When I first began working on what would eventually become Famine, I had no idea what may or may not come of the effort. I certainly wasn’t expecting it to become a full-fledged novel by any stretch of the imagination. That I ended up there, I suppose, is a combination of good luck, perseverance, and, well, a smidgen or two of creativity.
In other words, I just happened to start coughing up the right words at the right time and place.
Which isn’t quite the same as that old “infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters” bit. Oh sure, there’s some similarity there, but the monkeys didn’t have the Puddinette’s support. Clearly that’s the most significant thing separating me from the lesser randomly-typing primates.
At any rate, I’ve knee-deep in sending out submissions and crossing my fingers and re-re-re-re-thinking my query hook and sacrificing the occasionally grocery-story broiler/fryers. Yes, I realized that probably doesn’t have the same effect as using a live chicken, but it turns out that live chickens are harder to get than you’d think these days, especially when you explain what you’re going to do with it.
Poultry aside, the key thing here is that it’s time to move on to something else. Unfortunately, I’m finding that’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. Yes, sure, I have a new idea and I’ve even laid out a skeletal outline I’m content with, but the thing is, I don’t want to move on.
It’s just, that, well…
It feels like I’m in grade school and moving away from my friends. And I don’t want to leave my friends.
I started working on Famine in early 2010, and spent the last two years with that particular set of characters living, breathing, fighting, and sometimes dying in my head. They have hopes, fears, plans, and voices, and their stories, their lives, aren’t over yet. There’s so much more for them to do; so much more about them to get out. And, honestly, what comes next is going to be a huge amount of fun to share, I think.
But I have to wait to get there. And that sucks.
Why, you ask? Honestly, it’s little more than selfishness. I don’t want to simply be a writer, I want to be a published author. If my goal was just to write, then I could gleefully go along my merry way rambling out a blog post every day while continuing along the same thread of narration I left when I typed “The End” in that manuscripts. No would care, the birds would still chirp, the sun would still shine, and the dingos would still eat your baby.
But I want to writing to be part of my livelihood, not just part of my recreation. And if you’re looking to secure an agent and/or sell a book, it doesn’t make sense to write three books about the same world and same people, one right after another (unless you already have a contract, of course, duh). I suppose it’s probably worked for some authors, but the fact is that in today’s
more-or-less-gambling and twitchy-as-a-meth-head uncertain and highly dynamic publishing marketplace, the book I just wrote might not be something any publisher wants to buy for a few years.
There are trends in publishing, just like in women’s jeans, and if you’ve got a story that doesn’t fill an existing hole on someone’s buy list, well, clearly no one’s going to buy it. Similarly, you don’t see anyone wearing grey acid-wash these days, do you?
Admittedly, that grey acid-wash will probably come back “in” someplace down the road, but that could be 20 years from now. So spending all your time today crafting more and more grey acid-wash is wasting the time that could be used to craft the next big thing.
Which is why, it’s time for me to move on. I’m going to say goodbye to my friends, for now, and go make something besides acid-washed jeans.
LIke I said, though, it’s just a little harder than I thought it would be.
And strangely, smells like fried chicken.