Novella Halted, Novel Started & Research Commences

I know, you’re looking at the title of this post and going “Oh goodness gracious, this girl is nutters.”

I know I have the absolute worse track record when it comes to completing things, but remember the story I was talking about in this post? Well, one night after cruising the internet, looking at pictures of really hot men and creating fantasy castings for books-turned-movies, I decided, I will go forth with my story “Game of Hearts.” As it is, my (would be) novella is steeped in some kind of surreal fiction, and it would nice for a change for me to write something a little different, but equally entertaining AND a period piece at that. So, I decided that I’d give the novella a break so it can simmer on the back burner of the brain and went in search of an expert to help me with my new project.

A friend of mine (and fellow writer) is always writing pieces with the African diaspora, so I sent him a quick message about wanting to do a French period piece around people of African/mixed race descent. He was immediately hooked and as he gave me some references and points of research, I gave him a quick summation of where I’d like the general story to go and he was instantly in love with the idea. He even gave me a few things to consider which was great.

One of my inspirations: Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos & its 1988 film adaptation, Dangerous Liaisons

I told him of my apprehensions and then he said that “it’s been spoken to much into existence for you not to.” His encouragement was just what I needed, especially since he noted that many writer of color don’t think to go along the route of period pieces. So, after looking over the initial three paragraphs that I had written over a year ago, I started typing. And I typed. And then I started talking to myself aloud. And I found myself looking for paper (which I have an abundance of) and then I just opened up the post-it feature on my laptop and like…a breached flood, the plot outline for my story came to me. It has sex, intrigue, back-stabbing, rakish behavior, the marquise de sade (influences anyway), mistaken identity and people of color!

From three paragraphs, I’m now 28 pages into a story that I never thought would happen. 28 pages, however, of scattered plot, as I now how to tie in different elements from the outlined plot and the story doesn’t come to me chronologically. I like to say that my muse speaks to me but often has a sore-throat so I have to strain to hear her or she speaks staccato fragments to me that I then have to plug in different places to make sense.  The writing is no where near finished and I can’t imagine how many pages it’ll be when I’m done.

It would be a lie to say that I wouldn’t like to finish this by the end of the summer. For once, I’d like to completely finish a full fledge (potential) novel. I have three others I’ve started since high school waiting for me as well as my novella. I must break the cycle. This story must be finished. Especially since I’ve created all the story arcs for the main characters. Not to mention, I’ve started researching – yeah! – on the history of French caribbean islands, free color of people, historical clothing, condoms (yep, I want my people smart and shiz), architecture, & titles of nobility.

Wish me luck guys. I’m going in.

As the story continues, I intend on leaking some scenes (maybe even a sex scene or two) for your reading pleasure.

W/love,

-Alja

Thoughts – A Midnight in Paris & Feast of Saints

Hello there, my darling public!

I once again, want to apologize for my lack of interest in this blog. I assure you that is has nothing to do with my interest in writing diminishing, but more so my need to try to fill some voids going on outside of my literary pursuits.

Any how, I came on here to say that I finally watched Midnight in Paris. And (much like the reviews I’ve been given), I feel like it is a movie that writers (or those who would like to be writers) should watch it or at least could probably enjoy it.

I found myself taken in by the movie, as I too, believe that I was somehow born in the wrong decade. I find myself wishing that I was born in the early 70’s. Not because of any literary revolution, but because of my sincere enjoyment of 80’s pop. But, I digress. I do in fact also feel that I should’ve been born earlier…maybe even in the 50’s and 60’s, when literature was more than just a word, but a lifestyle. When magazines were booming and taking poetry and short stories to add to their pages and not just ’10 new ways to liven up a blow job.’

Yeah, I sometimes think that maybe, just maybe, if I had lived back then, I would’ve definitely succeeded. Obviously, under the pseudonym of a white male, because lets face it…civil rights was on its way in then. But maybe even aside all of that, I would’ve been a pillar in the ‘black’ community and a literary paradigm.

But like Gil, I do love the 20’s. While it was a RAGE in Paris, in Harlem, names and literature and poetry was oozing out the cracks of the city streets and an articulate, intellectual class was cashing in on the need for a new voice and all over Europe, movements were being made! I have to admit, I did get some goosebumps seeing Zelda, Scott, Hemingway, & Stein on the screen and wondered what it would’ve been like to see Duke, Zora and Ella and Billie and Langston. And to hear that jazz and see Josephine and indulge in booze and Brick Tops and jazz and words. To feel like words are just as alive and buzzing as the night…

Now, it doesn’t feel that way. But I guess you have to make that feeling I suppose…

Anywho, I don’t know if I told you all that I had an idea for an ahistorical story of wealthy african americans and lo and behold, I saw the preview for Feast of All Saints on TVONE. 

I couldn’t believe it. There it was…a story about high society African-Americans. Then, I wiki’d it and found that it’s about half & quarter black negroes engrossed in sensuous love affairs in pre-civil war Nawlens (New Orleans). I’m guessing that it’s probably based on an actual group of freed negroes in the south. Any how, seeing that kind of renewed my faith in writing that story…if Anne Rice can write it, right? Mine would be set in Europe though. Something’s sexier about things in Europe.

But, I’m hoping that I can power through the writing. I haven’t pounded on keys like this in a while, and with trying to find writing related work and not getting a shot, it’s been weighing down on my ability to get my stories out. Speaking of which, I failed my personal deadline to finish my novella. I got so consumed in everything else, that I honestly didn’t think to add a couple of lines to it. I gave myself another unrealistic goal of April 15th, but I think I’ll shoot for the end of the month. After some coming engagements that are approaching, I should be back in the swing of things…should be anyhow.

Well, thanks for reading! =)

W/love,

-Alja