Last night, I started working on Flames again. Doing my best to finish this novel. For some reason, it’s getting in the way of Outbreak, so I might as well just get it done.
One thing that may have kept this book from being finished earlier in May was the change in the weather. Flames is set during an outrageous heatwave/drought in Texas. In May of this year, we had record rainfall that erased nearly 4 years of drought. Writing the story was more difficult because I’d forgotten the ridiculous toll of walking outside into a furnace.
Ever hear the phrase “your eyes are bigger than your stomach?” Ever hear the phrase “best laid plans of mice and men often go awry?” Or maybe you’ve heard the phrase “dammit, man, can you do anything according to plan?” Well, that last is really in my head, but still…you get the point.
I’ve been working on my novel Flames for what seems like forever. I stopped writing it to work on The Black and then stopped writing on it again to get The Black: Arrival written and published. On top of that, I had to put off finishing the book one more time to finish Daemons of Garaaga. That’s a LOT of delays.
And that’s not even the whole story, so to speak. I wrote nearly 20k words before I dumped them and started over. Writers hate dumping that many words and I’m certainly no exception. But as the story grew in my mind, I knew I was on the wrong track. So a little scorched earth was the only way to go.
Time is a problem. It flows past us like a flood choked river when we’re not paying attention. It stops dead when we worry about something or are waiting for the next shoe to drop. But when you’re trying to make a deadline or attempting to create something new and interesting, time dilates. Each hour seems to jump by in seconds and you’re left wondering how you are ever going to catch up.
I was at Balticon this Memorial Day weekend. What is Balticon? It’s a science fiction/fantasy/speculative fiction convention for writers, podcasters, fans, scientists, gamers, and etc. It features a large number of tracks and panels regarding a variety of topics. As you might imagine, I’m mostly involved with the literary and podcast tracks. I’m a frequent panelist on those two tracks talking about podcasting, audiobooks, writing, editing, publishing, etc.
Years before the internet really got rolling for normal people, writers seeking publishers and agents scoured “Writer’s Digest” magazine and its annual big book of bozos to submit to. These books were awfully expensive and were essentially a telephone directory of magazines, book publishers, freelance editors, and agents to whom you could submit your writing. This ridiculous tome was the vaunted rosetta stone for authors looking to break in. However, it didn’t seriously vet anyone on the list.
It’s no secret that many of my tales are “niche” stories. My Garaaga mythos, the Fiends collection, hell, even The Street, are acquired tastes. These stories and series spend most of their time languishing on the sales charts. If I sell 2 or 3 a week, I’m lucky. And when I put them on sale for 99¢? Not much changes.
Yet I can write non-niche books. The Black has been the most marketable book I’ve ever written and it has sold more copies than I ever dreamed possible. I’m certain the first paraquel, The Black: Arrival, will sell about the same or perhaps even better than the first installment.
My mind is infected. Hell, my soul is infected. And I’m not the only one. The infection? The scourge? The greatest threat humanity faces is the disease that medical science has not only ignored, but seems incapable of addressing. What am I talking about? Why, the dreaded “series disease,” of course.
I’m 44 years old. I’ve been playing computer games off and on since I was ten. Arcades. Atari 2600. Hell, even some game on a PET luggable back in the day. If you don’t know what that is, go look it up and laugh.
In the 90s, my friends and I held quite a few LAN parties. We played Quake, Tribes, Star Craft, Unreal, etc. Bottom line? It was a relatively inexpensive way to share camaraderie and waste a Saturday. Back then, I was all right. I had my moments of brilliance, but I was always just a somewhat good gamer. I couldn’t last five minutes in the online world of crazed pre-teens and pimply faced youths that did nothing but play over and over again. Plus, their internet connection was usually better than mine.