I started writing another book yesterday.
Please note I didn’t say worked on the book, but started writing another book. Yes, that’s right; I am working on a Scotty book (I did start writing Chapter Fifteen yesterday), have the WIP as well that I’ve not touched in a while, and am trying to whip the last two stories for my short story collection into shape–but I started writing another book yesterday.
I am clearly completely insane.
I’ve been toying with an idea for a noir novel for awhile, with a gay main character; kind of a Hard Case Crime-style novel with a gay male protagonist. I know who my main character was; I knew who the young, sexy young man and young woman who would be the focus of the cover were, and even had a slight, amorphous idea of the plot of the book; I even knew the opening scene of the book would take place in a deserted alley late at night behind the gym the main character owned; the gym was simply called Muscles, and that was also the name of the book. But as I finished polishing “My Brother’s Keeper” for it to be read aloud for its final polish, an idea kept nagging at me. And as I started writing Chapter Fifteen, it began taking shape in my mind. And I knew it was the opening of Muscles, which I’ve never known quite how to structure. It came to me yesterday while I was working on other things, so I decided–in my Greg is completely crazy way, that the smart thing to do was go ahead and write it down, before I forgot it–I’ve done that so many times–and so I started writing it. Next thing I knew I was a thousand words in, and I ran out of words–but I know where it needs to go from that opening, and I even know how chapter two is going to play out. I really have this wonderful idea for the continuation of the chapter that I really want to try to do–weaving back story in around action–which is going to be hard to pull off, but I am very excited to try it.
I can’t wait for this weekend to get here so I can seriously work on all of this stuff!
I’ve also had three more ideas for short stories pop up lately–all amorphous, all thoughts simply swirling around inside my head, without form, without fully formed characters, without a cohesive plot or story–but the titles are there: “Malevolence,” “Headshot”, and “One Night at Brandy’s Lounge.” It feels so good to be creative again, you have no idea, Constant Reader; last year was such a barren, fallow experience creatively that, while it’s frustrating in some ways to have so many ideas swirling around inside my head, making it hard for me to focus the way I need to on the stuff that needs to be focused upon, it’s also kind of a blessed relief to know my creativity is still there. It’s also weird, because I’d forgotten that it’s always like this when I am writing a book; my creative ADD kicks in and I am all over the place, and every time I have to re-discipline myself, keep it under control and focus it on the work at hand. I think this is also why I never like my novels very much and am never very satisfied with them; because the entire time i am working on them I want to be working on something else and it feels forced.
WHY DIDN’T I FIGURE THAT OUT THIRTY BOOKS AGO?
At least I’m still capable of learning, which is something.
So, in honor of me learning something, here’s the opening of the first Chanse MacLeod short story EVER, “My Brother’s Keeper”:
It had been twenty-five years but Cottonwood Wells still stank.
I’d forgotten about the smell from the oil refinery just outside of town, near the oil fields where my father had worked. It hung over the town like a shroud, poisonous and foul. When the wind blew from the north the stench was almost unbearable. The trailer park where we lived was on the side of town closest to it so there was no escaping it, but I never got used to it. I tolerated it, like so many other things I tolerated growing up in that town, but I was always aware of it.
There was a Best Western now at the exit from I-10, and a Days Inn across the street. I pulled into the Best Western parking lot because it was easier. I got my briefcase and rolling suitcase from the hatch of my Subaru Forrester. In the distance, on the other side of town, I could see the flaming stacks where they burned off excess gas at the refinery. What used to be fields just on the way into town from the highway was now the enormous parking lot of a sprawling Wal-Mart Super Center, a Lowe’s on the other side. Like everywhere else in America, Cottonwood Wells had fallen victim to the plastic commercialization of the chain stores. There was a Whataburger and a McDonalds on the other side of the highway, and gas stations. I could see the line of fast food signs on the way into town past the Wal-Mart: Burger King, Arbys, KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut. All we’d had when I was a kid was a Sonic Drive-in downtown on the main drag, and a McDonalds.
And now, back to the spice mines.