Friday, November 18, 2005

Jesus Chris

Reading books is OK, but I often think about how tedious it must be to write one. Especially a novel. You have this idea for a story, which is cool, but you have to go through it page by page mechanistically laying out all the details of the chronology. I just finished a science fiction book that is a case in point. Frederick Pohl is a very good sci fi writer (e.g. "Jem," "Gateway," "Beyond the Blue Event Horizon"), and I picked up his "The Siege of Eternity." Doing so violates my undeclared policy of reading only nonfiction, and as a result of this experience I think I'll resume that practice. The book was pretty blah. There's no doubt supposed to be a "wow" factor when you're done, but I'd feel more grateful to Pohl if he'd just say lay out the idea without fleshing it out.

I'd be so grateful if he, and most authors, just put the idea in a one-page treatment. Which is not to say that I could write a great novel, or that it doesn't require considerable skill. But I'd say that the main skill may lie in not realizing how boring the actual artifice is.

I often think up ideas for fiction in the shower. But I never do anything with them other than write a note. I must have 50 unfinished novels on my computer. I've learned from experience that I would need something so gripping, so delicious, so fun, that writing every page would be a delight.

I get that feeling from time to time, but after about a week of planning to start that book tomorrow, I get bored of the idea and shelve it.

Which is where you come in, dear reader. No, I'm not proposing to write a novel online, like they do in NaNoWriMo. Not exactly. I'm asking you to tell me if I should start to write a novel in this blog ... about Jesus Christ.

Now, I know that some of you are Christians, and that your religion is very important to you. And I don't want to offend, but frankly the energy for this project is generated by being that close to giving offense -- without actually doing so.

Having an audience helps generate writing, and having an audience that may want to slit your throat also does.

The basic idea for this one would be that some agnostic young guy who leads a student lifestyle, gets free furniture off the street, lives in sin with his girlfriend, etc., finds out, quite against his will, that the Christian god is very real, indeed all-powerful, and in charge. This guy, call him Chris, also finds out quite against his will, that he himself is Jesus Christ the son of god -- the second coming. Then he drives his girlfriend to the abortion clinic so that she can terminate her pregnancy. I don't foresee a crass story -- it's not a mockery in which he does everything in his power to infuriate the father god. He wrestles quite sincerely with the questions raised, and he tries to do good.

What do you think? Has this already been done many times and is now trite?
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