Tuesday, October 25, 2005

107. see the lightbulb over my head?

I've got it!

I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to write about for National Novel Writing Month. I've been hemming and hawing, weighing various story ideas but none have had that electric buzz of genuine inspiration (most only had the dull throb of desperation).

But this morning on my way back to the office after picking up kleenex from Longs, it hit me. And now I'm chomping at the bit to get started because whereas all the other ideas were based around a more traditional three-act novel structure, the idea I have kind of abandons that framework.

In the end, it may have a kind of meta-narrative or some other kind of broad story arc but for the most part, it's going to be a mass of the kind of tiny, short story things that I've been posting here.

"But that's a short story collection, not a novel."

Yeah, it seems that way but what makes this a novel is the way the stories are connected. It's like I'm painting a portrait of a small city, randomly picking people out of the crowd and following them around for a while, documenting a bit of their day.

"But that still sounds like a short story collection."

Okay, I guess there's going to have to be some kind of meta-narrative to hold the whole thing together, but I'm not going to worry about that. I'm trusting that it will organically appear as I start documenting these fictional lives.

In addition, characters will make cameo appearances in one another's vignettes - sometimes in passing, sometimes in instrumental ways. To me, that ties everything together enough to qualify it as something more than a short story collection.

"I don't know, that still sounds a bit fishy..."

Yeah, well then sign up and write your own novel. Besides the official NaNoWriMo FAQ section contains the following:

We define a novel as "a lengthy work of fiction." Beyond that, we let you decide whether what you're writing falls under the heading of "novel." In short: If you believe you're writing a novel, we believe you're writing a novel too.

So there.

I'm thinking this is going to be the literary equivalent of a movie like "Magnolia," or "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing," or the more recent "Crash."

Yahoo! I can't wait to get started.

"So do you have a title yet?"

Yup. It's called Leave Me Alone and Let Me Write!

"What's up with the attitude? You're the one writing these questions."


Sometimes it sucks to be me.


Tony said...

Have you read Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven. It kind of has what you're going to try, though there is no great crescendo moment like you might find in a movie. Good book, though.

The LoneTomato said...

Nope, never read Steinbeck. Love the title though. I'll have to add that to my stuff-to-check-out list (growing larger everyday).

Also, from your other post, I really want to check out Dave Eggers' new short story collection.

Tony said...

Eggers' collection is about to come out in paperback. I bought it when it first came out but lost interest after a few selections. For me, he works best when he has a lot of room and space to build things up.