Trainee Writer

Adventures of a screenwriter in training…

“A whole new world…


…a new fantastic point of view…”

Yes, it’s a blog (predominantly) about screenwriting, so I’m definitely allowed to quote Aladdin as a tenuous link to the content of today’s entry.

Actually, today I’m not talking about the art of screenwriting – there may not even be a lesson to be gleaned from it. Just a casual post about my latest writing exploits.

Today, I decided to finally undertake the one writing task that’s been eluding me for years. For ten years, I’ve been threatening it and now I’m finally going to do it: I’ve started work on my first serious attempt at a novel.

I always said that one day, I wanted to create a fictitious world against which I could set a variety of stories; I suppose the inspiration from that was in part drawn from my screenwriting hero John Hughes’ legendary setting of Shermer, IL, A completely fictitious town that played host to Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty In Pink, amongst others. It’s a common device for a writer, so don’t think for one second that I’m claiming to have reinvented the wheel; I’m very well aware that such great writers as Terry Pratchett, J.R.R. Tolkien and L.J. Smith have all done it, to name but a few. So, with my first novel, I’ve decided to do exactly that; it’ll be the first to be set in the town of Nuevo Oro, California.

Nuevo Oro is a former gold rush settlement on the Mexican border; originally settled by a handful of European immigrants who traveled west to find their fortune in 1850, they named it ‘Golden Hills’. In 1852 After having all but mined every ounce of gold from the surrounding environment, most of the original inhabitants left to seek their fortune elsewhere, leaving behind only the most successful family in Golden City. the Carvers. With enough money and livestock to maintain their lifestyle, they had no reason to leave.

A year later, a second wave of prospectors comes through town – this time crossing the border from Mexico. California, at this time, had only recently seceded from Mexico to join the USA, so many Mexicans felt that laying claim to the gold was their right. When they found the virtual ghost town that ‘Golden Hills’ had become, they quickly settled in, rechristening the town ‘Nuevo Oro’ (New Gold) and sparking a 150-year family feud between the Carvers and the leaders of the migrant prospectors, the Reyes family.

Where do we join the story? In the present day. Nuevo Oro has grown to become a small city; though certainly not a sprawling urban metropolis like Los Angeles or San Francisco, Nuevo Oro has all the amenities that any Californian city needs to survive; it’s a college town with a thriving technological industry, a small movie studio and a high crime rate.

Enter our hero: the first book centres around Selma Reyes, the youngest descendant of the original migrant Reyes family and the city’s only female homicide detective. Following the suspicious death of her partner – found stabbed in his mistress’ apartment – she’s determined to find his killer. To make matters worse, she has a new partner; if the stories she heard growing up are true, she should despise him – but she has a murder to solve and John Carver might be the only person she can trust.

Obviously, I only started writing this today, so don’t expect to be reading the finished book next week, but I’m excited to finally be starting on my ‘long-awaited’ debut novel.

The thing that excites me most? Being able to tell the many stories that can be found among the citizens of Nuevo Oro – having the ability to populate my city with the stories of those characters who may live there and having the scope to write them in whatever genre I see fit – all of the ones I enjoy, like YA, fantasy, satire and romance, will probably feature – is possibly the greatest freedom of all. I have a blank canvas on which to paint as rich a tapestry as I see fit.

Expect a development diary and excerpts along the way.

Vaya con Dios,

Kriss x

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May 17, 2011 - Posted by | Development Diaries, Novels, Nuevo Oro, writing | , , , , , , , , ,

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