Sunday, May 27, 2012

Writing My Second Novel

When I was younger, I used to fancy myself a writer, and I wrote quite a bit; short fiction mostly, along with really awful poetry.

I managed to write a novel length piece (of what, I'll get to in a sec) when I was in my preteens called "The Afterlife".  It was a campy spoof of what happens when we die, and I even managed to convince a couple of people to read it.  It took me six months of hammering away, long hand at first, then on a Brother Typewriter my parents had been kind enough to buy me.  (This is long before I was seduced by my square headed mistress, as the wife likes to call it.)

I burned it.  It was complete crap, so I took the pages outside one day, covered them with lighter fluid, and watched them burn.

That's probably a good thing, although it does pain me a little.  I can't remember what I've written five minutes after it's down on the page, so while I remember a bit about my poor main character (and his demonic public defender, Lockranore), I can't recall a lot of the plot.  Maybe it wasn't as bad as I'd thought.

I convinced myself that I could not write, at least, not commercially, which is all I really wanted, so I quit.

If you're reading this, then you may have caught a few of the burps that have escaped that aspect of myself (The Pill, Mulligan, and Fishing Trip, for example), although nothing really solid has come out of me in a long time.  It's not for a lack of ideas; I actually have a bunch.  What I didn't have was confidence.

I figured out a couple of things about myself, recently.  One is that if I know how a story ends, I really don't care to tell it, not even to myself.  Another is that if I plan a story well, I'll never write it; whatever it is in my head that's responsible for this aspect of myself figures, "OK, done", and it's over.

I've also noticed that since I've started writing again, my headaches are getting better.  I'm not a hundred percent sure, but I'm starting to believe that the headaches are psychosomatic, and they are my mind begging for the defragmentation that writing seems to provide for me.

Finally, I've found that if I don't make myself accountable to someone to get the story written; that is, if I don't have someone who actually cares about what happens next, then I can't write.

That probably speaks volumes about my shallowness or desperate need for attention, but to heck with it, I'm being honest.

So I'd like to take a moment to thank the people who've agreed to read along as I write on this latest attempt; it's more their attention than my work ethic that's getting this thing done.  Thanks, guys.  If I manage to get it published, I will list you with the guilty in that first part of the book that nobody reads.  You guys are the real crutch I'm leaning on to limp on my broken confidence, and I couldn't have gotten even this far without you.  (Most especially and always you, Cindy.)

I think this one may actually be saleable; I'm looking into trying to find a publisher, so if any of you have experience or relatives in that business, let me know.

I've thought about going Cory Doctorow with it, but I think I'd like to try print publishing, first.  While it's still out there.

Anyway, if you're interested in reading this thing, let me know; I like the feedback I'm getting, but could always use a little more.  The first writing I ever published in a publicly accessible medium was over packet modem via Ham Radio; the only response I got back was, "Boy, I've read better scrawled on the doors of Mississippi outhouses," so feel free to be critical; you're never topping that one.


  1. Wow! I feel very much like you do about my writing attempts and am currently working on three books :) I find the feedback really helps as does the accountability and I am always begging people to read my latest chapters (or reading it aloud to them if they don't feel like it) Very desperate. I have thought about writing my book as a blog as I would therefore be very accountable. Would love to read what you write.

  2. I always admired your poetry. <3