Saturday, January 28, 2017

THE WORST AMERICAN NOVEL




It was a dark and stormy night. I was safely, I thought, securely wrapped in the cocoon of my warm blankets, ready for a long and comforting night’s sleep. Next thing I knew I was somewhere between being fast asleep and waking. Or was I just simply dreaming? You’ve been there, haven’t you?

Suddenly there was a blinding flash of light reminding me of our ships six inch guns firing during the war. I’m waiting for the retort of those huge guns. Waiting to hear that explosive sound that would shake the ship and resonate all the way into my chest. Still quiet. It’s probably just lightening, but where is the loud thunderclap that always follows. No frightening explosive noise. No rumbling. Had someone fired a gun at me? No pain as I would expect there to be and once again no deafening noise. Maybe it’s the light at the end of the tunnel. No it can’t because I don’t hear the roar of the train. Could be those awful bright car lights that thoughtless people leave on even when they see me coming towards them on that pitch black back road? Or was this the end, I mean the real end and I’m seeing the light that everyone talks about that has died and come back to life?

I hear my head saying it’s only a dream. Go back to sleep. But the light keeps getting brighter and brighter. It’s as intense as a welder’s torch and I can’t turn it off.

I finally see the light! It’s the cartoon light bulb. It’s getting brighter and brighter! I’m going to put the band back together. No, I can’t put something back together that I never had. It must be, it must be, the on- going idea of writing the Great American Novel. Wait, I tried that and have been editing my books for literally years with no satisfactory outcome, meaning no published books. Oh that’s right. Books don’t get published unless they are actually submitted for publication. I see the problem here.

Writing groups keep telling me that I use clichés and my plots and characters are the ones people have used for centuries. I guess their feedback means even my plots and characters must be clichés. Then they tell me to write what I know. Well what I know comes from my life experiences and books I read. So my whole life must be a cliché. So what was the caption in the Light Bulb?

Write the Worst American Novel and millions will buy it just to see how bad it really is. Can I do this with enough skill that the reader won’t realize it was all tongue in cheek and how many clichés can I actually get into one novel? Sometimes it just feels good to be silly! What’s the worst cliché, character or plot you have ever experienced? Let me know and I’ll try to include it in my “Worst American Novel”.

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