1. Bluesman
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    Bluesman Member

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    Dilemma about first and second novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Bluesman, May 18, 2012.

    Hey now everybody.

    I'm having a little dilemma here.

    Right now I'm almost done with college and I'll be looking for a job soon. My dream and plan for the upcoming two to three years is to live cheap, pay off my college debt and save up a whole bunch of money. After that, I want to go to the USA, buy a car and float around the country for a year and write a book about it. A road-trip book. I'm very serious about this project and I want to pull it off while I'm still young. I did some quick calculations and I know for a fact that it can be done.

    I want to go through a publisher and land a deal before I actually start, so that I'm sure about that part of the whole thing. That's one guarantee I want before I actually get on that plane. I very much realize that this would be pretty much impossible for someone who isn't established yet. Hell, I haven't even released one single thing yet.

    I started working on a novel a couple of years ago. I was in a pretty dark place personally, and I really realize that it reflects on the writing when I read it back now. There's a lot of booze, drugs and womanizing in there and the main character isn't really likable. I got well into it over the years. Every time I got pissed, I used it as a place to blow off steam. There's around 50.000 words in there and for the most part I'm genuinely proud of it. It's good stuff, but it's also dark, crazy and angry. It's also written in the first person, because I identified myself with the character. It's not something I'd share with anyone before I'd be 100% sure it'd go somewhere. People would probably think I'm nuts. I'm not like that anymore at all and my road-trip story will be a whole lot different. It wouldn't be a novel, but non-fiction, either.

    I sometimes have a hard time continuing the novel, because I'm having trouble getting in touch with that part of myself. That part is the alcohol-fueled, self-loathing and reflecting it on the rest of the world-zone, and I worked hard to leave it behind. But I know I can do it, if I would really set my mind to finishing this novel. Anyway, that's a whole different kind of story, I'm wandering off. The point I'm trying to make is that I would imagine this story would be offensive to a ton of people. It completely lacks political correctness and common decency in any form.

    Would it be a bad idea to try to put this out as a first novel, having my plans for the road-trip book in mind? I mean, I'm also writing some sort of prologue to that road-trip story, which I think is turning out pretty good as well. It's a lot less edgy and angry and it has a completely different kind of voice.

    Am I crazy for rationalizing things like this?


    Thanks for reading, I realize it's a long story. Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    Forget the second novel, finish the first (only because you seem to have done quite a bit of work already on the first). You can worry about what to publish first when agents and publishers show interest in your completed manuscript, which I think is a long way away from where you are right now.

    I doubt the possibility of this happening, so you might as well concentrate on completing the first novel.
     
  3. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    "We do not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it." Speaking from personal experience, I have been in your shoes and I can totally relate. I have an entire side of myself few people in my immediate life have seen, and have only heard about. I am not exactly sure how long you have been detatched from this past life, but I know for myself, if I become too far disconnected from what I used to be, and the memories fade, I am in bad shape. Though the feelings are not as strong as they used to be, I try and keep them in mind best I can. If you are looking for ways to bring back some of those old feelings, I would suggest two things. Smell is our memories biggest trigger. Think of the places you felt your lowest, where you might have been at the time, what could have been the strongest smell. Was it a certain bar you frequented? For me, a lot of those moments were when I was alone in my room. The second suggestion would be to warstory a bit with a friend of yours who you are comfortable sharing your past with. Start off with some fun times you DO remember, because you and I both know, for all the bad, there were most definitely some fun times. Delve into a few stories, laugh, make fun of yourself. I am sure it will trigger one memory and then another, and maybe some old feelings will crop up. Write them down. As EAP says, "Should you ever be drowned or hung, be sure and make a note of your sensations--they will be worth to you ten guineas a sheet." Hope this helps, and if you have any further questions, or even want to warstory with someone who has a similar story, message me anytime.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    unless you're world-famous in some field, no publisher is going to cut a deal with you for any book, before you even write it, so give up on that bit of wishful thinking and first concentrate on writing something that'll have some chance of getting published... as for your current wip being offensive, etc., that's not necessarily a fatal condition for a work of fiction, as some bestsellers fit that description to a tee...
     
  5. Bluesman
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    Bluesman Member

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    Well, I was just in a really bad place at some point. Basically it comes down to this: I had a lot of shitty moments in my childhood, which got me depressed later on, so I got wasted and acted like an asshole. There was nothing redeeming about it. I don't think about it much any more and I am happy I'm past it, but I don't deny it. Thanks for the advice and I might take you up on that offer some day.

    Well, that's good to know. I'm actually afraid that if I put something out that's blatantly offensive, that it might make it harder for me to get a job somewhere. First thing companies do before they hire someone, is put their name into Google.
     
  6. Bluesman
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    Bluesman Member

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    Can anyone comment on this one?

    Or am I being paranoid?
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It depends on just how offensive, and whether they can readily associate it with you. A pen name is an option.

    If you pull a Mel Gibson and fly a bigot flag, it can certainly tank your career, whether it's on the big screen or in a multinational corporation.

    Even free speech carries responsibility for what you produce.
     
  8. Bluesman
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    I feel Mel Gibson ruined his career because he personally made a bunch of offensive statements. I would never do that.

    There's no hateful racism in there, but definitely a lot of sex, sexism, boozing, fighting, people getting threatened and yelled at, drunk driving and some drug abuse. The main character is basically a lost guy that gets wasted and acts like a major asshole to everyone. The character is pretty much on the same kind of level as Bukowski's Chinaski, or the character Hank from the TV-show Californication. Mix some George Carlin and Howard Stern in there with it and you get the idea.

    It is a work of fiction, not a true story. Of course there's parts of myself in there, but the majority of it is way worse than I've ever done.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    then take the safest course and use a pen name...
     

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