The work so far; an overviewon November 19, 2012 at 00:03
So now I’m sitting here with a finished manuscript, ready to export both into the MOBI format used by Amazon’s DTP service as well a separate document meant for PDF export, intended for print through their Createspace service. I’ve also got a front cover ready for the e-book as well as the full cover for the printed one.What started out last summer as me sketching down notes for yet another written or video project – I’ve probably got notes for 50 projects of one kind or another – has now bloomed into a complete and worked-through product spanning some 130,000 words. Though I’ve done minimalistic creative writing in the past, this is the first full-length fiction novel I finish. During the preceding years I’ve also finished a non-fiction work – The Madhouse: A critical study of Swedish society (pretty self-explanatory, but it’s a factual work highlighting aspects of contemporary Sweden that I’m critical of) – as well as an unpublished memoir that might one day see print as well. On top of that, I’ve also made a video documentary called The Socialist Utopia, covering roughly the same topics as The Madhouse, yet with its focus more on visual representation than with careful referencing of sources. It can be found on Youtube and downloaded for free off file-sharing sites.
Well, perhaps I shouldn’t bother a potential reader of this book with too many details of my other works – back to the topic at hand. As this is a highly controversial work that challenges politically-correct conventions and will likely arouse feelings among the general public, I feel it pertinent to explain just what made me write it. I am a restrained person and don’t express myself in the way any of the characters in this book does, but seeing as the works you create are likely to go unnoticed if you’re in the land of unpublished authors, like I am, I realized that I just might need to go beyond my usual boundaries and create a bit of shock. And since I’m a person quite prone to take ideas to their full extent, perhaps “a bit” are not suitable words to express just what shock this book might cause. Yet still I feel it’s important due to the ever-greater censorship we’re experiencing in today’s Europe, something which gets all-too-little attention in Western media. People are being sentenced to prison left and right for the things they say and write in the Europe that until two decades or so was half the bastion of freedom in the world, the other half being the United States.
Hence perhaps pursuing this shock just might be a worthwhile task. The very-first skeleton of the idea for this book wasn’t one challenging taboos on race and other minority status – it was nothing more than a southern family living in a non-conformist way and smoking meth to pass the days. But when I started spending part of my days late summer brainstorming ideas for the intended novella (it wasn’t intended to be a novel yet at that stage), the characters started to come alive and I decided they just had to be what’s in lack of a better term called “racists.” Apart from the daughter of the family, though, since I decided the family needed a bit of inner tension too, apart from the one they have with the surrounding community.
I have to say it was a very stimulating undertaking planning this work. I quickly came up with so many great ideas for scenes in the book that I realized it had to become a full-length novel – there was just no way I could fit it into the short story I had first sketched out. By the time the narrative of the book had started to crystallized and I had organized the chapter structure, I felt like a comic genius, with so much material in store. Hence in early December 2011, I made writing this book my main focus. Most of the work up until that point had been all over the intended novel, jumping back and forth developing the material I felt like at the moment, but then the actual process of linear writing began, starting with the introduction to family life. Before new year’s eve, I was done with the first three chapters, and had developed a well-functioning routine for creative writing in spite of having had no such training or earlier experience.
It’s a good sign when you can really relate to the characters whose life you’re writing. Billy Bob, Betty Sue, Big Ray, Bambi and Tommy Lee weren’t just names on a paper to me – I developed more of an interest in them than I do in most people I meet. I did research to determine where they lived, where they went to school, where they hung out as part of their social life and so on. Their lives seemed to me an inexhaustible source of material and I started wondering if this novel would ever reach its end, with me coming up with new ideas all the time as I was writing. 130,000 words might not seem an enormous amount, but then again I’m not verbose like for example Stephen King – I prefer whatever I do to be minimalistic and concise. My perfectionism demanded that every paragraph or even every sentence was imbued with power and carried its own weight, whether through traditional comedy or at least through shock. I demanded that the prose be melodic and the narrative as a whole leave the reader with an overwhelming sensation. Hopefully this is evident in the final product and that this will never be dismissed as “pulp” or something of that sort. Though the theme chosen might seem a cheap way of getting across, I would never drag someone in without having material worth the reader’s time. I could never see myself treating creative writing or academic work as some sort of an assembly line where you just mass-produce whatever will sell. No matter how financially rewarding it may be – that just wouldn’t be me.
So as stated, I’m now sitting here with finished manuscript and cover. The tasks I’ve got left are sending in the files to Amazon, and setting up the social media needed. Apart from this website and the blog I’m currently writing, there will probably be a Facebook page as well. The website will include samples of the book and some other stuff, haven’t finalized the decision on just what yet. Actually going ahead and releasing the work has made me a bit nervous, wondering if everything is as perfect as I want it to be, which is why I got the idea that I should start writing this blog in the meantime. A bit of a post history won’t hurt the blog the day it meets a live audience through me publicizing the book release.
The work that’s left to make an actual release possible is that I write out a description of the book for the Amazon page, as well as an “about the author” section to include at the end of the book. That last task has had me experience a bit of indecision, though. Will I try to present myself as a pretty square guy who’s written a rad work, or will I share more about my life to paint a more fascinating picture, but in the process risking disseminating information that might land well with everyone? What’s become very evident from the self-publication of my last book is that I’m in desperate need of name recognition, and I’m not likely to get it without creating an interest in me as a person. Which is a bit annoying to me, since I prefer to be a loner and not actually interact with anyone.
Well, this post is long enough by now and I should perhaps continue this navel-gazing tomorrow. But before I hit the sack, I should get to it at least writing a little on my author portrait.