It's November, which among my writer friends means it's National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo)! I'll be participating this year - if any of my readers will also be participating, feel free to "buddy" me, username is smlocatelli. I've been writing all my life, but novel writing is something I only got into very recently (as in, the last 5 years or so). Instead, I spent the first part of my life as a playwright. I've written several one acts, a couple of two act plays, and have copious notes for a three act play. I also started writing a musical once, but didn't get as far. So my struggle when I write novels and stories is that I have a lot of dialogue, with minimal commentary about the scene and actions, just as you would see in a play (dialogue and the occasional stage direction or author's note).
I've been thinking recently about stories and what we find believable. And of course, as many have said, if 2016 were a story instead of reality, no one would believe it. So in honor of a month of writing, and as an homage to my previous life as a playwright, here's a scene of a young hopeful author proposing the novel of 2016 to his agent.
Agent: All right, kid, I hear you have a new novel idea.
Author: Oh, yeah, you're going to love it. It's a story of death, political scandals, but at the end, hope.
Agent: I like the sound of that. I mean, you haven't written anything in a while. Your public, they want something new.
Author: Don't worry, this is going to be my best novel yet.
Agent: Okay, tell me more.
Author: Well, first, David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, they all die. And -
Agent: Wait, what?
Author: Bowie, Prince, Rickman, gone. So -
Agent: But... Are they all in a car together? Did they crash in an airplane? I mean, how are they all dead at the same time?
Author: Ha, oh, they don't all die at the same time.
Author: Rickman and Bowie in January, and Prince in April.
Agent: So Rickman and Bowie are in a car together?
Author: No, there's no car. Will you stop it with the car? They just die around the same time. By coincidence.
Agent: ... okay... You know, we'll work on that part. Tell me what happens next.
Author: Right, so Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are running against each other for president -
Agent: Hold on, hold on. Trump? The guy from the Apprentice?
Agent: Is he, like, a third party candidate?
Author: No, he's the Republican nominee.
Agent: Hmm... I mean, I don't want to belittle the excellent work you've put into your story. I just, I mean, the idea is so far-fetched. Why would he run for president?
Author: I don't know. I guess he just likes seeing himself on TV.
Agent: He needs some motivation. That part needs a little more work. Maybe if you -
Author: Oh no, it's great. Trump kind of says whatever the hell he wants and people still like him. He'll even say something and then two days later, deny he said it. Like when he talks about grabbing women. Oh, and he wants to build a huge wall on the Mexican border, and make Mexico pay for it.
Agent: Why would Mexico pay for it?... Never mind. Listen -
Author: No, it'll be great. He's been a really interesting character to write. I just can't figure out how to fit in the scenes with his BFF Putin.
Agent: [Sigh] Putin? So he lies, he's friends with Putin. Maybe we can make that angle work. You know, make that his motivation. Anything else?
Author: Oh, lots of scandals, really. But everyone is all up in arms about Hillary Clinton's email server.
Agent: Wait, you have a guy with ties to Russia, who grabs women, who thinks he'll make Mexico pay for an enormous wall, and people are freaking out about an email server? Kid, I think you should maybe revisit some of this.
Author: Oh, but I haven't even gotten to the best part. At the end, hope.
Agent: ... Okay...
Author: Cubs v. Indians World Series.
Agent: ... Get out of my office.
Author: But -
Agent: Out! Now! And don't come back until you give me something real!