Monday, April 16, 2012


I love beginnings—the start of a friendship, the first sentence of a great book, that sensual kiss that leads to foreplay. One beginning that I love most, one I experienced today, starts with an idea and a blank sheet of paper.

Yes, I started a new manuscript today. It will eventually turn into a novel exploring homophobia in the military during the time of DADT. The story involves a straight, Naval Petty Officer who, because of financial difficulties with supporting his wife and child, takes a second job delivering flowers for a florist. Because it is well known that the florist owners are gay, word begins floating around the Navy base that the Protagonist must be gay as well. The wave of homophobic hate that is directed at him will shake his foundations and threaten his family.

About a year ago, I wrote a detailed outline for this story. My husband, Herman, liked the plot/premise so much he decided to write a screenplay version of the story. He and I worked for two months on the characters and plot development. It was a wonderful experience working together. We were in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and every day we would walk to a park and sit under shade trees beside a fishpond. We discussed each character and how they relate to each other. We developed a backstory for all the major players and even some minor ones.

Herman has written about half the screenplay, but then got sidetracked with buying a new house and getting us relocated. Now he is going back to the story, and I have begun writing the novel version.

This is the first time we have worked together on a story. Even though I enjoyed co-writing the outline and character profiles with him, I must admit, I’m a little concerned. You see, I’ve written one other story with a screenwriting partner that didn’t turn out well for me. I had an idea for a great story that involved a Native American tribe trying to buy a Las Vegas casino. I had a clear vision of the story, but of course my writing partner also wanted to express his vision of the story, and since it was a collaboration, who was I to say no? My problem was, when the story took new directions, and moved away from what I wanted to write, I lost interest. That was two years ago, and we have yet to finish the second draft because I have no desire to work on it.

However, with this project I’m willing to take a chance. Herman had a number of really great ideas and I’m sure he will continue to bring a fresh approach to this story. If we can pull it off, actually finish this, I feel certain it will not only be a great story, but it will pull us closer together. I guess worst case is we don’t finish it and we end up in divorce court.


David Kentner -- KevaD said...

First, the story sounds like one I would enjoy reading. I was in the army in the seventies, and the mere rumor anyone had a gay friend or associate, or had been in a gay bar for whatever reason drew a lot of unwanted and unnecessary concern along with an automatic air of suspicion.

Next, it sounds like you and Herman are very much in tune with each other for this project, and the collaboration will provide we readers with a wonderful story.

Best of luck with this, because I'm looking forward to the finished product.

Victor J Banis said...

I'm not a fan of collaborating, though I have done that in the past - it mostly didn't work out too well for me - but my experience and yours might be quite different - and it will, indeed, bring you closer together.

H.B. Pattskyn said...

I collaborated on a number of very youthful efforts with my best friend a very, very long time ago. We occasionally bickered, but it was a great experience... the stories probably not so great *g*.

I have the sneaking suspicion divorce court *isn't* in your future, but a great novel and screen play are.


AlanChinWriter said...

Thanks for the kind words and the support. Herman and I have distintly different ideas about plot and structure, but he has a nack for charaters. I'm trusting he will create something special, and I will be there to record it. It's my way of drawing him into my world of writing. I'm sure this is a good thing for us.