Ah, the most creative titles, I have!
Okay, well, the title I will claim as a placeholder. A placeholder for an idea. An idea for a novel written in chapter-length pieces by multiple authors (and the number of the authors shall be three).
Just as THE ALTERNATES that I’m writing with Jason is the resurrection of an old idea I abandoned, THE PARTY is the new embodiment of an old idea that, on its own, didn’t have much traction.
That idea: A guy wandering around a party that is the size of the world.
The resurrection of that idea: A group of people wandering around a party that is the size of the world, written by Jason, Brendan, and myself, with each of us writing a ten-page chapter in turn to the tune of twelve chapters.
If that sounds sort of restrictive, I’d agree, but I’d also point out that the restrictiveness is why I like writing sonnets (and why they often produce a more focused poem than simply free-styling it).
So here is the opening to the seed I wrote for that project (now in its latter stages).
Handel watched three people across the room snort cocaine and hoped it was snowing outside. The last time he’d looked through a window—he remembered it clearly—it was raining and Chris had just thrown his keys out the window, breaking the glass in the process. Rain slicked the floor and Handel, leaning through the window, could barely see the ground due to the rain and mist.
He turned to say thank you, but as soon as the short, dark-haired boy could lock eyes with him, the guy continued with, “Have you considered the end of the world?”
“Have you considered the beginning?” Handel parried, knowing even as the first words left his mouth that, no, this was unlikely to shut the guy up.
“Yes, but it’s not as interesting or as important as the end, which threatens with animals who have too many limbs, mythical beasts, badly played instruments, and anti-climactic battles.”
The speech was paused with an expectant look, the guy’s face a broken lighthouse. Handel looked down at his empty cup, the cheap red plastic pathetic without some sort of alcohol filling it. Sighing, he looked up.
“Of course. We already know who’s going to win. But do you know why we need to still keep vigilant, in spite of the foregone—”
“Do you know where there’s a window?”
The boy—he didn’t look even eighteen—paused. “A window? No.”
“How about alcohol? A keg? Booze? Hooch? Firewater?”
The boy pointed, and Handel walked off. Behind him he heard a deflated, “I’ll wait here,” and he thought that the guy might actually do so. At least until another open-faced sucker came along to invite his spiel. He realized this comparison made him seem like an open-faced sucker, and he guessed it was true: he’d talk to anyone. And anyway, it was better than being an open-faced sandwich.