In Which I Try to Convince Myself that I Am NOT Writing “The Bourne Identity” in a Fantasy Setting…

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.”

True.

“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.”

Undoubtedly so.

“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:

 

Just do it!

After over a year as a missionary in Ireland, England, Scotland, and… Illinois… I opened my laptop three days ago and pulled up my novel in progress. It’s a beautiful reunion.

The draft I have at present is the result of the great writing marathon of my Christmas break from missionary work. I made the mistake of asking my best friend what she wanted for Christmas, and she requested a finished draft after eight years of fruitless writing, cutting, editing, and complete disembowelment of the manuscript. It was rough, but what I am incapable of doing for myself, I will suffer sleepless nights, caffeine headaches, and keyboard calluses on my wrist bones to do for someone else. The draft was completed, with a lot of shoddy summaries of events and slap happy comments made by myself at 3 a.m. Some of the most slap happy include:

(Just realized, he isn’t actually dead yet in this flashback. When less lazy, think of a different traumatic thing for his family to discuss.)

“Fire!” (Do they even have ammo?)

(Insert medical jargon… can’t go wrong with a punctured lung?)

“He banged his fist against the back door of the safe house.” (There’s a cool password to get in, like “Vatican Cameos.” Maybe… Bar mitzvah Commando?)

(Insert something really witty/ biting/ threatening here.)

In a word, I was inspired to finish this thing. It was rough, but in that one week I accomplished what so many greats have recommended for writing and anything else a person might want to achieve in a given day. Here is what the greats have to say:

“Just do it.”  (Stephen King)

“Just do it!”  (Shia LaBeouf)

“Finish it.”     (Joss Whedon)

“Finish it. Finish it.”    (Neil Gaiman)