Saturday, February 12, 2011

CKR: May 2006, Part 1

(Continued from CKR: April 2006...)
MAY 2006
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
Started Chapter 22 today, the one where the main character (a.k.a. protagonist) drives to the concert and gets stopped by the police. I skipped a few chapters because I don’t know anything about radio stations and producing radio programs. My protagonist is a producer/writer and I’d like to include at least one scene where he’s on the job, possibly two, so I sent an email to the general manager of a local radio station, hoping I can at least see what a studio looks like and maybe get some insight as to what the hell my character does for a living. Plus, another interview means another Acknowledgement, which will help promotions once the book’s published.

A few years ago, I got arrested in Georgia while driving south on I-95. It’s a long story with twists and turns that I won’t bore you with, but the police scene in CKR—despite my changing the charges, the circumstances, and most everything else—hopefully gives an accurate portrayal of the anxiety I felt throughout the strange ordeal of being caught red-handed for something I didn’t mean to do, then discovering my license had been suspended three years earlier for doing something I didn’t know I’d done. Another “fun fact” about this chapter is that it’s the only one in the book that uses actual song lyrics and not merely titles. My thinking was this: If I get permission to use lyrics, I’ll keep them in; if I don’t, I’ll have only one chapter to edit.

Thursday, May 4, 2006
The Pens critiqued Chapters 3 and 4 tonight. Everyone’s in agreement that Chapter 3, as it’s written, has to go. It’s the one where the guys get stoned while driving to Orlando on Friday. The dialogue’s good, but there’s not enough action and men simply don’t talk that much—even when they’re high—so I need to break it up a bit, maybe have them pull over somewhere. Or stop for coffee. Or something. Randy’s read through Chapter 10 and he skimmed through the sex scenes. I told him, where the sex is concerned, I’m trying to walk the line between literature and porn. He says it’s a close call. Good! Kid Rock did a thing on the Showbiz Show with David Spade tonight (Comedy Central), but I missed it drinking with the Pens after the meeting. He supposedly spoofed his sex tape. He’s fucking everywhere! And I’m getting pissed that everybody keeps “stealing” my ideas. Like when I started writing Immortal and discovered Deadwood. I’d write a scene & they’d do one just like it. Or the CSI:Miami episode that had someone falling overboard without a trace. I know it’s just the “blue car syndrome,” where it seems like everyone is copying me, but this is getting ridiculous.

Friday, May 5, 2006
I’m still not sleeping well and, although I appreciate this “drive” thing, I don’t see how killing myself is going to help finish this book. After throwing-up my morning coffee (I’m really not healthy these days), I decided to ditch Friday housework & laundry today (say it with me: aaahhhhh) to edit Chapters 5 and 6, revise the strip club scene to change the song and include the second dancer, and put this Diary together. I’ve been racking my brain for weeks trying to think of a “blog” idea to help market and promote my stuff, but I don’t really know what a “blog” is and what the hell do I have to say that anyone else would be interested in? But then, what kind of question is that, considering my plan to write books for a living? Is that hypocritical? Or just fuckin’ stupid?

Saturday, May 6, 2006
I was at a dinner party with friends tonight, drinking, laughing, and shooting the shit, when I casually mentioned to our friend Chris that I was working on a book titled Chasing Kid Rock. I didn’t go into detail, but I did mention that, although the storyline has little to do with Kid Rock, I’m hoping, once it’s finished, that I can get the guy to at least read it and maybe endorse it or give me a blurb for the back cover or something. Now, because we’ve known Chris for several years, I forget that he’s an executive editor for a local nightlife magazine. So when he said, “Do you wanna meet him?”—like it’s no big thing to just make a couple calls and go hang out with Kid Rock—I was stunned. If I thought I couldn’t sleep before, it’ll be much worse now, because I’m armed with the knowledge that it really is possible for a housewife in South Florida to get to Kid Rock. What if the book’s not good enough? What if he doesn’t like it? I think I’m going to puke. Again.

Sunday, May 7, 2006
Scott and I sat on our patio until 2:30 last night (or would that be this morning?), talking about the book and what I hope to get out of it. Because my husband’s not a big reader—I joke all the time about his reading only Florida Sportsman and Fortune magazines and having zero interest in fiction—the fact that we discussed the book for a couple hours is amazing in and of itself. But he knows me better than anyone (sixteen years of marriage will do that), and, like me, he’s a Kid Rock fan, so he understands how deeply personal this project is and how passionate I am about it. He also knows that I know what I’m capable of. Of course I want a bestseller, what author doesn’t? Of course I want it to be well-written and funny and explicit and controversial and everything that Kid Rock is, but, at the end of the day, this book is really just a big “Thank You” note to express my gratitude for filling the last decade of my life with a kick-ass soundtrack. And for inspiring me to fast-forward through confidence and bravely embrace Cocky, because I know I’m good at what I do and “it ain’t braggin’…if you back it up.” If that makes me a groupie, so be it. And if I sell a million copies, even better. Fuck the critics and the people who will think I only wrote this book to make a buck. They have no idea what it’s like to be not merely inspired but driven. To lose sleep, skip meals, ignore family and friends, and let everything around me go to shit because I believe with everything I am that I can take this book where it needs to go. And, despite the obvious commercial possibilities, I’m doing it for only two people: the man who rattles my car speakers every day and the man who shares my bed every night. I wouldn’t be where I am without either one of them…and it’s payback time.

I guess I was about half-way through the manuscript draft when the first signs of my overactive ego shifted gears, but I only recently noticed. Within my writer’s group, we’ve debated whether or not a big ego is necessary for a writer, and there are people on both sides of the fence. I could blame Kid Rock for showing me how cocky’s done, but then who do I blame for all the times I was full of myself prior to 1998? Besides, I can’t help but think that this book needs a little arrogance in its promotion, maybe even in its creation. Would YOU buy a book titled Chasing Kid Rock if it was written by a housewife? I wouldn’t. That would be boring as hell. So, as I’m writing, I can’t think of myself as a housewife. I have to be a storyteller worthy of the challenge and confident that I can write this book better than anyone else. So, if you spot attitude in the book or in its promotion, now you’ll know why it’s there.

Monday, May 8, 2006
I’ve got some ideas rolling around for two new chapters that would become Chapters 1 and 2 and shift everything else up (which means the chapter numbers I’ve mentioned in this Diary will likely be different when the book’s in print). I need to get the main character’s description in early, plus the reader needs to like him—identify with him—and the way the book starts now, he seems like an ass (see, the Pens were right). I’m also thinking about adding a scene at the end where the protagonist hides in a bathroom and Kid Rock comes in to use the urinal. Just an idea. We’ll see if it flies. And, because I haven’t had the time to really put my writing head on (this wife and mother thing is seriously getting in the way of my writing career), I’ve started working on the book proposal, which consists of the “hook,” the target audience appeal, and a 3-page synopsis. I’m sure it will change when the Pens get hold of it, but here’s what the hook is now:

Despite a weekend full of sex, drugs, and NASCAR, radio show writer and producer Ted Seever can’t stop thinking about his wife’s unexpected request for a divorce. Should he take the advice of his two adulterous best friends and let her go? Or should he tuck his pride between his legs and try to win her back?

With only six chapters to go, I’m also growing more concerned with the publishing issue. I’m bound under contract to give the publisher of my first book the first crack at my next book, but I’m worried the small company won’t have the resources to take CKR where it needs to go. But, since my first priority is to finish the book, I’m trying not to think about it too much.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006
What the fuck was I thinking? I’m worried about my publisher discovering I have a “next” book that I’m contractually bound to give him, and then I put a diary together to market the book I don’t want him to know about and make plans to publish the diary as a “blog” on the Internet where my publisher can see exactly what I’m doing. God I’m an idiot! So, it’s square-one again. I’ll submit the book like I’m supposed to, see if he wants it, and if he does, then I guess I’ll let him have it. I’ll just make sure the contract allows me to sell the paperback rights in a timely fashion. And then, of course, there’s the movie….? (And I have the perfect opening song: Where U At Rock.) But on a happier note, I spat out the first six pages of the new first chapter. (I’m keeping the first sentence a surprise.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Finished the new Chapters 1 and 2 today, which introduce the protagonist much better than the originals did. I think the Pens will approve. Unfortunately, adding the chapters at the beginning shifted all the chapters I’ve written up a couple numbers (meaning the old Chapter 1 is now Chapter 3, etc.). It wouldn’t be so bad if each chapter wasn’t a separate file named after the chapter. Once the book’s finished, it’ll all be combined into one file, but, for now, it’s a little confusing. I also counted the number of pages I have so far: 230. I’m shooting for 90,000 words, or roughly 330, double-spaced pages (using Times New Roman 12pt). But if I hit 80,000 words and feel the book’s complete, I’ll be okay with that. I am, after all, writing this for men who don’t read, so what’s a few thousand pages?

When I wrote the first draft of these chapters, I had no idea what the inside of a radio studio looked like, nor did I have a firm grasp of my characters’ responsibilities in his profession. But I plowed ahead, anyway, and will go back and edit after I’ve met with the radio station GM. (One of the benefits of writing a scene before you do an interview is that you’ve got a better idea of what specific questions to ask.)

There’s nothing duller than a fish story.

Thursday, May 11, 2006
Lately, I’ve been popping Zantacs like they’re Tic Tacs. My two cats, who usually stick to me like glue, have given up on me and started snuggling with Scott. This can’t be a good sign. But I keep reminding myself it’ll be worth it. Without time for “real” writing, I’ve been working on the Diary and some promotional ideas. I’ve also started making some notes to update my website (, which is about two years old, contains outdated material, and needs a facelift. Plus, I can feel the anxiety kicking in over hurricane season, which begins in only a few weeks.

Friday, May 12, 2006
I very rarely dream, but, last night, I dreamt that I bought two snakes at a pet shop, let them loose in my house, then worried constantly—frantically—that they’d eat my cats. I hate snakes. I woke up in a sweat, asking, “Why would I willingly create such chaos in my own house?” I’m thinking it’s time to take a Kid Rock break.

Saturday, May 13, 2006
No writing this Mother’s Day weekend. Scott called me from work yesterday and requested that I stop talking about Kid Rock and the possibility of meeting him. He’s taken his copy of the Live Trucker CD out of his truck. He thinks I’ve become an ├╝ber-groupie. He has no idea. I tried to explain that I’m not planning to meet the guy. That, once I got my head out of the clouds, I realized all I need to do is get someone to whisper in his ear that this book exists. But Scott cut me off. Of course I’d like to meet my musical idol. Who wouldn’t? But writing is a business: you create a product, market it, and hope it sells. It’s just that this book has so much of Kid Rock in it, it wouldn’t be right—although it’s perfectly legal—to publish it without him seeing it first. I want him to see the book, not me. He’s got enough people climbing on him without some married-with-children Florida transplant from Rochester, Washington (population 1,829), getting in his face.

(to be continued...)

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