Ktismatics

23 November 2011

That Book is DONE, Bitches!

Filed under: Fiction, Reflections — ktismatics @ 3:26 pm

For months I’d been hoping to finish writing the first draft by tomorrow. Then I couldn’t quite get started, and then the writing was going slowly, and gradually I resigned myself not to finishing on time. But wait! About two weeks ago I began realizing that what I’d been thinking was the first half or first third of a fairly long novel was turning into a self-contained shorter book, with a tight story and an ending well in view. So I did a last push and voilá, this afternoon it’s done, a day ahead of schedule. Sure there’s editing to be done, but at the end of the day I kicked that book’s ASS!

Is it a short novel or a novella? I don’t give a damn what you call it, just call it DONE! Here’s the last sentence:

As he followed the hostess across the square a courier walked up to him, asked him to sign, and handed him the little white box with the gold ribbon.

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16 Comments »

  1. Congratulations!

    Like

    Comment by Center of Parody — 23 November 2011 @ 4:03 pm

  2. Very cool. I’ve had that happen once, I think. It was probably when all of a sudden I realized that the Crebillon was finished, even though I never thought of it that way again, and started working on it again as if I’d forgotten that I’d ‘finished it’. That’s not what happened to you, of course, and yours would be readable. With the Crebillon back in the mid to late 80s, I never could bear to get it into legible and presentable form. Work with the content endlessly, it seemed, even write more songs in 2007, but make it into a mailable package, no, I never could. In recent years, with the cine-musique work, this didn’t happen quite this way even again, in fact IDNYC lengthened, due to the fact that it lengthens inherently (I see now with the bleug it does that, since the parts that were unexpectedly added to the online events in 2009 and offline ones in 2010 and 2011 were organically needed, although the book itself feels finished–it’s the warped bleug narrative stuff that I keep automatically ‘straightening out’.)

    So I’ve had the experience of something that was envisioned as much longer all of a sudden collapse with a couple of pages into the finished piece, or rather, it felt like that. Your last line sounds good, but we won’t get the full force of it till we’ve read the whole thing and see where it came from, obviously. I’m looking forward to reading this one. I’ll get way beyond the title this time.

    Congratulations, though. It brought a kind of euphoria with it, I see. Interesting that you set schedules for finishing your works. That’s something I’ve never done on my own, or if I have, I haven’t ever been able to stick to them (maybe that’s why I don’t even remember if I ever did.)

    So it’s like you only discovered the form when you finished it. I do know that feeling, and it’s a good one.

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    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 23 November 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  3. I don’t ordinarily set time goals for writing, and it didn’t seem particularly motivating. It’s what one has to do if writing under contract, and as a consultant I wrote reports on a schedule and it worked out fine. Fiction writing demands a very different mindset, almost resistant to constraints of that sort. Maybe people who have agents or editors leaning on them to produce learn to do so, but I suspect it affects not just the process but also the content of what gets written. I’m still interested in writing the other half of what I’d originally pictured, but there will be a big break in timeline and in structure so I think of it now as a separate book. Like you though, I’ve rebundled segments of text some time after having done the writing, so we’ll see. Still, I’m uncorking the champagne.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 23 November 2011 @ 5:44 pm

  4. Speaking of time limits, Kenzie has been writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month. She’s already hit the 50,000 word target, all of it written this month, but she thinks it’s going to take 60K to finish the story. This is the third year she’s written a whole novel within this incredibly tight timeline. I started before November, but I finished mine before she finished hers, so I win!

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 23 November 2011 @ 5:53 pm

  5. Thanks for the congrats, CofP.

    The last sentence of this book refers to a courier delivering a package. This seemingly routine transaction reprises, and in effect fetishizes, some events from my prior book in which parcel delivery proved a pivotal plot point (lots of “p”s there). Recently I watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and in it too the ritualized delivery of packages is a key plot point and clue.

    From an objectology POV I suppose we could interpret the unopened parcel as the withdrawn essence of the object, while the unidentified sender of parcels is the withdrawn god who presides over the realm of withdrawn essences. The detective story genre is about finding the hidden package, opening it, tracking down the sender, demystifying the withdrawn essence. Often though there proves to be something else hidden, something the detective wasn’t even looking for, some paranoiac withdrawn reality in which all the other mysteries are embedded and over which the still-secret gods preside, a reality in which even the detective is a pawn. Forget it Jake — it’s Chinatown. These stories emphasize the financial transactions: the private detective who can barely rub two nickels together, the rich client, the scheme that usually involves money — robbery, extortion. So presumably the prototypical detective story metaphorically invokes a critique of capitalism, where the withdrawn fetish value of the objects accumulates in the secret accounts of the withdrawn capitalists.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 25 November 2011 @ 10:53 am

  6. “something the detective wasn’t even looking for, some paranoiac withdrawn reality in which all the other mysteries are embedded and over which the still-secret gods preside, ”

    Yes, and one of the most humourous things about the Chandler novels (maybe all of them, in fact) is that they start with someone (usually a ‘cherchez la femme’ type) who comes in and tells Marlowe a whole series of lies. I hadn’t thought of how funny this is until looking back now that you say that.

    “where the withdrawn fetish value of the objects accumulates in the secret accounts of the withdrawn capitalists.”

    Oh yes, exactly. And Chandler’s (and even Ellroy’s) are often from Bel Air mansions. Chandler, especially, is rarely involved with the Hollywood ‘Industry’, which is also interesting. The Hollywood subculture, yes, the hustlers and wannabes are sometimes there, but he seems to be attracted to the ‘old-money Los Angeles’, which is, in fact, a bit older than Hollywood (Chandlers, Otises, etc.) Do you remember the starlet Terry Moore who proved she really had been married to Howard Hughes and got really big millions around 1984, and immediately did a big Playboy spread at the age of 50, which was so stunning I got stoned and stared at how impossibly beautiful she still was. What is even more incredible is that she is STILL so beautiful at age 80 now. She was nominated for an Oscar as the sexy lodger with Shirley Booth and Burt Lancaster in ‘Come Back, Little Sheba’, and is a sublime nympho in the first ‘Peyton Place’ movie (it’s incredibly funny to hear Lana’s lines to her daughter, played by Diane Varsi) about how this ‘Betty Anderson’ (Moore’s character) was really someone she should stay away from, because, well, all she thinks about is SEX! especially since that was filmed in the very heat of Lana’s romance with house-arrested stud Stompanato. I can easily see Terry deciding whimsically one day that going to a private detective but be a fun simulacrum for her to act out ‘in real life’ some somnolent day. The challenge would be to ‘keep withdrawn’ her still-well-known (at least in LA) identity without losing her temper if someone (quite understandably) didn’t think she exactly had the Scarlet Johanssen posters out all over the place.

    So yes, I think the ‘withdrawn capitalists’ are especially well-drawn in Chandler, and your pointing this out is different from those who demand an ideological reading of old artworks: They may be even more withdrawn now with technology so effective in doing it, and the consequent bullying by Wall Street of the Federal Govt. even, but it was always there, and it’s not ‘reading something into it’. They go into Marlowe’s office in a hysteria, and part of this hysteria’s enjoyment is to treat Chandler like shit, to treat him like they, in less panicked make-up moments, ‘confide’ in their pansey hairdressers, and he knows they’re up to something, but not exactly what. All he knows is that at some point, they won’t get away with giving him the ‘hairdresser role’, which would mean supporting them like an asshole even after betrayal, as if a diva or something.

    I thought the last long volley at CPC (first in a long time) was very pointed, very sticky and dangerous, one of the most challenging ever seen. All of the stops were pulled out just short of giving it all away, and sentimentalities ‘were exchanged’ solemnly, with new attempts to make the trollery interesting (these were successful, strangely, but required no response). Dejan admitted fully to what I had accused him of after ‘lafayette’ talked about the ‘pay dirty’ he got on the thread, saying that indeed this vomit-linoleum is what he wanted for the ‘whorehouses’, allowing me therefore to second my differing with this particular enjoyment, and allowing ‘lafayette’ to say something so specific to me it was blurbable, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. But the reason the ‘trolling babble’ was interesting this time was because the ‘lafayette’ wrote it out well despite the fact that the ‘game was pretty much up’ at this point, and wrote it so well that the sacrifices he had to make (nobody believes ‘Anonymous’ and ‘Fruitcake’ and others don’t have some connection), viz., giving credit to the sublime joke about #OccupyHaitianStockExchange to another troll, while still claiming his troll’s identity was a full identity, and that ‘DEJAN’S A GOOD CUNT’. Well, to a certain degree, and he was definitely playing up his virtue (or was it ‘withdrawn malice’) when going after someone’s HATE and ‘false rebellion’.

    I think I will make a thread for him to write in the ‘LIVING INSIDE MOVIES’ series, which I want to vary into posts with types of this as well as posts about movies that caused different reaction in me in real life, as have the two I’ve written about thus far, and there will probably be another one on ‘Chinatown’. Dejan watches IE, MD, Melancholia, Antichrist, many times as a part of his film professionalism, although there are not many actors or directors who watch their own films over and over like that after they’re completed. But neither is it like the phenomena of people going to see scores of times a single film–I believe this noticeably started with ‘Sound of Music’ and then became a big thing with ‘Star Wars’. As I wrote on the Second Part of the series, I don’t like the sensation of finally feeling like the movie is ‘actually going on now’ that I got during the first part of this film, but that doesn’t also happen with all many-times-watched films.

    Definitely sounds like you’ve got a nicely-crafted piece turned out.

    Like

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 25 November 2011 @ 1:54 pm

  7. I guess Moore’s age would be closer to 78 or so than 80, if she really was exactly 50 at the time of that 1984 Playboy shoot.

    Like

    Comment by illegal dances of new york city — 25 November 2011 @ 1:56 pm

  8. Like

    Comment by W.Kasper — 26 November 2011 @ 3:22 am

  9. Thanks W. Cliff Richard — wasn’t he known as the Johnny Hallyday of England? In America he was a one-hit wonder with Devil Woman (“she’s gonna get you from behind”?), which is one more than Johnny. I wonder if he always hopped up and down on stage like that, or if this particular number just made him have to pee really badly.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 26 November 2011 @ 8:00 am

  10. He’s had a no. 1 UK hit for six decades. He’s a knighted superstar here! Our most famous born-again Christian* who partied with Tony Blair. He started out as a very poor man’s Elvis, and ended up a national institution for Grandmas of all ages.

    But anyway – congratulations.

    (*There’s a funny rumour why he became so – and I’ve had some confirmation from ‘witnesses’ – but for legal reasons, I won’t mention it here.)

    Like

    Comment by W.Kasper — 26 November 2011 @ 8:13 am

  11. I must invite Eloise for coffee so we can listen to some of his records.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 26 November 2011 @ 9:24 am

  12. Daughter K finished her novel two days ago: 70,600 words in 25 days. The title is This Sterile Bloody Promontory, a quotation from Hamlet’s Act 2 soliloquy modified as appropriate for a vampire story. This is the soliloquy that Withnail delivered to the wolves at the end of one of K’s favorite movies.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 27 November 2011 @ 1:34 pm

  13. This Sterile Bloody Promontory – great title! Reminds of the kind of titles pre-cyberpunk sci-fi authors would use. Bit of renaissance pomp to draw you in. More mystique than ‘The Robot That Went Nuts’ or something.

    That soliloquy’s pretty gut-wrenching in Withnail though. I always took it to mean he’s effectively ‘died’ with the end of the friendship. Not so much mourning Marwood’s departure as his own – no more audience, no real existence to speak of.

    Like

    Comment by W.Kasper — 27 November 2011 @ 5:37 pm

  14. I’ve not read any of the book yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it features a vampiric Withnailian angst muffin lamenting his own undead status. The author has informed me that the story includes a lot of talking and “moping” that leads up to a big bloodbath finale. I’m looking forward to it.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 27 November 2011 @ 5:53 pm

  15. “a lot of talking and “moping” that leads up to a big bloodbath finale”

    Option the movie rights. Sounds like a hit to me!

    Like

    Comment by W.Kasper — 27 November 2011 @ 7:57 pm

  16. The author has further clarified that no one in her book is sad about being a vampire.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 27 November 2011 @ 8:34 pm


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