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I am totally adicted to the Twilight series of books by Stephanie Meyer. These are books about vampires, and I read the first two, almost a thousand pages worth, in just a few days. And I just ordered the next two. Along with the first four books from Ann Rice's vampire series. I'm obsessed. And until I read these books I never gave a shit about vampire stuff. Never watched Buffy or any of those other shows, no vampire movies. Never cared.
When this chick was reading these Twilight books on my flight to Eau Claire told me about the book she was reading, I just rolled my eyes. But she went on and on about how good they were. And then there was in the bookstore in the airport and they had the first one for sale, and it looked like it was a well acclaimed book and a New York Times bestseller so I said "why not?"
But the fact that these books are about vampires is not the embarassing part. Although that's enough.
No, these books are embarassing because they are absolutely so ridiculously sappy and over the top at times that a teenage girl would want to puke. I mean, let's face it, they are chick books. Extra chicky chick books, at times. Romance novels. Vampire romance novels. This is what I have been reduced to.
There, I said it. I'm reading chick books. Even my wife mocked me for one of the quotes she read off the back.
I am no longer fully a man, I guess. Or maybe this means I am gay now. I don't know, I am so confused. All I know is that I like these books and I plan on finishing the series out if it kills me.
So I've decided to write the great American novel. The whole thing is in its very early planning stages, so I don't want to talk too much about it. The book will touch on several themes, including altered states of consciousness, the maturing Gen-X, and urban sprawl, but I will try to stay away from political commentary. And I think there will be aliens in my book, although it definitely will NOT be a work of science fiction. I think I am going to name it "Asleep At The Switch." Although I know that no course or book can really tell you how to write a book, and frankly I don't want anyone telling me how I should write my book (the movie "Adaptation" immediately comes to mind), I still think there are some basic things I can learn about the process that will help me immensely. A week or so ago I saw that Barnes & Noble has a whole section devoted to this subject, so I think I'll check it out. I know I can do it, because I know I am a good writer, and generally, people that can write well in one style can write well in any style. Like I said, as of now this is all just alot of ideas in my head, with a couple of scribles on paper so I won't forget. I don't even really have the main characters in mind. Check back later for more updates.
One thing I have noticed more and more lately, and that seems to be an interesting side effect of the information age, is people's obsession with knowing whether a story is "true" or not. Anyone who knows anything about story tellers and the stories they tell simply assumes that the best stories are, at a minimum, embellished, and often outright fabrications meant to demonstrate a particular emotion, universal truth or moral. I find that, more and more, people are no longer as willing to put the fact-finding portion of their brain on hold and simply enjoy a good story for what it is, regardless of its "truth." People seem too obsessed with finding out exactly "what happened," which is almost never what is important about a good story. And I am pretty sure the explosion of information available through media, the internet, etc. is to blame. One of my favorite authors, Tim O'Brien, wrote about storytelling in a way that explains some of what I am trying to say. The summary is from O'Brien's book "The Things They Carried." A very good essay describing Tim O'Brien's metafictional analysis in "The Things They Carried" can be found here.