it’s not the final first paragraph, I like it and it’s being kept.
To the red country of Oklahoma, the last rains had come gently and they had not cut the scarred earth. That had been during the summer months, when the days stretched on and on, the nights never cooled enough to matter, and the only relief was the falling rain. The ground never softened much and this year, it had been a bad year: The crops grew poorly in some places. Elsewhere, they did not grow at all. Farmers prayed for a great rain to bring their food back to life, else they would have nothing to eat, nothing to sell. And the great rains came, but they swept through in powerful storms, and cut down the crops or pounded them. The hard rains were the fists of giants. The hailstorms were the crushing heels of monsters.
So there you go. I’m writing this as confidently and comfortably and happily as any of my serial work. I’m writing it without fear and with the idea that I know exactly what I’m doing. This has been completely unheard of at any point prior in my novel work.
I’m an extremely happy camper right now. And I’m healthy again which means you kids best start writing faster, because I’m going to be catching you up. (Although my numbers on the chart for this week certainly do look abysmal…!)
Right, off to work some more. And spend a happy afternoon with my wife, and son, neither of whom work today.
ADDENDUM: I just had a plot breakthrough and realized who it is among my cast of characters who gets hanged later on, and it broke my heart when I knew who it was. It actually made me sad. This is very interesting. I don’t want it to happen now, even though it surely will, but actually going “Aw, damn it…” when the realization came to me is a new experience. The Nondescript is working, in my brain and heart, a lot differently than Rome did, or my other works. This may just be because I’m early into it (maybe I’ll hate it later), but I suppose we’ll see.