The Writer

The WriterBack in October last year I began working on a novel. It took me roughly three months to write. But there was one big problem with it. I had no plot. Or at least, something that would resemble a plot. And that kind of set me back for a while.

I would be lying if I’d say that I didn’t panic, because I did. Three months of hard work seems like an awful lot to waste, especially when you’re my age and as impatient as I am. But there was nothing I could do about it. I just had to wait.Which I did. I wrote a few short stories, began a couple of other novels, and I also wrote Jazz. Then I spent some time working on this blog – developing an author platform, as some might say. Then I began self-publishing my short stories and, of course, “Jazz.”

About a month ago, just after I launched “Jazz,” I got it. Just like that. And I was quite amazed to realize how easy it was to tie everything together.

So it’s my pleasure (it really is) to announce that I have set up a launch date for this novel: September the 23rd. Or 23rd of September, depending on which side of the planet you call home.

It’s always a fascinating thing to track back your process, to see where the road has taken you, so please bear with me as I try to explain why and how I wrote the novel. And some other stuff, like that flash of inspiration that’s always followed by those few minutes of trance-like state, the few minutes when our mind starts weaving chaotic memories together in an attempt to form a story.

The Writer began with a misunderstanding. I was ten, maybe eleven years old, and I went to the cinema with a few of my friends and their parents. And you know those movie trailers they play before the actual movie starts? Well, one of them was for Secret Window, a movie based on a short story by Stephen King. And I didn’t really get the idea behind the movie. I thought it was something else, which for the sake of spoilers I won’t mention. For whatever reason, this idea stuck with me, and a few years later, when I saw the movie, I realized that it wasn’t about what I thought it would be. Not at all.

So I said to myself, “Now I have an idea for a story.” Of course, I did nothing about it. Teenagers who pretend to be writers like to wait for a right time to write a story. They want to live a bit, to know more about the world, to be better writers, before they embark on such a treacherous journey. Like that character in The Snows on Kilimanjaro. Anyway, I wrote other stuff, gave up writing for a couple of years, then I began writing again.

And I wrote this story. A second person, Present tense narrative about a writer. It was about 7 to 8 thousand words long. Those who read it, loved it. Then I forgot about it. Time passed, and last year I became sort of a fan of unreliable narrators. And I set up to translate my short story into English and make it a bit more… intriguing.

What I ended up writing was… it’s kind of tricky to define.

The Writer is a novel about a guy, Jonathan Fisher. It’s a first person account of how he became a writer.

The Writer is also what some people might call Literary Fiction. With a touch of Magical Realism.

The Writer is Metafiction, meaning that it’s a novel about a writer writing a story.

The Writer is a frame-story. Jonathan Fisher somehow decides, on a mostly random basis, that he wants to read a story to the audience. Well, it’s not precisely the audience, because Jonathan Fisher is actually addressing a certain someone. Anyway, he still insists on reading from his short story collection.

And then there’s this guy, Jonathan Fisher. There’s something broken about him. I have always felt it, but up until now I never realized what. He’s just an observer. That’s what makes him so frightening to me. He’s the kind of guy who’ll walk right past a woman getting mugged. He never intervenes. He’s happy to be a shadow. I know there are far worse people (and fictional characters) out there, but… it’s just how I feel about him.

Here’s a blurb I wrote for the novel:

Jonathan Fisher is such a ghostly character that CCTV cameras won’t record him. He is used to being no one in particular, but when his father dies, he realizes one thing. Being invisible isn’t such a great option. But then something happens; a bizarre incident in a restaurant alters his life into a quest for answers. He decides to become a writer.

Like I said, 23rd of September 2012. I’ll post sample chapters, and I’ll probably write a few blog posts about some of the elements in the story. Or about the process of writing it. But there’s nothing great about that: you know, you sit at a desk and bleed, like Hemingway once said.

Oh, by the way, I’ll be putting a few of the phrases that I think are cool on my Facebook page, so you might want to check that out.


49 thoughts on “The Writer

  1. 'Mr Cellophane', eh? Sounds interesting. I found that after starting a novel without a proper plot, one evolved from the characters themselves.


  2. I think it's amazing that you managed to write it, you've kind of inspired me to go back to a book I started but left behind. Congratulations, I look forward to the 23rd of September :)


  3. Nice post! Am amazed at the speed you're writing novels at! What length are they, generally? It's taken me over a year to write not even half of mine. Mind you, kid and job have a habit of getting in the way!


    • Well, this one took me three months to write. But like I said, I've been brainstorming ideas, writing a short story based on those ideas, etc. for a long, long time.

      But generally speaking, I can write anywhere between 20K to 50K a month, depending on what project I'm working on. No kid and no job means that I can work for as long as I want to.


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  6. Great post! It totally reminds me of a book I'm reading called, "Bird by Bird" and the author literally says not worry about plot, or even come up with one. Focus on the characters, and let THEM drive the plot. You clearly were successful with that, so congrats!


  7. This is the line that got me to pause and read on, "I would be lying if I’d say that I didn’t panic, because I did."– that panic happens to me frequently, "what have I been spending my life on!?"

    Congratulations on the new book!


  8. I hear you, I'm married, work full time, and it took me three years to write my first novel (74K words). The sequel's coming along only a little faster. I try to balance work, life, and writing; often feeling I've cheated one or the other. Surviving a brain tumor helped me re-evaluate what the world considers urgent and my own path. I love my family and I love writing, and merely work to pay the bills; so I decline overtime as often as I can.


  9. Looking forward to The Writer on the 23rd of September, growing near… The first time I saw Secret Window I was mesmerized by the story, the acting of Johnny Depp and more, even though I did not quite get, then. What I did get then, was the open window into my imagination which opened up to great possibilities and fascinating, uncertain endings. The inside and outside of our brains translated through such great visual techniques, in the movie, do not need words.

    I just discovered your writing, I think it is great, thanks for sharing so much with us readers.


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