I have finally decided I am going to do this for my next big project.
I have been interested in this idea for some time. A bit tongue in cheek, but I have called this idea The Great American Hobo Novel for some time. Mostly as a place holder name. I feel there’s a lot of potential here in this subject that hasn’t been mined. Yes, there have been other novels and films about this subject. I think I have found a way to approach it from a different direction and perspective. I have a plot in mind that may be workable.
That’s the problem. I have a plot. I don’t have a story. Not yet.
Writers will recognize this Catch 22 right away. Usually, we come up with the story first and the plot unfolds from there. This time, I came up with the plot first. But a plot is not a story. It’s a framework of a house. The story is the roof that makes the house.
This can be analogized by a simple plot: A boy finds a dog. He comes to love it. The dog saves his life.. Later, the dog catches rabies and the boy has to shoot the dog.
That’s a plot. Admittedly a recognizable one, but it serves our purpose of illustration. That’s a plot. It’s not a story.
So where’s the story in our example? Here: A boy grows up to be a man. That’s the story. The plot can be any framework that reveals the elements of that story. Maybe it wasn’t a dog. Maybe it was a hamster. See? Plots are not stories, and stories are not plots.
Thus, my dilemma.
I have the plot. I don’t have the story. Therefore, these are uncharted waters for me. I believe the story will reveal itself over time as I dig deeper and do more research. But I want to make sure I have it within my grasp before I get too involved with this project.
Meanwhile, it’s not like I’m lying fallow. I am getting prepared to attend several SF/F conventions this year, write more short stories, schedule readings at local libraries, and get more stuff out with Argo Navis Publishing.
A full plate by any standard. But times have changed and writing isn’t only writing anymore. Today writers have to be editors, publishers, marketers…God help us. I don’t like it, but I can’t pretend it’s unnecessary.
All the same I am getting excited about this project. I have been thinking about it for over a year and the idea has held up under scrutiny. That’s not always the case, either. Sometimes I will have an idea and after I study it a while I determine it’ s not worth the attention. I’m very picky and choosy about what I do and do not write nowadays. A lot of that comes with experience, a lot of it is having the belief in yourself to make the right judgments.
Because of the time frame you might expect there to be flappers, a particular subject I am interested in and have blogged about before. I don’t think so for this novel, however. It isn’t coming together in my mind to be that kind of novel. Not yet at any rate.
But it’s early days yet. There is a lot of history and culture which I need to start digging into.
Which is why I need to get started now. 🙂