The Next Big Thing: Windows

I was tagged by Annie to join the Next Big Thing blog meme. You may have seen it going around the internet like mad (in the writers’ blog circle, at least.) Go check out Annie’s next big thing, Once the Darkness Comes, which sounds really fascinating! And then I’m so far behind on my blog reading that I didn’t even know that my friend, Shana had already tagged me too in hers too, (*headdesk*), so go check out her post about the second in her amazing Swan’s Landing series: Submerging too!

My own next big thing is actually quite a “small” thing. A novelette, which I’m thinking might end up at around 15,000 words (that’s about 50 pages in print, though this one won’t be printed until I release my WIP story collection, How to Stand on Your Hands). Pretty sure it won’t be much bigger than that, but who knows — EWTF turned out about 1.5 times bigger than I thought it would!

#window #sunlight #morningWhat is the working title of your book?

Where did the idea come from for this book?
Well, let’s just say, I used to run a lot when I was younger. And there were some pretty hot guys in my neighborhood. But that is all Leslie and I share in similarities. Honest, lol!

What genre does your book fall under?
It’s a quirky sort of literary fiction, edging on psychological drama, maybe. It’s definitely a dark comedy too. New adult, if that is indeed a thing. Leslie is twenty-two years old and fresh out of college.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Alright, it’s gonna be a run-on one though. πŸ˜‰

Leslie harbors an intense crush on one of her boss’s clients, Joshua, and she loves jogging at dusk, when the windows come alive with families, with lovers, with unknown friends; her curiosity gets the best of her… and the worst too.

How long did it take to write the first draft?
This is a very old story. It’s one of the few pieces I’m keeping from my college work. But even then, the first draft of this story was only 3000 words. And now it’s grown almost 4 times in size. While I’m keeping the basic shape of the story, I’ve added so much to it that it’s hardly the same. The “new first draft” that I’m finishing up right now took me just a couple weeks. It was one of my NaNo projects for this year.

So I’m not sure how to answer this question. In a way, this new first draft has only taken me a few weeks. But on the other hand, it’s taken me almost ten years to write it.

What actors would you use for a movie rendition of your book?
Leslie: she’s hard for me to see. She’s not a woman who really sees herself much in the world – she lives a lot in her imagination – so when I’m in her head, I don’t really see her either. I’m going to hate myself for saying this, but honestly, I could see Kristen Stewart pulling it off. She does vacant well, I think, lol! She’s plain, awkward, and sort of odd-looking, creepy in a harmless way (really, can’t you see it?). I’d like her hair lighter brown and shoulder-length, like she wore it pre-Twilight. She’s actually been in a lot of indie films too, and is not bad when she’s not trying to be Bella Swan.

For her “friend”, Brian, I’m thinking Michael Cera, but that could be because I’m imagining those horrible little jogging shorts he wore in Juno, lol! Brian is supposed to be about eighteen, tall, skinny, and boldly dorky. But I’m terrible at keeping up with the young actors, so I don’t know who else is out there at the moment.

Joshua just needs to look incredibly gorgeous, so he could be anyone really. πŸ˜‰

Will it be self published or represented by an agency?
Self published like the renegade indie that I am! πŸ˜€

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Something made me keep coming back to this one over the years. It’s been through about a million revisions, a dozen or so rejections (I stopped sending it out years ago knowing there was something missing from it). Of all my college work though, most of it I’m burying in the closet, but this one keeps begging to be finished.

Eventually I learned what the story needed (eventually I also learned to tell stories properly in general — ten years does amazing things to a writer, lol!). I also think EWTF helped a bit with that. Leslie’s story was born before she was “Leslie”, but it wasn’t until I wrote EWTF and I met Drew’s Aunt Irene that I thought, “Hey, she seems a lot like this other girl’s mother.” And this girl had a father out of the picture too, and an older sister, all which fit the story. So I put the two characters together, and that was how the nameless girl in my old draft of Windows became Drew’s cousin Leslie.

Leslie’s “friend” Brian is a new and much needed addition as well. She needed something to bring her back out of her head from time to time. He forces her to face the real world, even when she doesn’t want to. So with these brand new layers, the story blossomed. It all fit together really nicely, new themes came out, and the revision just poured out of me.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This is hard. I want to say some of Mary Gaitskill’s work, a bit, for the characters, the oddity, and the writing, though I’m really not a fan of her storytelling at all. I was also reading a lot of A.M Homes when I first wrote this back in college, but again, it’s got more story to it than some of hers. For the story — a lonely character who is obsessed with something to an unhealthy degree, which is really just a distraction for the deeper troubles in their mind — I’ve seen a lot of indie comedies that would fit the bill, but I can’t recall any books at the moment. So I’ll give you an indie film, Lars and the Real Girl. Not just because it has Ryan Gosling in it.

And no, pretty as he is, we can’t get Ryan Gosling to play Joshua (he’s too blond). And besides, I have him in mind for another WIP of mine. πŸ˜‰

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, Leslie is a true and actual stalker… so there’s that, lol!

This story also got me one of the best rejections I’ve ever gotten. It was a really neat hand-written note from one of my favorite lit journals, Zoetrope All-Story. It was short and sweet — he wrote, “Thanks for the interesting read.” Yes, it was still a rejection, but dude, I was 24 and fresh off my English degree, and Zoetrope is not only one of my absolute favorite lit journals, but also totally top tier. I wasn’t really expecting that much even. But in this business, you take every grain of encouragement you can get!

I’m tagging:

Kim Haas! Go check out her blog and add it to your bookmarks, and she’ll be telling us about her WIP soon!

And because most of the people I know have been tagged already, here are some more of my friends who have already done it or have been tagged and plan to do this soon:
N.M. Martinez
Leah Raeder
Zoe Cannon
Ashlee Scheuerman
Paula Jones