Well, this is the last part of this “Creative Process” series, mainly because I have no other major books in my resume to talk about. Each one of “Cuentos” short stories has a preface giving insights of the tale it precedes; “Hector’s Tale” was written to satisfy a small group of people who kept pestering me about extra details on the sleazy owner of Nosfort’s Junkyard, Hector Lozano… Which leaves me with only “The Karaoke Duo Vs The Karaoke Zombies” a.k.a. “TKDVsTKZ” to discuss here.
It happened on the Amazon Forums. I can even recall the date when the idea first sprung up… August 29th 2012…
I was discussing crazy and silly stuff around the place, like Karaoke Nights, with this 20ish girl who is also a writer… and suddenly the idea of two fumbling, out-of-tune superheroes with musical powers flared inside my mind. I called then the Karaoke Duo and the name stuck… it didn’t vanish nor did it leave me alone.
Ten minutes later, I posted the opening chapter of what would be the first part of a wanna-be series in that same thread. The girl I was discussing Karaoke with earlier seemed to enjoy the stuff what I was posting regularly. That was nice.
However, by the sixth or seventh post I realized I was onto something with the silly and crazy adventures of a girl about 20-sh and… this 40-something, going-over-the-hill fumbling guy… who decide to join forces in a crime-fighting team with the help of their musical superpowers. They sang tunes together… and crazy s**t begins to happen all around them.
So I decided to stop posting my work in progress in that thread; it usually gets distracting and people start to criticize stuff they shouldn’t be criticizing. And why share my work with a bunch of people who wouldn’t pay for it anyway?
Problem is that this 20-sh writer girl wanted to read the advances, and she was wondering if I could e-mail her some of the stuff as it progressed. I saw no harm in it. But there was a lot of harm into it: for me, in the end.
We exchanged about six e-mails during a week. She was celebrating each silly passage I wrote… and she began to suggest a few things here and there; some, I integrated into the tale, others I put into my mental file. She even sent me a picture as she envisioned Fermata Girl, the superheroine of my story, based in the text descriptions I was making of her. It fit down to a T, save a small detail. Fermata Girl was supposed to be a red-haired woman, and this drawing showed she had blonde hair. Ah, well. Blonde it is. This exchange felt quite right. Until I caught myself on the spot! I was writing this tale to impress this young woman! Whoaaaaaa!
This caused my unconscious mind to knock at the barrier between it and my conscious side. I usually don’t let others see the private exchange between these two personal parts of my self, but I think this is now a dire need to do it.
My unconscious (MU from now on): Excuse me… what are you doing?
Me: Me? Nothing… just writing a story.
MU: Can’t you see what you’re doing?
Me: What am I doing?!?!
MU: You’re writing this to impress her. You’re doing it again. You’re having another online crush for someone you barely know. You’re writing another book for the wrong reasons.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a very isolated man, down here in the jungle. There’s nothing really awful in me that can’t be fixed with the love of a caring woman. But this same isolation makes me prone to fall to these things called online crushes. My unconscious mind was right; I was starting to fall for this girl only because she satisfied all my intellectual needs of the moment. And before I started to daydream how would it be in another 20 years (with the two of us married… the vision of us two sitting by a fireplace in a warm living room, proofreading each other’s output of the day, while a gentle snowfall was happening outside the window, was nearly irresistible…) I decided to put a brutal end to all this silly and hopeless imaginings.
Hopeless? Yes, indeed. I had the hunch that this girl would creep out if she ever discovered I was starting to feel all mushy about her. Maybe even lose her lunch, as it’s customary to every woman I’ve set my eyes upon. Sigh.
I cut all my contacts with this young woman. It was necessary an immediate cure to this stupid malady. I even went as far as not accepting her Facebook invitation for the longest time. Luckily, she was the one who didn’t reply my last e-mail. That made it easier.
My unconscious mind had been right; I was now going through all the pains of an online crush. But I remained professional. Now I had a tale worth to write till the end, even if it was incredibly painful to keep working on it.
Four months I toiled with this crazy story. I added a few absurd characters and an even more absurd antagonist. It’s probably the only story that I’ve ever wrote that really didn’t use my customary 95% plot vs. 3% pantsing rule.
Well, I had my story… now what? It was a very sweet tale of a guy in his late 40s who falls in love with a younger woman… A couple reviewers were startled that this romance subplot was lurking in the background. Well, I did what was just; I merely dedicated the book to this young girl and moved on, publishing it as The Karaoke Duo Vs. The Karaoke Zombies.
Life goes on, even for lonely creeps who are forced to live in the depths of a tropical rainforest.