Monday, December 5, 2011

Chapter 67: In Which I Discuss Hard Times

Got on the bus today and saw a girl reading a Bran chapter of ASOIAF. Got off the bus and saw a girl reading Neverwhere. This fantasy thing. It's spreading.

I'm putting Motley & Plume Players on the shelf for a while. I'm not saying it was a hard decision. It was a startlingly easy decision. After working on the novel for a year, and getting up to over 400 pages, I'm still learning things about this book and these characters. I need the room to discover this story, and all the blown deadlines should have been my tip-off to give it the time a novel deserves.

Tried to finish the whole book over Thanksgiving break. Soon realized this would be impossible. One trip to the Berkeley Writers Circle convinced me that I would be shooting myself in the foot trying to do a truncated version of this material. Even if I did finish the manuscript, the goal was to edit down to 300 pages, while I was still figuring out the different, wonderful avenues I could take this piece. I know that someday it will be something special. Just not this May.

I also know that me and deadlines don't mix. Hell, I blew an anthology submission deadline just last week because I was feeling sick. As a writer, I'll have to start making these deadlines. This is important for things like anthology submissions. But I cannot actually write a book on any kind of tight schedule. The kind of novels I want to put out will take years. Which sucks. Years are something I have in limited supply. There's so many stories I want to tell. I really envy writers like Gaiman and Catherynne Valente who can produce mountains of quality work every year.

Sigh. I spoke with Christine and my publisher. I let them know I wanted my end of the book to be something I could put together by May, at the level of quality I expect from myself. They agreed. Like I said, an easy decision. The right decision. Motley & Plume Players, you're going back on the shelf. A little bit older, a little bit wiser, a lot longer. Looking forward to seeing you again.

That said...

Hard Times Blues

Rejoice! Hard Times are comin'.

Love that promo. And I'm as hyped up as Dusty.

The tentative name for my next collection is Hard Times Blues, collecting my work of the last year. Zombie stories, fairy tales, Jack tales, poems, and various doodads. I see it as a companion piece to Jack Daniels Sessions, with the skills I gained in the interim. I have four definite stories and I'm debating what the fifth piece will be. I will spend my sabbatical in the wintry harshness of Pittsburgh putting together this manuscript.

I'm about to embark back into the real world from grad school. It's time. So much has been going on, literally on my doorstep, and college feels more and more like a bubble to hide from the troubles of the world. Are there jobs for young men such as me? Will anyone survive 2012? I don't know; these are hard times. That this book will be killer...that's one thing that is certain.

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