Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Amateur Hour: Closet Fictioneers, Show Yourselves.

Though we are by no means experts in the field of literature (see our ‘About’ page for proof), this site was developed to help curate a better reading experience for regular, work-a-day slobs just like us. We’ll leave it to you to grade us out on that objective, but from the beginning we’ve striven to be more than your standard book-review blog. Much of what we post is meant to amuse, sure, but if you look closely, you’ll notice that any time we share something we like or dislike, there is also an undercurrent of “how-to” analysis below the surface. Why does something work? Why does it not? What is the author doing there?

In digging a little deeper, we’re not just trying to be thorough or interesting. I’ll freely admit that our motives are somewhat selfish. We're trying to learn the tricks of the trade. You see, at some point the desire to curate blossoms into a desire to create. And I guess this is the post where I come out of the closet as a hobbyist writer of fiction.

I am, to date, the proud author of five and a half short stories and one-fifth of an unfinished novel. Not much, I admit, but the fifty thousand words I’ve amassed is nothing to sneeze at, either.

I doubt you’ll see any of these stories posted here in this virtual space- for one thing that’s not why you come here, and for another, they may be complete crap. I write them mainly for me. I don’t belong to a writers’ group, I’ve never submitted anything to a paying market, and I’ve never shown any of them to more than one or two people. I guess you could say I’m exactly like J.D. Salinger- only without the illustrious publication credits, the international acclaim or the hordes of people wondering what I’m working on in my hermit-like secrecy.

Still, I find it’s a fascinating pastime. I enjoy tinkering with stories that range from humorous, to dark, to sentimental to something bordering on the fantastical.

Because he and I have traded stories over the past few months, I know that fellow Shelf Actualizer Tucker is also a closeted fictioneer. (More on that tomorrow.) And even our silent partner Orlando could be talked into a collaborative story the three of us typed out in Google Docs last summer. So, I figure there may be others out there who could relate to this secret creative drive.

Anyway, because I’m a such a  sucker for stories about stories (like this metafiction piece by Etgar Keret), I thought I’d share a brief description of the complete works of MacEvoy DeMarest, as comprised on 2/29/12. Maybe it'll interest you, maybe it won't:

  • The Autobahn Accords: Four friends on a European road trip put their conflict resolution skills to the ultimate test after one of them inadvertently urinates on another. Based on a true story. (I’m not even kidding.)
  • Jakčeva 39: Two aspiring writers make a pact to embark on an experiment in expat living that will have very different consequences for each of them.
  • E-Concourse: A clinically depressed airline employee with nothing to lose agrees to smuggle something past security, only to be awakened to his folly by something he witnesses at the departure gates.
  • Convalescence at Connorly: While holed up in a crumbling southern mansion, a victim of a rec league soccer injury meets an unlikely mentor that will change his life forever.
  • A Perfect Season: Four college roommates spark a literary renaissance when they decide to run an illegal bookstore out of their East-side Salt Lake City home. (If this one ever does see the light of day, it will be rather obvious that is a direct outgrowth of this short story)
  • Untitled Work-In-Progress: A foreign service employee is left to wonder whether he caused the suicide of his closest friend in the Central European country where he is stationed.
  • Untitled Novel-In-Progress: A reluctant runaway and inveterate daydreamer strikes out across the globe to find the mysterious stranger who could be the key to realizing his dreams of adventure. Along the way he learns what it is to lose and be lost, and whether he is really ready to stand on his own two feet- or something like that...

So what about you? Are any of you closet fabulists? If so, what do you write? And if not, what would you write it you ever put pen to paper? I seriously get a kick out of this stuff. Inquiring minds want to know...


  1. Does it count if I think about writing all the time? I used to write stories and poems as a child/teenager, but somewhere along the way I gave it up. I'm always dreaming of writing a great novel, though.

  2. I'm going to make an official ruling here: Yes, I believe that counts.

    My first bonafide attempt to take pen in hand was preceded by years of "thinking about writing all the time."

    So, you know... do it, I guess.