Why am I writing the Cush & Jack novel? It is not a dystopian like Mad Max world or a utopian like xtian notions of heaven. It is meant to be something in between. A world that I could live in if the glaciers melt and Earth 2.0 Differently Habitable becomes a reality.
I think collective cognitive consonance is being bombarded with Hunger Games, Mad Max, battle porn style books (and movies) that paint a picture of a world I don’t want to live in. I don’t want those harsh unkind worlds to become reality.
I started this novel because I wanted to put a world I can tolerate and even enjoy into collective cognitive consonance.
The world is largely underwater. There are tiny islands formed where forested mountains once stood. Those islands are inhabited by women. Men have chosen to live on ships on the water.
My daughters and their families, along with hundreds of others, left to colonize a different planet. I was unable to join them due to physical reasons.
My little world is an island with beehives and hydroponics and a tree house where I live.
I have what, for me, would be the perfect relationship. A male companion who has his own life but spends time in mine also.
I am a storyteller in the new world because books are not feasible (yet). At the same time I am recreating my own story. Each new day washes away the old ways and stories and puts new kinder ways in their place.
I don’t want conflict to come from the old sources. All humans will treat each other with respect and kindness. Valuable lessons have been learned and outdated concepts like greed died out with the polar ice caps.
Conflict will need to come as humans finding ways to fit into Earth 2.0 with sustainability.
I have studied Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules of writing. Particularly these:
8Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
10Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
My most important rule is one that sums up the 10;
If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
This is why I took this novel out of Tuesday night critique. There is a narrow box that group writes in and it doesn’t include these rules. They want to push me back into that box. I can’t write this story there.
I’m not going to give detailed descriptions of every character who appears in the story. I wouldn’t read that.
I’m not going to describe every detail of every place the book takes us. I don’t read pages of setting detail.
I am going to leave out the parts that readers skip. For example: Cush is underwater going through her old house. I’m not going to do three pages explaining how she is breathing underwater. I mention the rope tied to her waist and I mention tanks being heavy. If you want more than that – look it up.
I don’t read pages and pages of technical stuff that doesn’t move the story along. If you want competence porn I am told Dick Francis does it really well.
Lastly – I am not going to dumb this book down. When I read if I encounter a word I don’t know, I do one of two things; 1 I assign it the most obvious meaning when taken in context and look it up later – or – if I am in a certain mood 2 I react with delight and look it up immediately.
I started this written exercise to decide if I wanted to walk away from this novel or try harder.
I resolve to continue and try harder.