In my mind, I can picture hundreds of emails from hundreds of fans asking this question, so I figured I would share it with all of you. Now, in reality, there probably aren’t that many emails from fans in my inbox at the moment (if any), but having an overactive imagination pretty much goes hand in hand with being a writer, so fear not. Plus, knowing this is what is on my mind rather than some of the other things that often occupy it might be a relief to some.
Have you ever wanted to smash something into the wall over and over again, then douse it with gasoline and light a match? Most of the time, for me, it’s people I want to do this too, but earlier this year I felt this way about this particular novel. I may have even written some posts about it on here, though I’m not sure. I get funny about writing about projects I’m currently working on, almost as if I have to be careful because the idea is so fragile that I might break it even with a simple whisper. Then again, I wanted to disembowel this thing and run around swinging its intestines like a lasso, so why I would hesitate to write about it for fear of breaking it seems a bit odd. What can I say, we’re a weird bunch us writers. Or maybe it’s just me?
The reason for my hatred of this novel was simple; it was hard to write. Now, this isn’t to say that everything else has been easy, every novel has those moments when nothing is working, but this one had this happen more times that I want to count – and more times that I ever want to experience again. Every fifty to seventy pages I would hit a brick wall, my mind unable to move the story forward. I just didn’t know what to do. It was very odd. Worse, my normal strategies for when this happened didn’t seem to work, the most useful one being my re-reading of what was written. In the past, this has always helped me move forward with a story, but not this time. Whenever this one would stop I would eventually have to set it aside for several weeks and work on something else, which I really hate doing because it has the tendency to kill the book in question.
Now, had the novel been crap I would have just given up on it, which I have done in the past. My re-reads, however, were positive experiences and ones that always ended with me being bummed because I wanted to see how the story continued – a very good sign. So, for nearly a year I would go through this process of writing fifty to seventy pages, setting it aside when the wall popped up, write something else for a while, and then go back to the book. What was frustrating about this was that the side projects I would distract myself with were good, yet I could never get into them fully because my mind kept drifting back to Nikki's Secret, which in turn made it so I was bouncing back and forth between two novels that were reading well. It was mind numbing. Persistence did pay off, though, and in August the book finally started to write itself and before I knew it the last two hundred pages were complete.
First draft finished, I set it aside for a month so I could get it out of my head, and now, feeling as if enough time has passed, will start the editing phase of things.
I’m not sure why, but ever since I was in high school I wanted to write a story that had a scarecrow element to it. The first time I ever did this was during my junior year. Naturally, things were a bit cliché and I had a supernatural killer scarecrow in the story, one that I ended up sending to Weird Tales magazine. The rejection was very positive. They liked my writing and my characters and everything that happened. They didn’t like the scarecrow idea, however, since, well, it was cliché. All the other magazines and anthologies said the same thing. A few years later, I rewrote the story and gave it a more psychological feel. Once again, everyone loved the story, yet also felt there was just something slightly not quite right about it and thus would not be publish it. Honestly, I felt the same way about it, but wasn’t sure if my thoughts were correct which is why I sent it out. After all, I had been wrong about my short story “Red Pickup” so maybe I was wrong about that one.
Since those days, the story has always been in my head, yet I never really knew what to do with it until now, and, once Nikki's Secret was completed, I jumped right into it. Seventy pages later and things are going really well. This time around, it will be a short novel rather than a story, one that will have a heavy psychological element to it. And that is all I will say about that.
At one point, needing a complete change of pace when stuck on Nikki's Secret I began penning what I thought would be some simple zombie apocalypse stories. Nothing serious, just fun tales I could get lost in while writing. Well, these stories hooked me and now I plan on writing four or five short zombie apocalypse novels. Not sure what I will do with them once they are completed, but I will certainly write them during my free time this month. Chances are, if some of my early readers like them, I will upload them to Amazon and see what happens.
SO . . .
There you have it; this is what should be occupying my time for the next couple of weeks. Obviously, the most important project is the editing of Nikki's Secret because I would like to have that novel uploaded on Amazon before the end of the year. Now, normally this would not be possible, editing takes time, but since I re-read the novel so many times while working on it, much of the editing work is finished, that being the major rewriting of scenes that just don’t work as they originally appeared in the first draft. What remains is the proofing and some fine-tuning, both of which I will do myself and then, for the former, hire out as well. Of course, I will also try to do some book and movie reviews, though those won’t be a priority (as you’ve probably noticed with this site lately). And, outside of my writing . . . hmm . . . I really don't do much it seems. I guess I will read, build puzzles, make tea and . . . ooo, go buy yummy things at the candy store!