Thinking about a story line. I only have ideas, actually just fragments of ideas.
Reason for this hodge lodge of ideas is that I’ve been seeing a lot of what’s called Dystopian fiction. At Barnes & Noble. On Netflix. Etc. etc.
There is in fact, at the time of this writing, a table display at our local Barnes & Noble consisting of Dystopian novels such as “1984” by George Orwell, “Atlas Shrugged” and “Anthem” by Ayn Rand, “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, and “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury, amongst others.
On television and film, Dystopia runs amok. “The Walking Dead,” “Game of Thrones,” “House of Cards,” “Welcome to Leith,” along with a new made-for-screen version of “The Handmaid’s Tale” are all the rage.
After watching an episode of one of these shows, I turned to my wife and thought out loud: “What would it be like to create a Dystopian/Utopian/whatever story where life DIDN’T suck?” We both, of course, laughed that one off, because there’s no way for that to exist.
But… What if it could?
As you can see from my last few posts, I have been attempting to at least research what it is that makes for good writing. I have never been very good at writing; and as you can tell, my grammar still needs some coaching.
But this idea of a “Doesn’t Suck” Dystopian story (guess you’d call it a Utopian story then, right?) keeps coming back to me.
So, I’m going to at least give it a go, just hope I don’t give it up too quickly.
For starters, I found a book on writing at the basic level entitled “How to Write a Sentence” by Stanley Fish. 160 pages of probably the best boot camp for writers ever published. This work, as well as another textbook, “How to Read Literature Like a Professor” by Thomas C. Foster, both mention a novel by Ford Madox Ford: The Good Soldier. I knew about Ford from Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast which I read during my two week career at the Chandler Wal-Mart during March of 2015. Hemingway talked mostly of Ford’s putrid breath and what a liar he was; Fish & Foster both praised The Good Soldier for its narrative genius. So I purchased a copy from the Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard during vacation, and have been trudging through it. Although the writing is magnificent, it’s a puzzle to figure out where it’s narrator, John Dowell, is at any given moment. Couple that with page after page of 1915-era adultery, and the whole business soon becomes a chore. The Good Soldier, has however, given me a model for the narrative writing style. The way that Dowell is “at the same time…completely believable and therefore pathetic” (Foster, p.215) shows the genius of Ford Madox Ford.
My initial story line is thus:
Our narrator, Mr. Joe Everyman, finally has enough vacation time saved to actually have one. He visits his local travel agency, and asks for the best bang for the buck. He’d like white beaches, blue water, and to be completely wined, dined, and lavished upon. The travel agent then suggests a small island between the Cayman Islands and Cuba called Omorfi (Greek for “beautiful”). Cheap fares, and it’s in the off season, so not many Americans there at this time of year. Joe likes the idea, so he settles for a week in Omorfi.
When he gets there, he finds Omorfi to be an experience he’d never dreamed of.
Sounds like an advertisement now, I understand. But there’s more here in Omorfi than meets the eye..
More coming soon.