Wednesday, June 8, 2011

If You're a Masochist in Need of a Fix, Try Writing a Novel

Yeah, so what...I've been away for a while. I never expected this blog thing to get off the ground anyhow. Yet I still keep what can only be labeled a masochistic act designed to end in failure.

To whit: I've had a literary novel in my head and on my hard drive yearning for attention now over 10 years.

Too bad.

Because I got an idea for a novel, pure pulp fiction, no less, in a genre I love: the mystery/crime thriller that borders on horror. (I consider I Saw the Devil, a Korean flick, the penultimate film in this particular genre. But trust me, if you're sensitive in mind or stomach, avoid watching it at all costs; you've been warned.) In my opinion and since the novel is writing itself (even as I write this blog thoughts are coming to me left and right), this project should be easy.

Here's the problem: I keep re-reading and revising it and thinking, "This is total crap."

And by "total crap" I don't mean pulp fiction that sells millions of copies, all John Grisham like (a fellow who happens to hail from my home state, BTW). I mean "total crap" as in "I might as well join the Fulker County Writers' Society" (FCWS). (The name has been changed to protect the not so innocent).

Of course, if you're not from around here, you have no idea what the FCWS is all about. So let me clarify: if you write sentimental rhyming poetry, you might be a red...*cough*...a member of the FCWS. (A nod to Jeff Foxworthy for providing the lead in to that lame joke).

So I'm writing this stupid pulp fiction novel and beating myself up because it's not good enough. As far as this kind of writing is concerned, I'm thinking, "Plot and characters are your only concern. Don't sweat the cliches; they're short cuts the typical reader needs." But damn it, I want every sentence to be awesome in the way that my friend Kevin Brockmeier's sentences are awesome.

In other words, I secretly want this thing to be literary. Well, not so secretly anymore.

So I go back to baseball, which I'm pretty sure is the metaphorical cipher of the universe. There will always be minor leagues comprised of those players who want to make it into the big leagues and those who just love the game. So maybe I should just accept that I'm a minor leaguer with a passion for the game and keep on batting because, really, I've got nothing to lose, right?