In the middle of writing, The Darkness You Fear (which was going well) I switched over to my mainstream book.
The task is to come up with "100 Kickass pages and a killer synopsis." If I can pull that off, I have some people interested who could really advance my career. (Listen to me....career. Sheesh.)
They love me and my writing, but they don't like "horror." The message I got was, that the very people I'm currently publishing with are the guys who are doing a good job of that, but that the big NYC publishers aren't really interested in the genre.
So they want a mainstream book.
Well, I've had an idea kicking around forever, and I threw it out there, and they seemed to really like it.
Once I started writing it, it just came splurging out. I'm already 50 pages in, and I have a pretty good idea of where it's going. I think it's pretty good. Fun.
Thing is -- by writing genre books I've been able to write around my weaknesses. I could have everyday, if quirky, characters, who I could at least make marginally believable. People I could relate to. Or characters from the distant past, who if I don't quite get them right, who's going to know?
Strangely, characters in distant or strange worlds are easier to make believable than characters who parallel the real world.
Grownups, if you will.
Now I'm writing a thriller, dealing with what I've always termed "Suits." Grownups who wear suits to work, who live in the world I've always avoided.
I'm 63 years old, so it may sound strange, but what the hell, I've owned a comic book store for 35 years! I've worn a suit once in all that time, to my son Todd's wedding. It's gathering mothholes in my closet, I presume, because I've never looked at it since.
So people in officialdom, people of power, people of finance and law and government. What the fuck do I know about that?
What I know is what I read.
And yet, people are people. While I may not be getting all the details right, I do think that I'm getting the essence of their personalities. And that's the most important thing. I'm getting it better than I thought I would.
The experience of writing my genre books which are set in the current world -- Tuskers, the Vampire Evolution, Faerylander -- those have given me some confidence. To my great surprise, I found that it was actually easier for me than the fantasies I used to write.
I can take the full advantage of my rather broad if superficial knowledge of the world.
If I can't do it, I'll find out, and I won't be crushed. I think it's a pretty good book -- the thing is, it is probably going to need extensive research and fact-checking, and frankly I'm not going down that road unless the book is already accepted.
So...we'll see. If they pass, I'll know that's not a path I want to pursue. I'll go back to what I was doing, which I was perfectly happy doing.
4 days ago