HOUSE OF DYES (New Novel — W.I.P)

“Anything is Impossible.”

That’s the first line of the new book I started working on today. I adapted it from a short story I couldn’t finish, because it kept growing into a lot of things, short story being none of them. A lot of what is in the short story won’t go in the novel. The 20k + words short story is just a starting point, a catapult to great mysterious things.

It’s a big shift from the 189k word first draft of the epic-fantasy novel I just completed, but its going to be equally challenging. I’ll go all out, as I did with Silhouette of Shadows.

In short, House of Dyes is a story about a girl, who tries to ask the question what is the worst thing  that ever happened to you by telling you what the worst thing she ever did was. I know, it sounded less complicated in my mind than it does written down.

It’s a story about family (or the lack thereof), fraternity, nihilism in the face of one distilled truth — that essentially, truth always assumes many forms because as times change, delusions change along with them. It’s a story within a story about a bunch of ‘friends’ all struggling with the question what they’d do if they knew they’d get away with it. (Don’t take that as the core concept of the book. I’ll only know when am like, half-way and stuck) I’m gunning for a modern day dark’n’twisted Decamereon.

I don’t know if this has been done before, but art isn’t the what, it’s the how.

There’s a lot of stuff to figure out seeing as I don’t outline, I can’t seem to get the hang of it, writing, especially first drafts, for me, is more about getting the story that’s whirling around in my mind like a flock of polythene bags after a tornado, on paper, however way I can get it there.

Outlining never works for me, it makes my writing feel like a chore. And writing should never feel like a chore. (And No, am not saying those of you who outline are engrossed in some kind of back-breaking, carpel tunnel inducing chore. It’s your process, make it work!)

I usually write with the end in mind, and a beginning scene to start with (The first scene of House of Dyes involves a brutal kidnapping), the middle stuff is what I need to fill in. Fill in the trivia.

I’ve also envisioned how I want the story to appear,  structure-wise, I want to capture a certain aesthetic with this particular story. Seeing as its dark drama (am not sure such a genre exists, neither am I trying to niche one out, but for now, indulge me, lets assume ‘dark drama’ is a thing. Maybe thriller is a better moniker, but am not a thriller writer, so go figures).

The kind of narrative feel I want to capture in the novel involves,

  • The mysticism of the Dolphin Hotel in Haruki Murakami’s Dance Dance Dance.
  • The symbolic motif of the Cloud Atlas Sextet in David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas
  • The suspense of Stephen King’s The Shinning.
  • And a dash of my own madness — the voice, the pander with existential nihilism, the despair of love unrequited — like Butler work, nine tenths of House of Dyes is going to be anticipation. Am not going to go for the jugular, am going to delay the unveiling of the monster and draw out, milk that  bitter-sweet frisson of suspense drama fans crave for (Psskt, am giving it away, aren’t I?)

There are six major characters, whose recounts of The Event (I don’t know what ‘the event’ is yet, am intentionally being ominous) will be written in different P.O.V (Or circa, if I can pull it off). They might be written in subtle shades of other genres to depict their essential characters, but they’ll all build to one chief truth, a theme, a concept, a larger story.

Its ambitious, I know, and it sounds less complicated in my mind than here, blogged. Hope when I get it all on paper, it’ll read like something complicated, written simply. Beautifully.

O, and I plan to write the whole 12ok words in like 2 months — I’ve put down 6,300 words so far.  So, fingers crossed everyone!

I’ll regularly give you updates, excerpts, whatever.



2 thoughts on “HOUSE OF DYES (New Novel — W.I.P)

  1. That’s a good opening line. I read Kurt Vonnegut say that one good joke in the right hands is enough for a novel; he was praising Joseph Heller whom Vonnegut said used several jokes. Kurt also advised against the use of the semi-colon. Good luck with your book.

    1. Thanks. I intended the first line to be a parody of the commonplace “Anything is possible”. Coz the book explores futility in detail,
      I’ll take Kurt’s advice against the semi colon seriously.
      There are things you don’t want to do in writing, and argue with Kurt is one of them.

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