S.G. Browne

The Writing Life: The Making of Big Egos

Big EgosWhen I started writing Big Egos more than two years ago, I envisioned something along the lines of American Psycho meets Slaughterhouse-Five. At least conceptually. I’m not going to make any claims of being Bret Easton Ellis or Kurt Vonnegut, but I knew I wanted the story to be told in a non-linear framework and narrated by an unreliable protagonist who gradually loses control of his ability to separate fantasy from reality.

My initial drafts began with the ending, or one chapter removed from the ending, and each subsequent chapter that followed was a memory triggered by the end of the previous memory, eventually taking the story back to the beginning. Or, in this case, to the ending.

Fun Fact: Big Egos is the first novel I sat down to write knowing exactly how the story would end. In my previous three novels (and novella), the ending evolved from the progression of the story. But this time I knew the ending and couldn’t wait to figure out how to get there.

But once I was finished, I discovered that the non-linear format I’d chosen to tell the story didn’t provide enough clarity for the actual story, so I had to reorganize the chapters in a way that provided a present through-line of the narrative while allowing the story to jump back and forth in time as a function of the main protagonist’s triggered memories.

This involved creating a color-coded list of chapters based upon their time-frame and reorganizing them on a spreadsheet before moving around the actual chapters in the novel, which led to additional editing as the beginnings and endings of numerous chapters required minor to significant rewrites.

I did this about half a dozen times before I finally found the right mix and order. Even then, I continued to futz around with several of the chapters during the final editing and copy editing stages. As an author, you know that invariably you’re going to miss something. I can go back through Breathers, Fated, and Lucky Bastard and find things I would like to fix. But eventually you have to stop fixing and trust that you’ve told the right story in the best way at the time you told it.

With Big Egos, I wanted to get it as close to perfect as possible.

Whether I succeeded or not, that’s a matter of opinion, but I felt a great deal of satisfaction with how the novel turned out. And while I would say the same of my previous novels, for me, this one was a bit more of a challenge while at the same time being an absolute blast to write.

Of all my novels, Big Egos is without a doubt the darkest of the four. It also contains its fair share of social commentary on our society’s infatuation with celebrity and what happens to your identity when you’re constantly pretending to be someone you’re not.

So if you’re expecting a romantic comedy with a happy ending or a playful romp through a field of daffodils with a family of fluffy bunnies, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Big Egos is on sale August 6 and available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, and wherever books and eBooks are sold.

Filed under: Big Egos,Summer of Bastards and Egos,The Writing Life — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 6:19 am

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