Okay, I’ll begin with some exciting news: Yesterday I finished the first draft of my short story, Penal Colony. I plan to rewrite/edit PC before finishing In the Shade; I think it’ll be more fun that way, though I reserve the right to change my mind. Completing Penal Colony first will also lead to a bit more separation between the stories’ publication dates, and I find that more aesthetically pleasing than the alternative.
Yesterday I also completed what was, for me, a traumatic moment in Unanimity. I say traumatic because some truly terrible things happened to characters who have been in the story nearly since the beginning, and whom I like a lot. In association with that tragedy, another larger-level horrific event happens, which will in turn galvanize the climax of the novel. In other words, since things are always darkest before the dawn—at least in conventional narrative—that increasing darkness points toward the story’s resolution.
Which is just a pompous way of saying that I’m getting within sight of the end of the novel, and I’m excited about it. Of course, after that, the real work begins.
I don’t know whether I’ve mentioned this before, but I know a gifted local young artist, and I’ve preliminarily engaged her to do the cover designs for my next book, Neko/Neneko. This will be a much more lighthearted tale than Unanimity, and it will also be much shorter. I’m excited about this artist’s work; I can barely wait to see it, so I’ve already given her the rough idea of the plot, and some thoughts of what I’d like the cover to be, but I also encouraged her to brainstorm ideas of her own. I’ll be deeply happy if I’m able to get her some public exposure that boosts her career. She’s not a big computer/internet person, and she doesn’t promote herself. She’s “officially” an amateur, in that she doesn’t get paid for her work but merely does it for her own pleasure and fulfillment. At least, she was an “amateur” until I commissioned her to do work, and I’ve already paid her a bit, which is another happy thing for me.
More tangentially: I’m seriously considering doing a second edition of Mark Red, and probably Welcome to Paradox City as well. I’m just not quite satisfied with their current forms, and I want to make them better. I mean to publish each of the stories in WtPC as “Kindle Singles” anyway, and I’d revise/reedit them before release, so I might as well go whole hog. (I’ll also add my author’s notes to the books in their second additions).
In other news, I’ve almost come to the decision just to stop producing “My heroes have always been villains.” I get few responses to these entries, relative to my other posts, even though I enjoy them very much, which becomes a bit disheartening over time. Maybe I’m just not finding my target audience. The love of villains—as characters and essential plot drivers, not in real life—may be more niche than I thought it was. I would have expected that most lovers of good fantastic literature would consider a great villain essential to any adventure, and well worthy of discussion. Maybe they do, but I just write about them in a boring way. Or maybe I need to promote those posts in the right venues.
This leads to a personal conundrum (one that my beloved villains would not share): It’s very hard for me to develop the functional narcissism necessary to promote my posts (and other writings) as aggressively as would probably be optimal. For instance, I think may of my Iterations of Zero essays would get a lot of interaction and feedback if I posted them on certain Facebook pages that deal with the various subjects they address, but I feel awkward about posting them, fearing that I’ll come across as an egotistical asshole. The peculiar thing is, I’d feel far less awkward about thus promoting someone else’s writing.
It’s a strange mind I inhabit, and I’m not sure the best way to use it optimally, despite having been its nominal pilot for almost half a century.
Well, one good principle is not to give up, so I’m certainly not going to stop writing, probably not until I die. But I may end “My heroes have always been villains,” not as a matter of giving up, but simply to allocate my resources better—time being the most strictly limited resource. If any of you want to argue me out of that decision…well, I’m always open to persuasion, as a matter of principle.
For now, as Forrest Gump would put it, that’s all I have to say about that. I wish you all well. Next Thursday is Thanksgiving here in America, so I may or may not produce a blog post. In case I don’t, I hope those of you who celebrate have a truly happy day. I hope you get together with your families and have a wonderful, gargantuan feast.
If possible, send a little thought for food my way when you do.