Things I Learned While Writing My Novel.
So I had this great idea...
If I wrote everything that led up to writing my novel, what I went through during the process, and the toll it took on me afterwards, I would need to write ANOTHER novel about it because it would not fit as a HubPages article. So I will try to summarize my experiences the best I can.
I have always written, always. I have around 2000 songs I wrote that I have never even tried to get published, some of them are on Songbay, but most are locked up on a USB drive and printed out in a fireproof safe. I am very critical of myself, which may explain why I never pushed to at least have someone look at my songs.
Anyway, I had been kicking around the idea to write a novel for some time, but never could come up with a subject or story that hadn't been done before.
One night I was perusing the Internet when I came upon Tumblr. Now, the OLD Tumblr was always interesting because prior to the new rules where everything is banned, you could find some really far out art, photography, and subject matter. I started looking through various Tumblr pages, trying to find inspiration, when I began to notice something:
A LOT of these pages were devoted to sexualizing serial killers. Those 2 bastards who shot up Columbine (I refuse to use their names) had literally over 100 pages devoted to them where people wrote fan fiction about them, created artwork, poetry, songs, etc etc. MANY of the pages were devoted to how "sexy" they were (which made me want to vomit tbh).
As I lay in bed that night, my mind was turning, how could I turn this slavish obsession and devotion with two evil individuals into a story? Then it hit me, I would NOT write about them as serial killers as much as I would write about society's reaction to their crimes.
I woke up that morning and jotted down a few ideas. But I could not form, in my mind, who the killer was. I did not want to base them on anyone real, I wanted my killer to be unique. It was while going through my facebook feed that I had my answer. I saw a post of a mutual friend who joked that her fraternal twin daughters were like two girls with one brain, and that even though their personalities were totally opposite, they always seemed to know what the other was thinking and doing, almost like they had psychic ability.
I had my killers. Twins.
Meet the girls.
My killers would be fraternal twin girls. They would have nicknames. They longer haired more playful and fun loving one would be called Danger. The short haired more stern, mature, and sociopathic one would be called Destruction.
I made the conscious choice to make them female due to the glut of male serial killers. But I had a problem: who cares about adults killing people, we are de-sensitized to that. But wait..what if...what if they were teenagers...even worse...young teenagers. So I made them 14 years old.
I was on a roll, my mind was open to creating a world and a set of characters with no limits. I asked myself: "How can two 14 year old girls get away with being serial killers?"
BOOM crashing back down to Earth.
I was ready to give up after a week of thinking how realistic can it be for two 14 year olds to be serial killers? I mean, it can't. Then I got inspired...it hit me like a bolt of lightning.
A way out of my dilema.
Black Lagoon is an ultra violent anime from Japan that deals with a small group of smugglers operating in an old WW2 PT Boat in South East Asia. The anime is a satire on the hyper violence that exists in the world today, and acts as a social commentary towards it. But what I found fascinating was that the laws of physics do not seem to apply. As in the characters are seemingly supernatural in ability with weaponry and fighting skill. They manage to do things that are, quite frankly, impossible in the real world.
This, I realized, was my way out of the box I had written myself into. Two real life 14 year old girls could never do the things I needed them to do, unless I applied "anime" physics to the setting and that is exactly what I did.
So I had my antagonists, I had my setting, I had my illogical solution to a very real world issue regarding their abilities. There was just one problem.
I had NO idea what to write about.
Coming up with a story is a lot harder than it seems.
This is what I was asking myself. I had no idea what sort of story to tell. An origin story? A linear plot? First person? Third person? One giant flashback? Hell maybe even a musical with fake Reddit AMA and forum posts thrown in, why not right?!?!
In the end, I did all those things.
I wanted to create something no one in the history of literature had ever done before. yeah I know, grandiose idea, but I always do things to the extreme. So I took every literary device I could think of, every trick, every style and every POV and I threw it all in one book. I started the story in the middle, then halfway through switched to their origins. Then after that, I switched gears and did an entire book within a book about their main rivals. I wrote fake forum posts using the vernacular of online trolls. I created an entire Reddit AMA with the girls answering questions.
I provided word by word transcriptions of news broadcasts. I presented the viewpoints of both right and left wing journalists. I wrote an entire flashback sub-plot that had NOTHING to do with the main story.
I purposely left important details out and I over emphasized minor points that didn't deserve them. I wrote out of order. I provided key events that should have required background knowledge that I purposely left out, forcing the reader to make it up on their own.
I even created a Facebook page and Tumblr where plot points were inserted, forcing the reader to have to go online and search them out.
And I wrote songs. And I put them into the book. I am a songwriter first and foremost, writing a novel is alien to me. So I wrote an entire soundtrack to the book and inserted the lyrics where appropriate.
I even hired an extremely talented piano prodigy from the UK named Lucas King to create a theme. Here it is:
The Social Media Murder Corp main theme
I went out of control.
I went in too deep. I neglected my work, my health, my social life, everything. Every day I would write, revise, delete, edit, and write again. I moved paragraphs around. I constantly listened to their theme, constantly looked at their pictures, I wanted to get inside their heads. After a while, I felt like they were my own children. I got attached..TOO attached. I started referring to them as my daughters in my real life. My ex girlfriend keep telling me I needed to kill them at the end of the book, that it was the only way to break free of them.
I got in deep, way deep. I wrote every day non stop. Over the course of 395 days it took to write the book, I wrote 370 of them.
When I was done it was over 600 pages long.
I hired a young artist from Chile to design the book cover. He was also going to turn the book into a manga, and it would be published separately. Sadly, health reasons forced him to drop out of the project.
Have you ever written a novel?
In the end...
In the end, whether it was the length, the subject matter, or the fact I have no idea how to do any promotion, hardly anyone bought my book. I didn't expect to win a Pulitzer Prize, but I thought a few hundred people at least would have bought it.
Over a year old being locked in my house, sacrificing my health, my social life, my work, and my sanity, all for around 15 sales.
600 plus pages of my heart and soul. All my rage, all my love, all my hate, everything I had, for 15 sales.
Was it worth it?
Yes. Despite the psychological and physical trauma it inflicted on me, the fact is I created something from whence there was nothing. I created an entire world populated with diverse people, many of them violent, but they were alive nevertheless. Long after I am gone, my creation will still be alive. You see, once you write a book, a song, paint a picture, even if it is destroyed, it EXISTED, and it's energy or life force can never be eradicated.
You don't write to make money, a true artist never does. You write because you have this burning desire inside you to CREATE, to bring forth a part of you manifest in the real world, to be judged on it's own.
15 sales or 15 million sales, nothing will ever take away the fact that I wrote a novel.
And in the end, for me, it was worth the trauma.
If you are interested, I have the Amazon link to my novel below.
Please comment and let me know what YOU went through when you created your story/song/poem/painting.
© 2019 Stephen P Signorelli