Thursday, January 12, 2017

My flagship title, my HMS Victory.

I was hoping "The Scorching" would be my flagship title. So I've sent it off, and intend to send it off on that basis. But I'm not sure I'm right.

I'm in writing limbo.

So I've got a couple of small indications that something could possibly happen. It's got me paralyzed.

Then I remember what I thought were my original odds, which were "Slim to None" and realize the small indications aren't enough to really sway those odds, and I get a little perturbed with myself for getting my hopes up.

But I can't seem to help it. The delusion is so strong that it keeps me writing, though in my saner moments I realize that the whole thing is extremely unlikely. Ironically, when nothing is happening, I can get things done, but give me the slightest hope, no matter how unlikely, and suddenly I'm frozen. ( I realize that I'm contradicting myself, but think of it long-term versus short-term.)

Haven't settled on my next book yet. I know that I'm going to write another Virginia Reed novel sometime this year. I know that I want to work on finishing the Lander books. But I'm not sure I want to do either thing just yet.

I very much enjoyed writing "Said the Joker, to the Thief," a straight fantasy novella. I think the way "I Live Among You" turned out was encouraging.

So I'm thinking I should combine the two things--first person narration and straight fantasy.

But I don't have a starting point.

I still need to give "The Scorching" its final polish, which I'm going to start tomorrow and finish by the end of the month. I'm sort of backing away from the idea of sending it to agents, for a couple of reasons. First of all, I think the whole agent, mainstream publisher route is likely to disrupt my writing to such an extent that it will be counterproductive. (The Limbo I'm in compounded.)

And secondly, though I hate to say it out loud, I don't think I quite hit the mainstream narrative I was hoping for. I mean, I like "The Scorching" but I think it's a little flawed in its approach. Nobody's fault. It's more than good enough to put out, but I don't know if its what I want to use as my flagship title.

I'm stuck in this process of writing something and then figuring out what it is. But as much as I'd like to think this all through in advance, all that happens when I do that is that nothing gets done.

Ultimately, it seems better to go off half-cocked and hope that something good happens, then to sit and stew about it and not create and even if I do create, still end up with many of the same problems.

The flagship title will happen. Right now, I'd say it's "Led to the Slaughter," or possibly "Tuskers," and depending on how well it sells, "Snaked." "Snaked" probably came out the best narratively, with some of my best writing and characters, so we'll see. If I had to show one example of my writing, it would probably be one of those three titles.

I think, if I keep writing, that one book will stand out, and of course, I always think my next effort will be my HMS Victory.


Dave Cline said...

A flagship novel. Interesting idea. What your name might stand for in 20-50 years; that sort of thing?

I would guess that luck plays a big part in that.

Would a flagship novel contain such things as social commentary, future predictions (that are probable and come true), an epic nature? Would they be real world vs fantasy or ultra sci-fi? That is, plausible rather than impossible (Hunger Games vs Harry Potter)?

I've mentioned before that lately I prefer plausible stories vs the impossible. In my youth I think the opposite was true. I still want to escape, but do so into a world that *could* be rather than into one that could never be. Nor do I favor the alt-history fiction (H.Turtledove) novels (don't care about what never was), show me just might be -- in this universe.

I guess for my flagship I would choose it to be visionary, plausible, socially involved, and I suppose meaningful in some way.

Duncan McGeary said...

Right, but trying to be "visionary, plausible, socially involved, and meaningful" is a recipe for writer's block. At least for me.

I set out with good intentions, and then the novels end up being Duncan McGeary like, very much of the same level of competence as most of the rest of the Duncan McGeary novels.

I'm always trying for the "good" novel, and then hoping for a "competent" novel.

I figure "luck" is a good word, and more likely to happen the more I write. Sort of like a baseball player who has a "career year." As much about statistical averages and odds as anything else.

To be reductive.

Duncan McGeary said...

Writing what you want to write is more likely to result in a good book. It's not like any of us chose to write a bad book. We're all doing our best.

Lots of pretentious novels and novelists out there. If you've got the skill and talent and intelligence and depth to pull it off, then great. If you don't, then you're just wasting everyone's time.

Whereas, if your goal is just to tell a good story--hey, it might end up being the very thing you're hoping for.

Dave Cline said...

A good story. Yeah, you're no doubt right in that. Get that first, and then maybe be conscious of the other stuff during the process. I suppose I was thinking about novels that become links in our expanding culture.

And that luck reference. Much better odds if you've got a dozen novels published eh? The whole "luck favors the well prepared" theme.

Duncan McGeary said...

It's so much easier to write a novel, to submit a novel, to self-publish a novel, that it's gone from "luck" to "astounding luck." Really, the whole thing is out of control.

Back when I used to have cut down my own trees to make paper and kill snails to make ink, those were the days.

To write a novel in the 70's, you had to create a clean copy from a typewriter, copy it at a printer, put it in a box and send it postal to a publisher. I figure that washed out about 90% of the potential novelists--good or bad.