When you're working on a writing project, it usually isn't good to talk too much about it because you risk telling-and not writing-the story.
That said, I always like it when writer friends tell me what they're working on and I never hesitate to talk about my stuff, especially novels which are so complex. I know a girl who likes me to tell her what I'm writing and I like doing it. It helps to say what I think I'm writing. Of course, you run the risk of boring the shit out of people by talking about writing so I usually wait to be asked...
What's that? You want to hear about my latest novel? I thought you'd never ask.
'CONDO: THE STORY OF HOW LAS VEGAS GOT HIGH' is about a bunch of cool people who live in a Las Vegas condominium project called La Mirage. The story begins in the late 1980's and goes up to today.
Roy Richards is a 30-something attorney with one client: La Mirage Condominiums, which, on page one, is inherited by a 20-year old Mormon guy named Brad Hughes. Brad is drunk, high, completely stoned and pretty much naked throughout the first 100 pages of the book, so he's not what you'd call a "good Mormon."
Early in the story, a beautiful dancer-Kerri Dozier-moves into La Mirage and takes a job at Jubilee at Bally's on the Las Vegas Strip.
My favorite character is a guy named Chy Rivers. Chy is a "kept man," a popular young lounge singer who is taken care of by an exotic and beautiful Saudi princess. Chy is "impossibly handsome," more beautiful than anyone at La Mirage, or in Las Vegas for that matter. He's better looking than the women he dates and he dates loads of really hot women.
There is a disabled retired gentleman, an old mob physican named Dr. Romano, who wheels through the story, freely prescribing pills and dispensing wisdom as he goes. Lainie Penn is a dark and beautiful ex-hooker and well-connected pot dealer. Anderi is a Russian circus performer who becomes the personal chauffeaur to the top female singer on the Las Vegas Strip.
Roy Richards got himself into trouble with the state bar association but Roy's an honorable guy with powerful friends so he's not hard to cheer for. Plus he is me so I like him. Brad Hughes was a little hard to get a handle on, until I just let go. It turns out that young Brad is crazy as shit and funny as hell.
WHAT ABOUT CHY?
Kerri Dozier is based on a dancer I knew-and loved-and Lainie Penn isn't too far removed from a tough chick I've known for a long time. Now I'll admit that the name Chy Rivers has been in my head for years. I knew a cool kid in high school named Chy and I always liked water-based last names but, the more I wrote, the harder it became for me to see this guy, to really create an interesting person and not just a character. I mean, a lady's man with loads of swagger? A guy who is 'kept' by the daughter of Saudi Prince so wealthy that the family can't even count their money? I mean, what does THAT guy look like?
When I was first writing Roy Richards I caught a break. I was talking about the book to a girl I know and the next day, she brought me a men's magazine and pointed out the actor JASON BEHR. He starred in that TV show 'Roswell' a few years back. Cool looking dude. She looks at me and says, "I think he's nice. Is this what Roy Richards looks like ? " I smiled at her. "He does now." I was deep into the first draft and could see all of my characters so clearly, except Chy Rivers. I mean, the guy was just too perfect. The women of La Mirage come out on their balconies every afternoon just to watch Chy walk to the mailboxes. Like a male (mail?) version of the Girl From Ipanema, ya know? 100% straight but admired by the guys at La Mirage too. Oh, he's not only a hunk, but dude's got a sweet voice. He sings at Cleopatra's Barge at Caesars Palace.
Well, I kept writing and as I did, the story of Las Vegas going high rise just fell into place for me. I mean, many nights I'd write until sunup, trying to keep up with it all until finally, I finished the first draft. Nearly 900 pages and wow, we have a good story.
I set aside 'Condo: The Story of How Las Vegas Got High' and co-wrote some exciting projects including a 'live' stage show. a TV pilot and also a pretty cool thing for my pretty cool friend VALENTINO. Then I created something new for the young actor and magician R.J. CANTU. You see, R.J. had me write some special material for his Magic Castle show and once that was complete, I wrote a piece called 'Vampires in Vegas,' turing the likeable boy next-door into a horrible guy underground. They are going to film 'Vampires in Vegas' later this year. Unlike recent vampire stories, I swear that this one will scare the shit out of you for serious.
Now, I'm back at it, trying to complete the final draft of my novel this year. Man I'm glad I'd set it aside. Here's what happened:
Remember the girl who gave me the magazine with the handsome actor JASON BEHR? I'm lucky to have a friend who likes to hear what I'm writing, someone with taste and, ya know, who'll put up with me. So one night, she puts in a movie, one I just knew was gonna be lame and I say, "Wait. Who is THAT?" She smiled. "His name is JOSH HENDERSON but you'll probably call him 'Chy.' " She was right. Turns out that the cool looking kid from Desperate Housewives can sing. And he's got moves!
Unlike TIGER WOODS, I never watched Desperate Housewives but I saw JOSH HENDERSON work the room at a Las Vegas club a while back and I knew when I watched the crowd that night that Josh had "it."
Now let's be clear: I'm not talking about about how cool and talented JOSH HENDERSON is. No sir. I'm talking about writing. This is about how talented I am. Well, me and also my cool friend who talks to me about what I'm writing. Okay, and a little bit about Josh too, but look, how 'bout a little love tonight okay? The writer never gets much credit, and that's probably fair because most of us are dorks.
I'm re-working the ending of my novel now and in the process I've gotten so involved with each of the characters that they have become real to me. Some of the people are idealized versions of old friends, others are based on new friends. Many of them I totally made up but here's the truth: I dig them.
I dig them all.
- ▼ October (9)
- ► 2009 (90)