Sunday, July 4, 2010

For change, I'm writing a novel

I majored in journalism in college. I was trained to be a reporter. Like detective Joe Friday on TV's Dragnet, I wanted "Just the facts, Ma'am."

After college I wrote for a variety of magazines and newspapers, and then worked for advertising agencies, and later wrote books, blogs and websites. While I tried to make my work entertaining as well as informative, it was fact-based.

My recent funny memoir is a notable exception. Stories I'd Tell My Children (but maybe not until they're adults)  promises to be "AT LEAST 80% TRUE."

A couple of chapters in that book -- while inspired by reality -- are largely fiction. In was invigorating not to be constrained by a journalist's respect for the truth and to have as my objective providing laughter, not information.

My current wacky attacker has shown absolutely no respect for the truth, and seems to be having a good time trying to make my life miserable.

In the past, I've had a good time producing creative and believable April Fools' hoaxes.

So... yesterday I started writing the Not-So-Great-American-Novel. Like many novels, it's based on a true story, but I am free to stretch the truth or revise or invent history to make the book more entertaining.

Strangely, although I buy about 150 books per year, I can't think of even one novel I've read since college -- and I was in the class of '68. I enjoy fiction on TV and movie screens, but I've unconsciously reserved book-reading for reality. Reality is interesting, and can be entertaining and highly stimulating.

Now I'm reading my own novel as I write it. I wrote about 40 pages yesterday and I'm loving every minute of it. Maybe I should have tried writing a novel years ago, But maybe the time just wasn't right until yesterday when I answered the call of my muse. Watch out Dickens, Hemingway and Fitzgerald: here I come.

For those of who who have been stuck in a literary genre or any kind of niche: BREAK OUT!

I'm having a ball so far. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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