Development notes

19 Dec

Development notes:

Currently read: Invitation to a beheading and Lolita by Nabakov. Masters of Doom by Jared Kushner.

Currently reading: The Eye by Nabakov

Is your next project connected to any other of your novels?

No, this project has only one reference to a previous novel, The Data Chase, which references one video game studio, Malpractice Studios, which is the main character’s video game company, which was more of a business type of thriller, which I didn’t want to do. I wanted to do a novel where you are getting to know the people who work behind the screens, and are making a game where they don’t know what they are making. A plot was there before, but it still sounded like a thriller. This had to be the opposite of a thriller. The people who write thrillers all the time must get bored, because, after a while, everyone will try and refer it to something else. It’s fine, but what we wanted to do is find something that might potentially bore people but fascinate them at the same time. It meant talking about everything else instead of the plot. It’s hard to find a plot, but a plot that has been already used is still the same, and what happens is that the writer is just repeating the same thing to no end. I find that while my writing is difficult, the simplicity of following a group of characters that don’t have a single idea of what they are making. Video games are rather basic writing, but the plot, if there is one, is about a game that no one knows that they are making, but it continues to evolve on its own, and the makers are finding their own meanings in it. If that’s the plot, it’s a rather threadbare one.

What do you hope to achieve by writing a book that has little to no plot?

Plot is not bad. Sometimes it’s not needed. Sometimes the best books are about people that don’t know what they are doing. Art is simply that. Writing is essentially the most complicated passion, which only gets easier when one continues to write. But sometimes plot can prohibit the language from speaking to the reader. A voice is what readers look for, and plot for everything seems silly. I just wish they would use fewer plots in novels because if that’s the intent, the reader is into it. This is a novel about first world problems. Third world problems make a faster thriller, but first world problems are what continues to make people laugh, but take it seriously in the context of the story. What happens is the reader must become apart of the characters lives and know that there is no plot to it, and plot is for people who have rather untidy lives. They want to be told that everything is okay, and sometimes, I’m not going to say that. Don Delilo said that too. The best writers tell you it’s a bad world out there. Plot is sometimes letting the reader know you are respecting them, but the story is like connecting stars and identifying stars, but sometimes, the best stories are the stars they make for themselves. Nabakov uses plots very deceptively, and subtlety. Lolita is a very subtle book that doesn’t allow one spark of rage to follow until the last half of the book. And Humbert doesn’t seem like a pervert but misunderstood. It doesn’t sound like there should be no sympathy for a child molester, but as a man who has dated young girls of 21, there are intricacies that Nabakov just understood about young girls. What allows the reader to empathize is to understand become the character as well. Plot was important to me as a young man, but I know where I’m going now, and the reader can infer from the sentences, and read into them for deeper meaning.

What’s your process?

My process is one of a philosopher who writes novels. Camus said if you want to be a philosopher, be a novelist. It has stuck with me and that’s why I write, and it’s not to fill a genre because a genre is a classification, not a way of writing. It’s where booksellers put the book. Sometimes writers have fallen into the pitfalls of a genre and all the traps that come with it. Sometimes if a mystery is really terse, and the character says too many cliches’s, it’s become a genre book. If a mystery book has sentences and it’s building the world and it’s describing into immense detail the way the room is lit, and someone can see beyond the murder, and empathize with the victim and oppressor, without being a cliche, can achieve a perfect balance of creating sentences and call itself a genuine piece of art. But it’s easy to create cliche’s than make works of art. It’s easier to not give backstory and just run in a direction that’s easier for people to follow. But making art is sometimes playing against the expectation of genre and the audience expectation of a novel. Novel means new, and you have to create something new, unless it’s broken into a series. Most of my books are one single book, but they have been broken into parts, which I never agreed with, personally. If the publisher is offering more money to be broken up, but to just be broken for the reader’s sake is not what writers think about. I mostly think about the sentences and what a writer has to achieve by losing friends who won’t call them back. It’s always for the best if people never call you. You have all the time in the world to write.

Do you distrust people?

My priest told me that you shouldn’t expect much from people. It’s weird to hear that from a priest, but it’s the best advice that you could ever give someone. You won’t be disappointed and bitter towards them if they don’t always call you back. Sometimes they have ten times more mental health issues than you, and just need to be alone. Sometimes they are dealing with gender identity and relationship issues such as co-dependency, or sexual addictions, but people won’t tell you this in life. They think they can handle it on their own, and that’s when they commit suicide. People are complicated, but I wish people could just have told me that “I’m dealing with some things, I need to be alone,” because I’m not a mind reader. I’m pretty smart, and perceptive, now, but in your 20’s, you miss out on a lot. But being a writer all through my life, I have had to figure it out with the best way an artist can, is through art. You can’t expect much out of people, and their limits can only hold but for so long. I hold no resentment or ill feelings toward them because sometimes, you just have to look out for yourself. Find a woman or man, and just pour everything into them. For virgin men, gay or straight, lose your virginity to a prostitute, which will help you out tremendously. The pain won’t feel so bad. Pain can sometimes blind people from appreciating each other, and selfishness is just another reason why most people have no friends. For a writer, they can feed off loneliness, the best ones can. As William Burroughs said, “If you can’t handle being alone in a room with a typewriter, find another profession.” Writing is hard profession. It’s an act of knowing who you are and redefining your goals with each book. Apocalypse Soldier took seven years to write, and a lot of it made me really want to cringe, but it was an exorcism, but the best stories are exorcisms from a writer’s soul. What happens is what most artists experience is turning over in the grave without actually dying, and you think, did I just write this, and a big shit eating grin should be on your face. Then you can start the next book.

Should books be long or short?

If it’s long or short shouldn’t concern the writer, but a long book can be fun too. It’s breaking protocol. It’s a bad ass way to live a life of letters. It’s an experience that should always be interpreted multiplied, and never petitioned by politicians.

Do you have any misgivings writing a book?

Fuck. No.

You don’t ever worry about people misinterpreting your work?

Fuck. No.

What should people know about your work?

I have been writing since I was sixteen, and what I have learned is that after many years of writing is that you can’t expect the writing to stay the same forever. Through years of practice, you will get better. I have written so much that people will know that it falls into two categories. The earliest stuff will be commercial and using more quotations. The later period will always have more sentences, and fewer quotations. Sometimes like “To the Moon and Back” has a little bit of both, because I had to use a system that most readers would know. The regular reader needed quotations, but it wasn’t a demotion to use it. I wrote To the Moon and Back and am still proud of it. I would rather write a book that felt dangerous rather than safe. Writing against type and genre and story is what I live for. Offending the status quo, on both political avenues, is where most writers should live.

Do you hate your enemies?

My enemies are dead or are living normal lives, while I have tasted the wine of excess and continue to taste shotgun powder and return it with two barrels in their face. I have little to say to them because my time is more important to recognize them. But what makes it even better is that winners know how to win. By not following the rules, and playing against type and genre and story, and you will be complete and happy.

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