Wednesday, June 15, 2011

So you want to write a book...

During a recent writing exercise, I was instructed to imagine writing the story of my life.While the majority of the group sat there looking thoughtful, I was in the group with the big ass smiles plastered across our faces. I have no idea what those goofy bastards were smiling about. I was thinking about something else entirely and when I came out of my daze I noticed most people were jotting notes and a few were whispering.

What the hell have I missed, I wondered. I leaned over to a particularly concerned looking gentleman next to me and asked what the assignment was. "He wants us to write the story of our lives." he said. My smile officially covered my entire face. HOO-FREAKIN-RAY! I've not participated in a writing workshop that didn't tell it's students at least once to "write what you know". I KNOW ME! I KNOW ME! There is not another human being on the planet who knows the story of Angie Whatevermylastnameis better than I do. SCORE! I couldn't fathom why some of these people weren't getting into the spirit of the assignment. 

I borrowed notes from one of the ladies I had sat next to in the past. There wasn't time to really absorb what I was copying down and I couldn't have even if I'd tried. Giddy doesn't even begin to describe how excited I was to get started. Driving home I ran a few scenarios over in my head. The most prevalent being the one where I am approached by an agent to publish my life story. One week into my whirlwind book tour, I receive a call from my agent telling me that a Hollywood Producer wants to buy my story and make it into a movie. Of course I accept and I'm brought on board to choose the actress who will play the role of Angie Whatevermylastnameis. (Kate Beckinsale). 

As soon as I arrived home I sat down on my bed and turned the laptop on. Waiting for the boot up, I pulled out the notes I'd copied and the smile slowly started to fade. 
1. Just write. It doesn't matter if you make mistakes. Write like you'd speak. CHECK
2. Be honest. You'll do better if you're not struggling to create or hide anything. CHECK
3. Be yourself. This is your life story. Not the life story you wish you lived. Um.. Okay. 
4. Do a timeline. Do you see trends or themes? Explore those. Er.. Hey I don't.
5. Humor. The ability to laugh at yourself will come through in your writing if you can share funny stories, anecdotes, etc. I don't want to do this anymore. 

I did my little timeline and the scenario turned ugly. What I ended up with was a shitty Lifetime TV movie of the week. Nancy McKeon would play me. (Love you Nancy, but ~sigh~) The producers would say, "Do you mind if we make your daughter a crack whore? Also, we're just going to make your son gay. Not in real life you understand... it's just artistic licence. You already signed the paper." 

I still haven't started, but I have some notes in my sharing journal about the process.. wonder if the instructor will be able to read past the naughty words and tear stains.  My life didn't even get remotely entertaining or fit for public consumption until I was 35. Once I take out the crap that makes me cry, the things I would hate for anyone to ever know, and the boring stuff I have approximately 3 pages of text (if I use tons of adjectives and a thesaurus choosing only the biggest words). Anyone up for a short story spanning 10 days over the course of 2 years? Okay... 8 days. My Mom shouldn't see 2 of those days. 


Elizabeth - Flourish in Progress said...

If I'm ever brave enough to write a book (which will probably be never!) I'm coming back to this. Great thoughts.

Angie said...

Don't steal my Lifetime MoTW story! I know it's tempting, but I really had to work hard the other night to convince my daughter to turn to crack whoring to help a Momma out. :p

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