Peter John McLean

How to Fit a Leukemia Patient Musical into a Novel (Black Humor)

You know that feeling where you’re sure your novel needs a scene with leukemia patients putting on a musical but you aren’t sure how to fit it in? Yeah, me too.

I have been writing my book about rats. I write two pages every day, except for the days that I don’t. It’s amazing to watch the word count steadily grow and the story become increasingly sophisticated at a deliberate and natural pace. In the past I’ve been an explosive writer, putting down ten or twenty or FIFTY thousand words in a few weeks or a month at the most. Then, when I’m finished, I’ll convince myself that it was all garbage and just a practice novel and I will delete it and move on. This time is different. Which is why I’m applying the slow and steady approach.

I’m not far enough into the novel (12k) to have much of a plot to talk about yet. The problem is introduced (sort of) and the characters are developing and finding themselves and dealing with minor conflicts while bigger conflicts loom quietly around the corner.

However, I keep thinking about a few concepts that I like and need to introduce. There are so many of them I think the novel will have to be about 10 billion words when I’m finished, so I may be trucking away for some time. Right now, however, my focus is solely on getting a musical by leukemia patients into the story. It’s important. It’s hilarious. It fits with the generally darkly absurd style of the story, which hinges on a lot of deadpan violence and depravity. It also helps me realize that I always write about the same shit, basically every story and novel I write boils down to┬áthe same concept: someone embarrassed of something and trying to hide it (Helmut, Dustheads, and now Muscipula). Of course the delivery and the punchlines and all that shit change but they’re always like this. That and they always have really deadpan deliveries. But that’s just cause it’s funnier that way. Anyway, I need this musical. I need it to fit into the book.

If any of my five loyal readers have ideas, fire away.