I’ve been working, off and on, the last ten years on a piece of writing. I think that it’s a book, but it may turn out to be something else. I call it a memoir, unless Oprah starts grilling me and then I’ll crack and call it something else. It will still be a memoir, but I crack easily around strong women. I’m the ultimate unreliable first person narrator in all areas of non-fiction – it’s my gift -- and time to put it to work.
One of the problems I’m running into -- at 50 thousand words, I’m losing my place – I keep coming back to the story without a feel for the story. I’ve been trying to find a way to read it, and then write more of it – all in one big chunk of time.
I’m trying to do too much, so I’m not doing anything.
The only way I can think to make it manageable (other than getting software that follows my plot and lists my characters, which, let’s face it, is not going to happen.) is to go back and break it down into chapters and build up from there.
It’s not that I don’t know the story – (I’ll outline it at the end of this) – it’s organizational.
So, since I‘ve been averaging about 700 words a day for the last month, I’m going to turn my daily blog of random things into a daily update of chapters. I think that getting a bunch of chapters together will tell me what to do next.
This will be a process – I will try to get the spellings right and the approximate shapes in between the rough lines. I might leave gaps to be filled in later. This is going to be a warts and all thing – but since I don’t have too many readers, it should be fun -- a in-on-the-ground-floor experience of funness.
It’s also what I’m calling the, “plan.”
Here’s the story:
In 1984, a man comes into the hospital with a massive heart attack. Lab tests show that the heart attack was large enough to destroy his heart muscle, and, based on the experience of the RN taking care of him, he will most likely die in three days. Because the heart will die progressively, not suddenly, the man will be intellectually alert and responsive for most of those three days.
The nurse knows that the patient will die, but the patient does not.
That’s the story – 3 days in a coronary care unit with a nurse and a dying man. Each day a major section, each day with a theme.
Also – expect lots of ambergris, and the mucking around in fluids.
The nurse changes – the man dies, (or does he?) The real story is in the nurse – the question and the tension in the story will come from the development of the nurse over the three days– is he Ishmael, Ahab, or the big fucking whale?