Friday, October 31, 2003

So- I joined this crazy group of people who all sign up for the thrill of writing a 50,000 word novel in one month. Starts midnight, Nov 1, ends at midnight, Nov. 30. Whoever posts their novel first is the "winner". You don't really win anything, except maybe the ability to put "2003 NaNoWriMo Winner" in your handle's signature for when you post in the forums where NaNoWriMos hang out.

NaNoWriMo for you lou-hou-hou-sers who aren't in the know, means National Novel Writing Month. Check out the scene. Its where all the hipsters are in November.

At first I thought that I had to be one of the only people who joined this crazy thing. I was in with the in-crowd baby. Those of us who read books instead of learning how to play baseball. We dreamed about being on Charlie Rose, not David Letterman, we watched Masterpiece Theater because we had already read the book. We were in the drama club in high school, we wore black in college and talked about the irony of cliches in popular american culture, we actually read all of our assignments, all had terrible memories of middle school, and were all dreaming about the that goal of all goals, the Pulitzer Prize and tenure for life at a minor Ivy in New England. You get the picture.

But, lately I've been doing a lot of blog surfing, and I have happened to notice, along with the outrageous number of blogs out there, that a lot of other people joined my special club! I am a little disappointed. To be popular is to be in the minority.

However, I do understand the appeal of it all. Even the guys who thought this crazy scheme up understand that in 30 days, averaging at the very least 1600 words a day in order to reach 50K words, is not going to produce anything even close to quality. By the end of the month, you just might have yourself a real life novel, but its going to be a shitty novel, a freaking terrible novel. However, the glory of it all is that, forever after, the rest of your life, you can actually say, "I remember when I was writing my first novel blah blah blah."

In fact, I am already enjoying the ability to say things like "well, I think I have a plot, and some characters in mind, but I am a little worried about the direction my novel will take" or "Jeez, maybe I should go home early from this Halloween party and start working on my novel!"

But am I hipster now? No.

If you spend any time in the forums, like me, especially when you are supposed to be working, also like me, you'll quickly come to realize (again, like me) just how un-hip these people are. And how un-hip you are too, because its not like their speaking some kind of foreign geekish no one else can get. Oh no, she said with a shudder, the terrible part is undertanding EVERYTHING that is being said.

I get it when the sci fi and fantasy geeks are exictedly posting new and extreme dares, like "make an elvish community that is really ugly!" or "a Sword of Power that only gives papercuts, and a Hero that falls on his ass and dies, right in front of the Evil Mage!"

I get it when people ask what kind of Horror you are going to write, because you know that there really are many many different kind of horror. Its not just evil my friends, its Evil that is Undead, Evil that is Technological in Nature, Evil from Another Planet, Modern Day Evil, Historical Evil, Historical Fictional Evil, Good Undead vs. Evil Undead and their Stupid Human Pets, Good Undead that Frees the Stupid Human Pets from the Evil Undead, etc etc etc.

To top it off, all of these genres are not loosely based on what kind of monster I have, whether my magician uses natural powers (eg, the Force) versus Spells, Enchantments, and Magic Wands, or if my MC's (main character, natch) family was born in the dirty South or the poor mining towns of the Midwest. No, no, no- these genres have RULES.

For example:
The difference between Anne Rice and 'Blade' is not that Wesley Snipes is one bad-ass motherfucka-- au contrare, its entire worlds, cultures, ways of living and acting and knowing that are BUILT IN to the choice of Wimpy Aristocratic Vampire vs. Urban Kung-fu Vampire.

Blade can only ever beat back the other undead- but he will never win. Not really. There will always be a sequel. I'm really really sorry if you thought it was over.

Lestat, on the other hand, cannot use any kind of martial art. Maybe he can move around faster than you can see him, but inside, he is a big namby-pamby and we all know it.

It goes on and on. And I'm not just talking about sterotypical, super cliched plot lines here.

Any of you who thought it was super awesome and amazing to have a black actor play a Vampire-Hero are sadly misled. Think about it for awhile. Blade has to be black. He has to be urban, gritty, a half-man of few words. He has to know kung fu. He has to have a sword AND a gun. His mom died giving birth to him for chrissake, and then she was a vampure seductruess!! If he had a lacey shirt on and pranced around trying to get Brad Pitt to swoon over him, you would have vomited on yourself in the theater. Its unnatural.

If Anne Rice had a vampire-ninja with a chrome and steel sword, matching gun, bullets, and accessories a la Blade, the entire gothic community would have her head.

Thats not a bad idea

I digress.

Not convinced? Another example? I submit to you than John Irving is the Norman Rockwell of words.
Vonnegut is science fiction.
Stephen King was recruited by the National Book Club to write horror simply based on his looks.
Sedaris could have easily written 'Candide' and while noting that Blade is a movie character, not orginally spawned in a novel- I will answer back with THE FACT THAT WINONA RYDER IS NOTHING MORE THAN A REAL LIFE ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Drugs, stolen things, and all.

In the end, I am sort of disallusioned, already, with writing a novel. Mind you- I haven't even started writing the novel. But, at least it will something to do during the work week.