November Update

Chicago 1947.

My plan was to stop working on the novel in November and write a short story. Of course, I did nothing but work on my novel. But this is a good problem to have. I’ve settled on the title Monkey See, Monkey Murder. It has a locked-room murder, a locked-room lecture, and a minor no-footprints impossibility. It is a traditional who and howdunit. It takes place in 1921, a few months after the events of Vampire.

Here is the current guesstamated schedule

Dec — Final Draft

Jan — Beta Reading

Feb — Final edits

Mar — Release

That’s the plan. I also plan to finish this short story (Title TBD). It’s a partially-inverted, locked-room mystery. I swore I’d never write an inverted murder mystery, but after loving the shit out of Pattern of Murder, I realized that a mystery with an inverted who and why but an intact how would interest me. PoM’s only weakness was the missed opportunity to hide the method and provide one of the coolest clues ever. I can’t say I’m very far into the story, but I’ve got plenty of time to craft the thing in December.

What else has been going on? I read a little about the history of The Little Shop of Horrors — the 1960 Corman film, 1982 play/musical, and 1986 Frank Oz musical film. There were two neat facts.

  1. Corman’s film was finished in two days. At 9:00 on the first day of shooting, Corman was informed that he was behind schedule.
  2. At the end of the 1982 musical, the two main characters die and the plant takes over the world. Oz kept this ending for the film version. This complicated ending cost $5 million. At a test screening, the audience was loving the film until the moment the leads were killed. The scorecards were dreadful. Oz tried another screening and got the same results. That’s when Oz realized something. If you kill the leads in a play, they will still come back and bow to the audience. Psychologically, the audience can handle their very-temporary deaths. But if you kill the main (likable) characters in a film, they don’t come back and the audience will never forgive you. OZ quickly (and cheaply) shot a happy ending. I thought that story was cool.

What else? I enjoyed the last Halloween film. I don’t know what everyone was bitching about. I enjoyed Smile, though it does finally do that awful thing that most modern horror movies do–put the subtext directly into the characters’ mouths. Here it comes only at the end. For a long time, Smile works completely through its (striking) images. It was a lot of fun.

Anyway, that’s all. I’ll give more updates as things happen. Enjoy this first draft of a Walter Williams sketch. This is not the locked-room, monkey murder, but it’s related to it.

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