Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, January 25, 2013

I wonder about me...

Jake and I are having a problem. He wants to tell the story like he talks. I want to make it literature, maybe with a touch of poetry. He thinks I'm being stupid, and I halfway believe that if he had a corporeal body, he'd throttle me, that's how irritated he's become.

Thing is, I want the language of the story to match its meaning. I had fun with Ace's hard-boiled, paranoid patois because it fit the tone of the story. And keeping it going while still being able to keep the other characters in their proper mode was challenging. I don't know if I succeeded; people ain't buying the book and I have 1 whole critique that says nothing.

With "Bobby Carapisi", I focused in on building three different styles of writing to reflect three completely different men -- Eric, who's educated but trendy; Bobby, who's just a guy who made it through school; and Allen, who thinks he's more erudite than he is. I find it interesting that no one's caught onto the fact that when Allen quotes "Pride & Prejudice", he uses the 1940 movie version instead of the book, and Eric doesn't catch it, indicating both are a little full of themselves as to how smart they really are.

With "How To Rape A Straight Guy"I was telling the story through a poorly educated ex-con who's filled with anger and self-righteousness. The trick to that story was revealing how devastating his actions are to others without him recognizing his part in that devastation. On that one, I know I did good; I've gotten lots of feedback, and it's 95% positive.

"Porno Manifesto" and "Rape in Holding Cell 6" were more plot oriented with some character development to make them seem real, but they weren't a challenge in the writing style. With them, it was the mechanics, and it really shows in PM; less so in RIHC6.

"NYPD Blood" was me keeping it in the mindset of a guy from NYC in the 60s and 70s who doesn't recognize his own growing emotional instability while making it obvious to others. With this one, while I had a real person to use for the manner of speech and resources like "Serpico" and "Prince of the City" to draw upon, it was the jumping around in the story while still keeping a linear structure that was the challenge. Again, I don't know if it worked.

So...I like to try different things. I enjoy the challenge, even as I whine about it. But this is the first time I've had problems with a character about his storytelling. I know what Jake wants, but he's smarter than he lets on. He's better educated. It's all a facade he's built to protect himself, and him dropping it for a moment at a crucial moment in the story let me see that. He's not a Raymond Chandler or James Ellroy kind of guy. He reads. He's an artist. A creator. He's working on a graphic novel. He cares about people. He's loyal to a fault. He's not a lone wolf but one that belongs with a pack.

He's not being honest with me. Why not?

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