FULL BLEED: I'M NOT GOING TO LEAVE YOU ALONE
Let's get updated.
I wrote a post in June about what was supposed to be happening. Well, it still sorta kinda is, just not on the timeline that I thought it was gonna be. Things happen. And things happen still outside of my control, like a whole bunch of people deciding we could rush right back to normal while we still have a pandemic going on. Yeah, it's stupid. It's also predictable and frightening and sad and unfortunately routine.
I'd like to say that I for sure will be in Portland in about a month. I'm no longer holding my breath on that issue. Bummer. But these are largely bummer times. So that's the Rose City Comic Con that's getting X'd out. Quite likely the HPL film fest as well, though I haven't heard official word that it's actually happening, either.
Like I said. We refused to do what needed to be done at the onset. We got the magic bullet vaccine and people lost their goddamned minds when they found out that the little world they'd imagined just didn't happen. Bummer.
Maybe next year. Depressing to go on like this, particularly in a field that relies as much on community as outsider genres do. And I guess I'm an outsider genre writer. An outsider among outsiders, anyways. There are significantly worse places to be.
The schedule I'd imagined for things has gotten tossed out the window as well. I recognize it's for the best, ultimately. Just not much fun to sit through. Anyone paying attention for the last year or so knows what I'm talking about. Just not saying it out loud until I know exactly how it's going to roll. There's what I imagine and then there's reality.
So, since that isn't happening in the next couple months (along with all the promotion that comes with it as an effectively brand-new author) I need to work on something else. That being >ta-daaaaa!< HAZELAND, phase 3.
Phase 1 didn't even know what it was. I just had a contract to write a short novel or very long novella, depending on who you ask. Was gonna be a one-shot which made me do some things that I would have done very differently had I known what was coming. Oh fucking well. Roll with that. That was QUEEN OF NO TOMORROWS, which I look at and would love to rewrite a bit of, really. Specially the conclusion.
Phase 2 is MY DROWNING CHORUS and ASPHALT TONGUES, which are not actually in any way a trilogy. Or if they are, it's among the most addled and warped trilogies ever to happen. My style. Novella, novel, collection of short works (most too long to be considered short stories because I know exactly how to write to a market.) Honestly, the third one hasn't even been accepted by the editor/publisher. They may take one look at it and LOL NOPE me right out the door.
Still have to plan for the next three. Which need to be three books that actually interlock and yet satisfy on their own. But publishers love them! Except when they don't. But series books do great! Except when they don't and readers feel trapped and not in a good way. It's very weird trying to think about audience when you've never actually written for one. Sure, QONT makes some very obvious and regrettable moves (and still plays with some of what I find interesting ideas beyond the *sigh* pastiche). But I'm not George Lucas. I don't get to rewrite it, or re-present what has been written. It's already out there.
Now, however, I gotta start covering those checks that my ego/brain/whatever wrote a little while back. And try to just stay focused on that. Not whether I'm pleasing a potential audience or conforming to a set of genre expectations or wrecking a potentially valuable franchise before it's barely hatched. Kidding. If there's a franchise there, it's not coming from my pen or keyboard or whatever. Someone else will have to package it and sharpen off the burrs and blur out the seams, glow it up some. Holy cats, is my aesthetic right? Have I served the fans? It's worrying stuff.
Which is why I gotta just jettison it.
So, yeah, when this was all forming, I sort of had three ideas for books. Well, one actual idea and two other sentences of "Okay and then there's this" and "Now here's all the stuff that crashes together at the end." Trick is to turn those into workable outlines that can hold up their own weight. And then survive being kicked in the teeth by the characters and what they uncover or when I type a word out wrong and it suggests a neologism and connections that make this work, or when I put a scene in that didn't have a basis at all and just came from a purely unconscious place. Some of the best stuff in QONT, and MY DROWNING CHORUS came out of those, really. That's where the work is breathing. Gotta let it breathe. I see a lot of super-tightly plotted stuff, so concise and curvy and whoa and neither the characters nor the readers have breathed once the entire time it was running. I know. Thrillers live and die on that. But once you've seen the framework go up once, it's really hard to ignore it unless what's happening is so all-consuming that you lose yourself or I lose myself in it.
That shit's rare. Particularly in any series fiction.
Oh shit. I'm writing a series piece. That's also cosmic horror/wonder. And crime.
I'm sure I'll figure out something. Particularly since the schedule for these next ones will be a lot tighter than before, given I wrote QONT in 2016 and it hit in... 2018. That's not bad, actually. This next one will be 2020 and 2022, with the following maybe being 2021 and 2022 most likely 2023. But no plan survives contact with the enemy. At least not yet.
I will say one thing briefly. When I started what would eventually become HAZELAND (and its millions of logo iterations hahaha) I was a thoroughly feral writer. Self-taught. Self-edited (oy). Self-promoted (double for that). Real forest of mirrors stuff. As I head out into this one, don't feel quite so alone in the whole thing. That doesn't change what I'm writing, for the most part, at least I don't think that it does. Just a difference in the surrounding reality.
Here's where I launch into the whole "writing is a solitary thing" talk. It is. And I see that people try to change that, what with writing groups and social writing engagements and hell, I suppose some people are livestreaming their writing. It only makes sense. That's a way to fight it. But I'm not sure that it *changes* anything. The fundamental nature of the process isn't altered.
I try to keep it in mind that when I'm writing, it's just me and the universe, as filtered through whatever perceptions I've had of it, memory and everything that comes with that, all the bits and pieces I've collected like a deranged magpie and hoarded up in the attic. Little shiny bits that sometimes have interlocking edges that I hadn't considered before. Experiences that are unexpected when juxtaposed with other things. The simple somatic pleasure of getting your hair washed and cut (and dyed) even when the worst people ever walk into the salon and demand your attention.
So I guess me and the universe is a good place to be in writing. But having if not friends, at least other writers who get where you're coming from, is a good thing, if nothing else but to keep you the slightest bit grounded. Checked, even.
For the longest, and I mean longest time, all I ever got on my writing was "Thanks, but only fantasy is selling right now" or "Wow, you sure don't know how to write women" (this after, well... nevermind) or "*wind whistling noise*" because you're never going to get that response. And that's hard. Not only on the spirit, but frankly on development as a writer. You get to believing dumb things when you're in solitary and you don't have anyone to open up a cup of consensus reality with, aka, a check.
Or even recognition. Yeah, the quest for that doesn't end until you choke it in its crib. That pure ego-craving. Dangerous stuff.
Which I'm getting dangerously close to here. Should actually review that mess of an outline and make sure that it's not made out of cotton candy actually.
More news when it happens.