Two Ways of Looking at a Beginning

For my first draft of the opening passages for THE VICE MAN, I tried it two different ways. First, I tried it with a male central character. Then I tried it with a female central character.

Here's the first pass at the open with a man as the main character:

"He opened his eyes, and there was the camera hovering in front of him, reflecting his face back at him: his head like Edvard Munch’s The Scream, his sea foam-colored skin, his green eyes blinking at the sunset bleeding in through the windows.

He could not remember a time when he was not being recorded, even though he knew it had happened, years ago, because there were a few photos of him that did not include the hovering ball that appeared in every one after he was, say, five.

He yawned, and the tiny drone zoomed in for a close up; his jaw snapped closed; the ball jumped back. He stood up, stretched his arms to the ceiling, and pulled up his underpants."

Here's the first pass at the open with a woman as the main character:

"Suzanne Flesh opened her eyes and regarded the floating drone hovering before her. Slowly, it migrated south.
'Hey!' she yelped and pulled the sheet up to cover her breasts."

This is the current version of the open with a man as the main character:

"The detective opened his eyes.

The drone hovered above him.

He could see his reflection in the silver eye of the fist-sized globe: his morning stubble, his seafoam green pallor, the dark circles under his eyes.

He could not remember a time when he was not being recorded, and he did not know there to be one."

You can follow along as I work on THE VICE MAN here.

Great American Novels

The reason there aren't more Great American Novels written by women: Women aren't sociopathic enough. Engineered for empathy required to take care of small, squirming child bodies, women lack the ruthless, guiltless, narcissistic drive required to produce a masterpiece. Instead, women are distracted: by men who need, living room drapes, the hollers of children. Men tune out: wanting wives, bad carpet, succubi. It is important to note that the act of writing lit-er-a-ture is not confined to the author's relationship to the page. Instead, this sort of high-level literary excretion demands total immersion. The writer must be consumed: by his ideas, his thoughts, his words. Put another way, like Ouroboros, the Great American Novelist consumes himself. Men refuse to live in the world so they may live in their own world. That is the world we see in their books. Women allow the world to tear them from the imaginary, their desperate hands and idle minds grasping at the air for a long lost purchase.

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