I’m always looking ahead to my next project (or distracted, but whatever), and with this one I think I am going to go literary.
I have no ides what that means, but hey – why not? It’s never stopped me from writing fantasy, comedy or romance/horror. Don’t get me wrong, I love the genre fiction I’ve written, but this is more of me getting out of my comfort zone and trying to write something that is a little more grounded in reality. A challenge of what little talent that I have.
First off – what the hell is literary genre? I don’t know and I tried looking it up and all I got was lists of all the genres and none of them are listed as a literary genre. So, I looked up literary fiction and got some better answers. Word count (which I am fixated on) is around 55,000 to 100,000 words. The story tends to be character driven (the character in the work changes over the course of the story) and there tends to be a social or political theme behind it (mine is going to be the heady theme of how fame and society co-opt art for their own ends – or something like that, I’m still in the plotting stages) and there is an irreverence for storytelling norms (Okay…maybe not this one, but the main character is an ASL poet and mute…maybe that’s an irreverence? I don’t know).
I do have a working title, based off a quote from Werner Herzog: ‘I’m fascinated by trash TV. The poet must not avert his eyes’. My interpretation of this is that the duty of the artist is to not only view on what is uncomfortable for him or her, but meditate and reflect that discomfort in his or her art. What about society and art makes me uncomfortable? What should I point out? Those are good questions. I have an answer in the earlier paragraph – that society and fame co-opt art for their own ends, and art seems to be fine with it, but I want to go a little deeper if you’ll allow me.
If you ask me, society doesn’t co-opt, it absorbs and neutralizes rogue elements of society by adopting them. It takes those rebel elements and puts them on, robbing it of the rebellious nature by saying ‘Look – we’re alike’. Businesses and attention seekers help this phase along by aping the exterior looks and mannerisms of whatever rebellious moment is happening in order to sell a product. A perfect example of this is the infamous Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner. A better example of this is the lampooning of it in the show The Boys. This is the sort of thing I want to examine in the story.
How will I do that? Have no friggin’ clue. All I got is a cast of characters featuring an ASL poet, a media influencer and a dancer with our viewpoint character being a documentarian. Also stuck in there is a title (Eyes Unaverted, Staring Blankly Ahead) and a desire to stretch myself (only going to use Word – no Scrivener with this one) a little as far as how I am going to approach this. Might work on a full outline and might even develop a timeline.
I think this might even be good blog fodder. Let people read what’s going on with this, maybe even put up selections for review and/or criticism. Let’s do this and see what happens?