My first attempt at a novel after rebooting my fiction writing (22 years since my 12-yo attempt), was as I mentioned in the last post, called Meme.
It was very high-concept, and grounded in characters developed during NaNoWriMo of 2010 or 2011, I don’t remember which. The central theme & question was: “What if the average person had the capability to leverage memes to transform the way the masses think?”
Most of the characters were archetypes of my experience of living in San Francisco: The Ravers (who secretly desire to positively change the world), The Young Idealists, The High Powered Evil Executives, The Super Spy, and a collective of Hipster Anarchists.
The plot had a few major threads: The Young Idealists, who are part of a mysterious organization whose goal is hazy, but is centered around creating a meta-meme: a meme that would allow others to easily, and powerfully generate their own memes. The Super Spy helping them with a technology that will amplify their efforts. The Ravers who stumble upon the meta-meme, and want to use it somehow to change the world. The Evil Executive who has legal rights to the Super Spy’s technology, and wants to use it to bend the will of consumers to being susceptible to powerful advertising without them even being aware of it (more than currently). The Hipster Anarchists who end up working with The Young Idealists (and the Super Spy’s tech), providing as their contribution to the partnership, a meme exchange—a trust network of sorts to allow user’s of the meta-meme to share and exchange memes they want to spread.
Ok, a lot of major threads. In any case, I love the ideas in the story, but the writing is still so-so, the characters need more fleshing out, and the end-game of the plot needs to be figured out a lot more concretely.
Also, I worry that if I wait too long to finish this, it will become dated, since it takes place roughly near-future, and references a variety of semi-current events.
One note—since this was a NaNoWriMo project, I found myself getting stuck sometimes and indulging in writing sex scenes just to get the word count, in part, as a legitimate expression of the character’s personalities and goals, but also in part because they were fun to try my hand at.
My next novel took a turn to see how far I could go with that, and I’ll talk about that in my next post. And my latest novel actually tried maybe too hard to avoid sex altogether, which I am now learning from my writing group feedback is maybe bordering on unrealistic, given the characters.