All of my sure fire, money making schemes-the blog, the website, the wood carving-are coming up dry. So it is time to switch to Plan D: I am writing a novel.
This is classic JerThink. What better time to launch my literary venture than the worst period in the history of publishing when many suggest books are on the verge of extinction?
Hey, ya gotta start sometime.
I don’t have a plot yet, but I do have the first sentence: “The bowling ball whizzed by narrowly missing his nose.” Nose as the named body part felt right from the get-go because I thought proboscis sounded hoity-toity.
I tried many objects, however, before I decided to go with bowling ball. I chose it because it gives me a great deal of flexibility. This could be a science-fiction work about a race of aliens who make a sport of exterminating humans by pegging us with bowling balls; or one of those very popular serial killer detective stories about an embittered pin spotter who turned homicidal after his job got automated in 1956; or one of those disaster epics about a tornado that takes out a sporting goods store.
I even have the title: “Himself.” Once again, since I am sans plot, I am looking for flexibility here. This could be about anything that features a male protagonist; or it could be one of those heart-wrenching memoirs about growing up poor in Ireland (note to reader: I did not grow up poor in Ireland, but faked memoirs are huge these days).
Kathie takes issue with the name. She says that any title that has the “him” word, or any derivative, is going to lose the female dominated book club market. The only exceptions might be “He Sucks” or “Him a Jerk.” Apparently, since the advent of internet pornography, men have abandoned reading altogether.
However, she notes that books containing the words wife or daughter in their title are sure fire hits. She suggests “Himself’s Wife”, the heart-breaking tale of a valiant woman’s efforts to keep her dysfunctional family together despite the worst efforts of her violent, abusive, alcoholic, sniveling, drooling, Irish husband. She says this will not only make Oprah cry, but will get the book club ladies scampering to Barnes & Noble. I like it.
I don’t even have to change my first sentence. The opening scene can take place in a bowling alley where the violent, abusive, etc., father goes ballistic at his sensitive but unathletic son who has just tossed a gutter ball. Hellllllooooo, Oprah!
I may even run teasers and snippets of the tale in these columns as it unfolds.
Don’t expect anything soon, however, because I feel a writer’s block coming on.
You know the symptoms: You sit at the computer determined to crank out 500 words and next thing you know you are prowling used car sites and googling the whereabouts of the kid who stole your lunch money in third grade.
In fact, I think I will check out what a 2003 Subaru is worth these days.