You’re so vain, I’ll bet you think this book is about you. Don’t you?
My favorite part of writing novels is finding out how they end. I am now 72,000 words (240 pages) into the first draft of The King Family, and tensions are rising, but I still don’t know how it ends! I don’t know what’s going to happen between Danny and Gretchen, or even Danny and Louis. (Though I’m pretty sure Danny and Louis won’t hook up.)
Every good writer steals. So in my attempt to be a good writer, I’ve become a master thief! Mostly I try to steal from real life ~ it is so bleeping entertaining once you start paying attention. I eavesdrop, I spy, I take notes, I even take photos. I also steal from the writers who’ve come before me, the ones I admire most. Then I sit down to write and write and write. When it’s time to write the opening line, paragraph, and first page of my novel (usually after I’m about 50,000 words into it and I really know what it’s about), I study the first pages of a dozen or more of my favorites and the classics, and put myself in the mindset of the great authors of the world. Then I let my fingers do the talking.
But I also use the little brain in my head to conjure up memories and people I’ve known throughout my life. This is going to be the interesting part when my book is published. Yesterday, one humorous scene that I wrote was based on a couple I recently saw in the San Jose, Costa Rica airport. My husband and I were on our way to Panama, and sitting right behind us was an older man (65?) and a young, beautiful woman, perhaps Indonesian, who had apparently just landed in Central America. She couldn’t have been over 25. It soon became obvious that she was a “mail-order bride” and he was a pervert. I don’t know how else to say it. The man was an American, probably former military of some sort. He had pasty white skin, about 30 extra pounds, and he was drooling. Ok, the drooling was figurative, but he was gross.
So I used that delicious scene in my book, but by the time I was finished, I realized that people who know me are going to imagine that man as someone whom I know. (No, I don’t hang out with pasty white perverts ~ I adapted him a bit.) But it wasn’t anyone from my past, I swear! <wink, wink>
The King Family is getting juicy, but it’s not a memoir, it’s not a tell-all, it’s fiction. If I was going to write about my real life, it would include sun and skin and sweat. I would mention sunsets, cerveza, and ceviche. It would tell about an obsessive writer who is trying to learn enough Spanish to impress Maria, her cleaning lady ~ I am in Costa Rica after all.
No, my novel takes place mostly in Wyoming, of all the gin joints in all the world…
Whoo! I think the heat is getting to me.
Oh, well. Hasta luego!