How to Write Yourself Into the Great American Novel
A couple years ago, a lot of folks believed that victory in 2010 would be a cakewalk. Led by Tea Party activists, the GOP picked up over 800 legislative seats, state and federal, in the 2010 off-year election. Rumors of the Republican Party’s death had been greatly exaggerated.
Or so it seemed.
Novels and action movies involve a hero’s quest. The main character hopes to accomplish something. Dorothy wants to return to Kansas. King Arthur seeks the Holy Grail. Dirty Harry hunts the psychopath Scorpio.
But in every plot, something goes wrong. The protagonist adjusts. Something else goes wrong. Then something seems to go wrong, but really doesn’t. Then something really big goes horribly wrong. Then the protagonist rallies and seems sure to achieve the quest. And just when everything seems fine, the monster comes back to life, the ex-wife shows up with a million-dollar lawyer, the hero’s father dies and leaves everything to the evil twin.
This biggest setback always comes just when victory was so close, when the hero has nothing left in the tank, when the last bullet’s been fired, when the sidekick’s dead.
Does the hero fold?
Never. The hero finds a second wind, a super energy pill, or a powerful new ally. Sure,the monster came back to life, but its bullet-proof shell is compromised. The sidekick we thought was dead was only stunned. The hero took a bullet for the ex-wife’s lawyer in Afghanistan in 2002, and the lawyer withdraws. Dad’s will is a forgery.
The hero and his team get a new life and they make it count. They put down the monster for the last time.
Writers don’t create a long series of setbacks and recoveries to meet some arbitrary word count requirement. They do it because that’s how life works. They do it to keep us reading, because stories without conflict and resolution, setback and recovery, disaster and resilience, are boring. The story is in the resurgence. The victory is sweeter for its enormous costs.
Todd Akin’s “six seconds of foolishness,” as Newt Gingrich says, was such a setback. It was a setback for Todd, of course, but also a setback for conservatives, for the Tea Party movement, for the heroes of this tale.
We improvise, adjust, and overcome.
When Romney says something crazy or a judge suspends a voter ID law, we brace ourselves and soldier on.
Dorothy didn’t give up her quest to get back to Kansas. Arthur didn’t give up his quest for the Holy Grail. And Dirty Harry didn’t give up on his quest to bring Scorpio to justice.
We wouldn’t have watched the movies if there’d been no resistance, no setbacks, and no anguishing, desperate moments. Americans live for the challenge, the fight, the hard-won victories.
In 2012, we have the chance to craft an epic novel. We have worthy, ordinary heroes, a vicious and committed foe, and noble quest.
Our quest is restoring the republic. Our foe is Barack Obama and his Committee of Evil Czars. Our heroes are . . . well, one of them is reading this blog post right now.
With only a few weeks to go before the election of our lives, let’s pick up the plot in this novel. The big monster hasn’t shown himself yet. The really bad thing hasn’t hit us. But it’s coming soon. And we’re ready.
Want your character to play a role in the climax and celebrate in the denouement?
You can write yourself into the action:
Chapter 1: Grand Opening of St. Louis Tea Party/Madison Project GOTV HQ, 9966 Lin Ferry Rd., St. Louis, MO 63123 on Saturday, September 29.
Chapter 2: Canvassing for Conservatives any evening or Saturday. Stop by the GOTV HQ to get started between noon and 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
Chapter 3: Dialing for Voters. You can do this from home with a phone and computer, but we need you to first stop by the GOTV HQ to get started.
Chapter 4: The After Party, October 18 at 7 p.m. at Pio’s in St. Charles. Guest speakers is one of the HOTTEST social media conservatives in America, Raz Shafer.
Chapter 5: Election Day. We will need to help people get to the polls.
Chapter 6: Election Night Watch Party–more to follow.
P.S. Like the Freddy Kruger movies, the monster always returns. So does the hero. Our mission doesn’t end on November 6, only this quest. There will be more.
* [Gingrich: Other Republicans Will Return Support for Akin](https://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2012/09/24/gingrich-other-republicans-will-return-support-for-akin/) (stlouis.cbslocal.com) * [Akin rebuilding Mo. Senate bid after rape remark](https://news.yahoo.com/akin-rebuilding-mo-senate-bid-rape-remark-125932625--election.html) (news.yahoo.com) * [Todd Akin Bets He Still Has A Chance](https://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/09/24/161700885/todd-akin-bets-he-still-has-a-chance?ft=1&f=1001) (npr.org)