Saturday, October 22, 2016

My first serious book? That's what I was intending. But...

What does that even mean?

I know in the past that this was a sure recipe for writer's block. So I was allowing my imagination to go in whatever direction it needed, but to trying to keep it grounded.

The first thought, even without the agent's douchbag request for "100 kickass pages" and "make it Big!" was to write a thriller. This my preferred reading these days, and I have a theory that you should write the same kind of book you like to read.

But once I got into the firefighter culture, I realized that I could write it from street level and have a pretty good book. Maybe try to ground it a little more in reality.

I did get into the head of the terrorists, so that is a step away from "what I know." (Not that I know what goes on with firefighters, but given where I was raised, being a firefighter wouldn't have been an impossibility.)

If I went that direction, I intended to take out the mucky-mucks and the astronaut.

Right away, there were some problems. The plot of the book demanded a sacrifice, and originally it was going to be a mucky-muck. With the mucky-muck gone, it had to be one of the two main characters, which would certainly make it a tragedy, but maybe a little too much so.

Then, I really liked the God's eye view of the astronaut character, a chance to show the whole picture.

Yesterday, I wrote a couple of astronaut chapters, and one of them is my second favorite chapter of the book. It's a bit hokey, in that I go for the drama. But the drama is cool--in a thriller.

Let's face it, I really want to write a thriller, and by doing so, I'm stepping away from the "serious" idea.

Here's what I need to remind myself. I'm always writing the best I can. There is no diminishment in my attempt to write full characters, to make it real. That's what I'm always trying to do.

So that's where I'm going. The only question remaining is do I go the one further step and include the supernatural element of the Jinn. I have a kind of quasi magic realism inclusion of the Jinn, but it could easily be expanded into the real thing.

My guess is that I'll end up doing that--because, to me, it adds a little extra zing to the story.

To satisfy the "serious" readers?  I was probably never going to be able to do that. My readers are always going to need to be people with a serious case of "Disbelief Suspension."


Dave Cline said...

Just a thought: alternatives to magic...

Previously unknown physics phenomena,
or genetically induced ability,
or doji, imam, or transcendental level ability,
or advanced military,
or alien technology.

Personally, in the last few years, I've been drifting away from supernatural magic as the foundation for viewing narrative worlds. The Harry Potter stories relied upon such a utterly incomprehensible array of impossibilities, that now that I re-read or re-watch them, I'm struck by how cavalier Rowling was with her "whoops -- didn't think of that -- better stick in some extra magic wiz-ma-gig here to compensate."

Therefore, I find myself tending toward the improbable versus the impossible. Fantasy just doesn't do it for me anymore. The Martian, improbable, not impossible. Robopocalypse, highly improbable but not impossible. Blue Across the Sea, half probable and have improbable but none of it impossible.

My two pence (with GBP nearly at parity with USD).

(Per Cent is exactly that 1/100'th of the 100 cent dollar. Why don't the British call that concept "perpence" instead?)

Duncan McGeary said...

If I had to guess, I won't go for the supernatural in this book. Probably 60/40 not.

Unfortunately, I have to think of the markets. I have an "in" with horror publishers, and I have no "in" anywhere else. Which means I have to do the whole Agent route or publish it myself.

Publishing it myself means no one will see it or buy it.

So...I keep hoping I'll have an unalloyed success at some point, and that there will be enough of a Crichton vibe to this book that one of the horror publishers will take it on.

Right now, I'm just writing it.