Saturday, May 13, 2023

Discovery Write; Dystopian / Utopian; Session Two - Outside The Box


If you read my discovery write blogpost a couple of weeks ago, I daydreamed about how great life would be if I were married to Elmore Leonard. Seeing only positives and no negatives I recently sought, found and befriended his ghost.

Here's why:

Time out - hold the phone. I think I've broken rule two in Elmore's Ten rules of writing; nix the prologues. Does that sound like a prologue? That sounds like a prologue to me. But it needs to be there. And no one reads my blog. Especially not the ghost of a great writer. Besides I sent him on a quest (more about that later) and he's busy. I'm going to leave it in - for now anyway.

After enjoying several conversations with the ghost of Elmore Leonard, (from now on I'm going to refer to him as ELG) he and I struck a bargain. He will mentor me as I write a novel that is futuristic but neither dystopian nor utopian. (Will discuss what ELG bargained for soon.)

He is intrigued by what life will be like after the climate changes and the surface of the Earth is mostly seawater. He gets the concept of collective cognitive consonance and how it is important that we put something out there that is not negative battle porn or positive sickly sweet. 

That's not entirely true. As evidenced by the television series Justified - he is okay with guns and battles but he empathizes with how earnestly I do not want to live in a Mad Max type world. And he is keen to know how I will get rid of weapons, especially guns. He's kind of a jerk because he doesn't think I can do it without violating his rule nine regarding avoiding tedious detail describing things or places.

Studying his Wikipedia page, Elmore and I have been living parallel lives. Well, except that he was born thirty two years before me. And he has one son whereas I have two daughters. And he is a successful novelist and I am not. Okay - the only thing we really have in common is we were both married and divorced three times. I feel you Elmore.

The thing I love ELG the most for is - he says you should leave out the part readers don't read. I don't read technical shit. If someone is exploring under water, I don't need three pages about the tanks on her back - I flip past those pages because obviously - she is breathing somehow and I don't need to know how. AND I KNOW I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO READS LIKE THIS. (Except, of course for readers who love competence porn - more about those weirdos later.)

That rule is the reason for the quest ELG is on. He is haunting Diana Gabaldon for me. Someone needs to convince her that she needs a REAL editor. Those of us who want the story of Jamie and Claire are tired of sifting through 800 pages for the 400 pages that are actually related to the story. Everything else can be subject for the college classes she teaches. 

When my grandson Jayden was around age ten he asked me why I told stories instead of just answering a question. That is the first time I realized I was a storyteller.

One of the stories I've told several times before is an urban legend about a man with a hook for a hand. A teenage couple parks their car in lover's lane and proceeds to make out. They have the radio on and the music is interrupted by breaking news about an escapee from an insane asylum nearby. The escapee has a hook for a hand and is considered dangerous.

They get scared and he drives her home. When she gets out of the car she starts screaming because there is a hook hand hanging from the door handle of the car. 

An effective story even though I didn't give you details about the car, or the hook or what time it was or what the boy or girl looked like. And I didn't say the words - his hook had come off when he was trying to get in the car. 

About those readers who love competence porn. I'm sure you have a list of writers who make your heart beat faster with their endless details about how to be a beekeeper or what defines a ship vs a boat or how barbed wire was invented. I'm happy for you. And your authors. I'm told Dick Francis does a good job writing competence porn.

For me, I'm going to stick to the skipping thing. Life is too short to write long passages that no one is going to read.


Kongos - Come With Me Now

Imagine Dragons – Radioactive

Mogli - Road Holes

Indigo Girls - Closer To Fine

First Aid Kit – Wolf

Cat Stevens - Where Will the Children Play 

Rusted Root - Ecstasy

Rusted Root - Send Me On My Way

Beck - Loser

Down By the Sea - Men At Work

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