The Slow Death of the Desk Drawer

Weekly Wordcount: Negligable. Done a little editing. 26,000 total.
This Week's Reads: Beloved. In progress: Embassytown, Assassins
To read: Villains by Necessity (It just arrived, and it is in super nice condition. I am excited.)

Desk Drawer Projects
Once upon a time, two summers ago, I wrote a novel for a school thing. This was an inherently bad idea, because I set upon the project from the lens of wondering what the school like to see - not what would I like to write. 

This story was not a fun romp. It was a turgid, pretentious piece of work, an uneasy mix of college lore, depression, and the ways in which people are pathetic. All is tainted with modernism. The biggest influences were Death of a Salesman, Long Day's Journey into Night, and the memory of a hurricane that left my house powerless for a week.

I have long wondered what to do with the thing. It sits there, in that metaphorical desk drawer (it's on my computer, in a folder somewhere). I take it out once in a while and see if enough time has passed, and has revealed to me how to fix the story. Every six months or so I think I am ready to renew the project, to finalize it once and for all, and turn it into an ebook. But I can't, because it doesn't quite work. 

Why not?

It lacks tension, stakes. The characters are bitchy. And what is the conflict? The characters are their own worst enemies. Who cares about hurricanes and fires? There is no connection between internal and external conflicts. Everyone fights themselves and mopes about the state of things around them. 

It's a day, a tense day. It might help the thing to deal with the consequences. My current pet theory is to interlace another day, or series of days, three weeks in the future.

And then everything is reveled to be zombies. Zombies are the cure for modernism. 


Nocturne said...

Villains by Necessity! Did you break and order it on amazon, or is there a secret non hundred bucks a piece option out there? Ooo, half.com claims to have a few copies.

I'm absolutely copycatting Kat.

Zombies are indeed the cure. But as a ninja fan, I vote ninjas and dragons.

I love reading your posts.

CC Dashings said...

You've made "modernism" pejorative. Good job. Also, what did you think of "Beloved"?

Kat Zantow said...

@ Nocturne: Villains by Necessity always! And only thirteen dollars with shipping - hardcover is the secret. Apparently. I will consider ninja dragons as a possible solution.

I love reading your comments!

@CC Dashings: Pfeh. Modernism. I am certainly not the first to call it out, though you could probably find more people viciously hissing about postmodernism.

Beloved was a trip to listen to, but I am not sure if I would really recommend it via audiobook. The sound of the words spoken drew out some beautiful language and mood techniques. But overall just listening to the story detracted from the experience of plot, which was less linear than some Faulkner I've read.

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