Welcome, welcome, to August of 2018, the second of those two months which push back September, October, November, and December, changing them from the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth months—which they should be, based on their names—to the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth months. It’s a shame. It might have been preferable to have July and August at the end of the year, rather than the middle. Then Christmas would be on the twenty-fifth of August, which sounds strange, of course, but only because we’re used to it being the other way.
Next week being the second Thursday of the month, I will write a new entry in “My heroes have always been villains.” As usual, I haven’t yet decided what villain I’ll discuss, nor even from which media form I’m going to take it. Hitherto, I’ve done one from movies and two from books, but many other sources are available. Excellent villains can be found in comic books and manga (especially comic books), and those media have become more and more respectable over time.
The fact that American comics tend to have been worked on and expanded by ever-changing groups of artists over time* has led many of their characters to assume a kind of life of their own, separate from the minds of the original creators. Unfortunately, this can sometimes make the characters irregular and even inconsistent; there’s no denying that some writers (and artists) do a more engaging job with specific characters than others. To take a for-instance, I think that the brilliant John Byrne is the best writer (and illustrator) of the Marvel villain, Dr. Doom. I suspect that many followers of the comics would agree with me. Other creators have met with varying, lesser degrees of success with the character. It’s a curious situation, and no doubt I’ll return to it when I deal with specific villains in those media.
I’ve finished the first run of sound editing on The Chasm and the Collision, Chapter 7, which begins with our heroes awakening from events at the end of Chapter 6 and finding themselves no longer in their own world. Now they begin to learn more about the forces behind all those recent, bizarre events. I don’t know about any of you, but I think it’s getting exciting.
If you haven’t already listened to the first six chapters, you can find the audio on my blog, here, or go to my YouTube channel, here. I’ve been able to correct the minor sound problem that irritated me on Chapter 6, so Chapter 7 should provide a nice, smooth listening experience. I guess if there wasn’t improvement from chapter to chapter, it would mean I wasn’t learning anything as I went along, and that would be a shame. Still, it is frustrating to listen back and recognize the ways in which I could have done things better. Perhaps someday, if I have world enough and time, I’ll redo those chapters in which there are minor glitches. For now, though, they are still certainly good enough for the listener to enjoy the story. And, of course, you can buy the book any time you want, and read it all the way to the end. I encourage you to do this, but I can’t deny that I’m biased.
Speaking of things getting exciting (I was; you can back and check), work on Unanimity is proceeding steadily and relentlessly, and it will “soon” come to its end. Contrary to a previous estimate, I may not complete the first draft before the end of the official summer, but I should certainly be finished before summer-like weather ends here in south Florida. That probably gives me until December, or even January, given the weather here, so I’m being pretty easy on myself. It’s going to be a long book, but I think that’s good. It will be a feast, not a snack.
On a tangential matter: as I wrote earlier this week, I’m changing my writing schedule to try to produce entries into Iterations of Zero more consistently. You can read more about that here, if you’re so inclined.
Finally, I exhort you all, if you’ve read a book—especially one by an independent or new author—to leave a star rating, at least, on such sites as Amazon and any other booksellers that allow you to do so. Please. If you have the time and the energy (it doesn’t require much of either) it’s especially helpful if you also leave a review. Independent books are rarely reviewed by the New York Times or the New Yorker, for instance, so it’s hard for those coming to them de novo to have an idea whether they’ll like them. A simple review, even just a star rating, from a fellow reader can be more useful than a formal, high-falootin’ discussion in a well-known magazine when deciding whether to buy a book. A few words of reaction from like-minded fans of a genre can be incredibly helpful to someone considering buying a new work of fiction, and it’s immeasurably beneficial to the author, as well. A bad review is probably better than no review at all.
I thank you all for reading, and for listening if you’ve listened. A writer writes for him or herself, because he or she has to, at some level, but it would be a rare writer indeed who would create a publicly available work hoping that no one would read it. So, don’t doubt that you matter, and that you are deeply appreciated.
*This is in contrast to manga, which tend to be produced either by a single author/artist or a specific combination of writer(s) and artist(s) from beginning to end.