Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Line 21: An Intro To An Alternate Reality

Since I decided to do a series of posts dedicated to bad writing (mostly mine), I thought I would intertwine that series of bad with a series dedicated to good writing (also mine). Specifically, my current book project (Line 21) and my current long story project (Dandelion Tears). The reasons as to why are quite simple: One, I want to bring everyone up to speed on what I've been doing with my writing; Two, I want to give everyone a in-depth look at my thought process as it applies to both projects, from beginning to end with the book, and from beginning to present with the long story; Three, it will give me a chance to use my new junk blog for show and tell.

Today's post with start off with my current book project, Line 21. The latest update of the book is that I'm waiting for it come back from a writer friend who was gracious enough to take the time to give it a good read through and offer the unvarnished truth about it for me.

Gloom, despair, agony on me. Deep dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren't for bad luck, I have no luck at all. Gloom, despair, agony on me.

Once I get that back, I'll start round two of editing, tweaking, pruning and making more pliable this fascinating story about a woman....ummm.....a woman....hmmm....

If you've read the link to either refresh your memory of what Line 21 is all about or to find out for the first time what the hell I'm talking about (what am I talking about?), then I won't bore with the details on how this story came to me, and instead will bore you with some details on how I decided to write it.

After I settled on the premise (woman in debt to a loan shark) and the solution (adult movies), the thorny problem on how to write both parts rose to the surface and started nipping at me with its tentacles. I didn't want to write it from a point of view that showed basic violence, rampant sex, and other kinds of fictionalized misery that most people associate with loan sharking and pornography, because while that might a way for some people to write it (crime style I suppose would be the way go), it certainly wouldn't be for me.

For those of you who might be surprised at this, especially if you were a regular reader of FSG, I do have a sentimentality that borders on poignancy with my writing. I don't try to go overboard with the emotions but I do try to mix that with sincerity and warmth.

What I wanted to do was to humanize this story. That is, try to write it from a real world perspective, not a hyped up fictionalized perspective. So I made the loan shark a member of her immediate family and gave her what unfortunately has turned out to be a very real problem with about 9% of the population today: long term unemployment.

Now, even though I make just a passing mention (about one long paragraph) in the excerpt that you'll be reading, I decided to introduce a sci-fi element into the story, which was a symbiont. The reason for this was a no-brainer: I needed to update a very tired and partially cliched story element. I originally had Jeannie talking to her sub-conscious via a mirror, and in fact, I was planning on doing this for the entire story. But about one quarter of the way through Chapter 1 (counting prologue I had nine pages written), I saw that it was not going to work at all.
So I went back to the beginning and wrote in the symbiont character without giving it a second thought. If you ask me why I chose a symbiont, about the only answer I can give was that I saw it used in DS9, although in my opinion, not very well (which is something I will explore in greater detail as this series progresses).

The prologue that you'll be reading, is what I consider to be my first good attempt at a background dump. It introduces two main and two secondary characters, it creates a solid base for the story arc and it tells you what the planned ending will be. More importantly, it will serve as a better explanation of what I'm trying to do than this post does.

I now present for your critique, the prologue to my novel, Line 21. Please note that the blog you will be directed to has the exact same kind of front page that graced FSG. This is more for avoiding censorship/flagging issues than it is offending someone's delicate eyes, because as you know, I can be rather pointed and provocative with my writing.


  1. Congrats on a very ambitious project and infusing it with fresh aproaches.

  2. David: Thanks. I really do appreciate that. It isn't easy to put a new spin on a well used plot idea but I do plan on giving it my best shot.

  3. Provocative is an understatement! Thanks for letting me read it. I look forward to our next writing chat.

  4. R: You're more than welcome. And its I who should be thanking you for taking the time to do this for me.

    I really want to do this the right way, which means opening myself up to stuff that I may not want to hear but will need to just the same.

  5. I actually got time to read this week- yay!

  6. Snaggle: Yay!!!

    Hope you liked!


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G. B. Miller

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