Research takes us writers into strange realms. This particular search was necessitated by my desire to make the initiation rituals of my nomadic desert barbarian culture as realistic as possible.
Anyone ever made weird internet searches for their writing? Wanna share?
Several years ago I brought a sample chapter of my book to the writer’s group that meets at my house every month or so. After reading it, the first comment was, “This sounds a lot like the Bourne Identity to me.”
My initial thought: Damn.
“Whatever do you mean?” I asked, even though I could kind of see whatever they meant. Here are a few of the similarities pointed out to me:
“Well, the guy has amnesia.”
“He knows how to use a bunch of weapons. Killing is instinctual to him.”
I cannot deny it. This guy’s a freak of destruction.
“He’s part of a secretive military group, members of which may be trying to kill him.”
“What about the vague and unhelpful shaky-cam flashbacks?”
(Getting annoyed.) You didn’t need to take dramamine before reading my story, did you?
So, I resolved to make some changes. Granted, the premise is very Ludlum-esque, but it’s set in a fantasy world with a magic system and all sorts of freaky creatures, so I think I have a chance. Maybe. If someone can read past page one without saying, “Amnesia? I’ve read that one before.”
New marketing strategy: Target amnesiacs to read my book. It will be like nothing they remember experiencing before.
Five years later, I’m trying to write a log line for this book, so that when people ask me what my book’s about, I don’t have to say, “Uuuuummmm,” or, “It’s…complicated.” (I don’t have a gift for spoken words). I sent the log line to a trusted fellow writer, who’s first comment was, “It’s sounds a lot like the Bourne Identity.”
Five years. Nothing has changed.
The good news is, I now have a working log line!
“Hey, I hear you’re writing a book! What’s it about?”
“It’s basically the Bourne Identity in a fantasy setting.” (sigh).
Enjoy an honest trailer of the book I’m currently writing:
This artwork is inspired by the last lines of E.E. Cummings’ poem, “I Carry Your Heart With Me: I Carry It In My Heart.”
Here is a recording of E.E. Cummings reading his poem:
During my time studying theatre, one of the most important things I learned about constructing a scene was creating “pictures.” This is a moment on stage that’s visually interesting if you were to pause it like a movie or take a snapshot. I try to bring this picture making into my writing as well. When beginning to write a scene for “The Epic,” as it’s come to be called in the absence of a proper title, I had a very vivid picture of of what I wanted the last moment of the scene to be like. It was so vivid that I later sketched it out like a panel in a storyboard.
The story is pretty typical, a fifteen year-old boy with supernatural powers that he struggles to control. He inherited this power from his mother, but they both have very different ideas about how to deal with it. The vivid picture is of the first time the son lashes out at his mother. He accidentally hurts her and destroys her garden.
The truth was she was terrified of her own son, and she knew that everything in him that scared her came directly from herself. Everything she had ever done, she had done because she was afraid. Afraid of being weak. Afraid of being powerful. She had thought she couldn’t fall any further. But she feared her own flesh and blood more than she feared death.
“I’m sorry,” Elijah said again. Then more quietly he asked, “Why am I like this? Why can’t I do anything good?”
Alene held him in silence. She knew that with a few words, she should be able to dispel all his doubt and frustration and self-loathing. But she couldn’t even do that for herself.
Autumn harvest vegetables drawn while looking only at the subject and not at the paper.
First, a tiny pumpkin.
Next, some baby corn.
And finally, a really, really, tiny gourd.
Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.
To You, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which You give Your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You;
through those who endure sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
for by You, Most High, they will be crowned.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing Your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve Him with great humility.