Saturday, November 10, 2012

Write a Chicano novel in a month?

by Rudy Ch. Garcia

November 2012.

I’m not in Denver, again. In Houston, again, but this time for a family wedding and no readings for the novel, The Closet of Discarded Dreams.

But I’ve embarked on what I call my 9th life. Some of the priors resemble how this one will play out, but this may prove enjoyable in ways the others only touched. Seven of the others will wait for explanations another time.

Public school education, my eighth life, and I will probably part ways, permanently. The administrators will not miss me. The kids would be a different story. I’ll still do volunteer work and maybe some work as a substitute, but I’m one more casualty of a country of school systems gone bad-to-worse.

Ninth life: full-time writer

It’s appropriate to begin the 9th in what some call NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. As one site explains it, “The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approx. 175 pp.) novel by midnight Nov. 30. In 2011, we had 256,618 participants and 36,843 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the deadline.”

Years ago I attempted to write the original draft of my Chicano fantasy novel in a month--although it wound up taking forty-five days--of about 60k words. Many revisions followed.

This time should be more fruitful, based on the premise that I am a much more savvy writer now. As of Nov. 9 I’ve completed 10k words. However this 10k is vastly improved from the first 10k I did years ago.

My process is relatively simple:
  • Up at 5:30 or so, read the paper, check Email, sip two—only two cups of coffee, begin writing.
  • Breaks every 60-90 min. away from the computer. Return to writing. This is fairly new for me. Before this year I would work without leaving the den or the keyboard, work until the brain was fried and restart the next morning. Brain-science readings have added taking these breaks to revive my thinking. Also new, frequent rehydration, a glass of water, or so.

At the MileHiCon, the KOP series novelist Warren Hammond explained his method of writing. What I took from him and have implemented this month is to begin each day not where I left off before, but instead somewhere earlier, even on page one. This is radically different from my composing, but I’m driven by Warren’s explanation that doing his novels in this manner means that once he reaches the last page, he is essentially finished with final revisions. Vamos a ver.

As for the subject of my November work, from lessons learned in my summer posts on latinos and sci-fi, Spic vs Spec, as well as discussions with Jim Fiscus of SFFWA, Paolo Bacigalupi (The Windup Girl) and editors and publishers. I concluded that composing a young adult dark fantasy with Chicano protagonists should be my final work for the year.

It’s likewise fitting to finish my best year ever (5 published works, with two months remaining) by entering a field that begs for mas y mas y mas spec lit for Chicano boys. It would be a great finish of my teaching years, to give back to kids something they need more than a new standardized test.

As I said earlier, I’m on about page 40 of the new work and already recognize that if you liked/loved The Closet of Discarded Dreams, you’re going to love/bust a gut from reading the next installment. It is a prequel, not a sequel. What happened to The Chicano and Chrisie “the Bruiser” Falcón before The Closet of Discarded Dreams.

This is all for today; I’m tired. Pocho Joe of KUVO-fm radio and novelist Manuel Ramos stopped by yesterday and tricked me into drinking mucho. They actually left early for me to complete my Friday intoxication, solo, but I still blame them.

I’m in Houston, it’s humid, in the 70s, smoggy, while Denver’s prepping for some freeze and snow. I brought the MacBook and am having a chingón time with the prequel. Wish you were here to read some of this draft, but I guess that will have to wait for an editor to show up first.

Suerte in your Nov. writing and the rest of the time, too,

Author of the Chicano fantasy novel The Closet of Discarded Dreams

Last minute: Arizona comes to Colorado 

On our way to the airport we passed an RTD bus, the regional mass transit most gente use to get around. The huge sign on the side caught my eye:

"It's not Islamophobia, it's Islamorealism."

It's not stirred enough local controversy yet, but placement of the ads has been upheld  in court elsewhere.

The ads were intended to hit the Obama campaign in swing states and obviously didn't work. If you sympathize with those of another religion and want to do something about these ads, you might want to vote against the type of judges who uphold the right to spread racist hate propaganda. And let RTD know your views. Before the whole state gets Arizonaed.

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