Tuesday, October 22, 2013

WriMo In Progress - The Third Face of Janus

I'd be lying if I didn't admit to a palpable amount of trepidation over this year's National Novel Writing Month. There's always an element of apprehension, of course—churning out 50,000 words in a month's time is certainly daunting. The standard nervousness is exacerbated by my decision to base this year's novel, The Third Face of Janus, at least in part on my life. Names will be changed, personalities blended into new characters, but at its core will lie a significant amount of genuine Me. 

As with any instance of working with an idea I believe to be of sufficient quality, I'm tremendously excited, and more than a little confident, but there's a part of me that's decidedly reluctant to proceed as planned. While I'm no stranger to introspection, however difficult, to endure a sustained effort as such will no doubt take a toll. An upshot of using myself as the basis for the main character is that I'll be able to use my reactions to the writing process as fodder for more writing; whatever issues arise, the novel will essentially feed them into itself, and reaching—if not exceeding—the goal should be no problem whatsoever.

Over the years, I've bounded between extremes in terms of personality. I'm fairly consistent these days, having leveled off a few years ago, but I thought it might be interesting to explore the back story a bit, detailing the effort required to resolve the various selves I felt I exhibited. As I'm writing it as a dramatization, I can play fast and loose with the facts, exaggerate certain elements, and introduce entire fictions to elucidate the experience far more than a simple accounting of reality could do. I'm never short on hypotheticals and counterfactuals to consider; the perspectives afforded by writing this novel alone should be worth the trouble. We're all, ideally, perpetual works in progress, and its not a stretch to suggest the quest to resolve the many aspects of self is a continual one. The title of my novel refers to this stable middle-ground, between conflicting iterations of self, the place of balance between positive and negative extremes. In the end, success will mean finding, identifying as, and donning, the Third Face of Janus.

Much as I may harbor reservations about this project, I'm unbearably eager to begin. There's no rushing the clock, however, and so I'm resigned to obsessive amounts of NaNoPrep. Most of my preparation will be detailed in future posts, but having recently completed the synopsis and excerpt (or in this case, jacket blurb) portions on my NaNoWriMo Author Page, I thought I'd share them here.


Over the past few years, bi-polar freelance writer Jackson Dolakov has managed to pull himself out of the miserable drink-and-drug filled hole in which he spent most of his 20s. Living alone in a basement apartment on the city's west side, he does his best to continue rehabilitating himself and reintegrating into society. Shortly after he enters his 35th year, however, his therapist goes on leave without warning. Bereft of this point of reference, his fledgling attempt at normalcy begins to crumble, and his tenuous hold on rational thought slips inexorably toward the volatile, nightmare purview of his past. As he struggles to keep his world from falling apart, he sifts through a sea of recollection in hopes of finding the key to preventing a complete and total relapse. In the end, his success will depend on whether or not he can find common ground between the amiable gentleman everyone has come to know, and the misanthropic beast he fears he might yet become.

Dust Jacket Blurb

"The nights used to call out to me, fill me with a sense of potential and purpose and power. The car would top a hill's crest, bring the lights of the city into view, and I'd feel this energy surge into and through me, feed some part of my self long starved in the dismal hours of daylight. Or I'd look out the window at home and watch the houselights go out as the old brass art deco lamp on my desk warmed up and shined like day on my hulking grey tank of a typewriter. I'd pour a drink, light a smoke, and breathe fire onto the pages. 

"These days I'm not much for excitement, anticipation; so long as I know there's a few meals and a laugh to be had, I'm just fine facing another day at home. Good enough food, a laugh, or a drink maybe, with a few smokes alongside--old habits die hard. It doesn't take much. I prefer it that way. It wasn't always like this, but a man can only bear so much blood and shame and pain before he's whittled down to the tragic, crippled shape he's doomed to take before finally giving up the ghost. I might have barely entered my thirty-fifth year, but what they used to say still holds true: I'm an old soul, deep down. And I'm not getting any younger..."

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