Friends, it’s been awhile since I gave an update on where my writing stands and what I’m thinking creatively. So, this time, I’m going to do just that. Wanted to survey my writing projects and what I’ve been up to. So, here it goes!
New Projects: One First Draft and Some Editing
Good news! I have finished the “first draft” of a new project. I’m calling this one “The King Becomes a Star.” It’s very different for me: it’s short speculative-fiction (really, Cosmic Horror) POETRY. Yes, you read that right, poetry. It’s not something I’ll be doing a lot of, I’m not a naturally-talented poet, but it was fun to write… Of course, then again, it was less fun to edit. Poetry is HARD, Folks. Go ahead, just try it sometime and you’ll see!
A big inspiration for this piece (besides cosmology, more on that below) was Pharaoh Unas and his Pyramid Texts. These were essentially spells carved onto the inner tomb of a pyramid to help in the resurrection of the deceased king and his journey into the Underworld.
Anyway, the poems are with my trusted Beta readers. They’re helping to rank and edit them. I will take that feedback, edit more, and start submitting to magazines interested in this rather obscure genre. This also marks the first time I sought feedback on a piece BEFORE submitting it to markets. So, I’m hoping that a sign of me maturing as a writer? Or something.
Also, I have been editing a longer piece for some time. I’m not ready to talk about it or more widely share this piece, but I’m excited about it and feel it came out well. It’s acronym title is TBOS. More on that later, but not soon.
I’m also finding this editing stuff fairly rough going. I love to be writing a first draft, doing edits is not nearly as fun. It’s more like dry, analytical work and less like the fun, creative adventure of writing first drafts. Still, it’s not done, until it’s polished. So, got to keep going!
A Question of Genres…Unwrapped
Last week, I had the good luck to join a virtual class on “Crossing Genre Lines” given by Jonathan Maberry as part of StokerCon, the Horror convention. It was well worth the price and Jon did a great job as instructor.
I’ve long been concerned about which genre most of my work fits in. It’s not an easy answer. I am not a guy who’s always wanted to do Horror, or Sci-Fi, or literary fiction. I sort of write the story and let the genre sort itself out later. And I am intent to go on following that instinct, but sometimes it’s nice to get validation for where your instincts want to go.
Jon writes a lot of cross-genre stuff: Horror-Science Fiction, Weird Westerns, Supernatural Thrillers, etc., etc. His main advice (and I hope I’m not spoiling the seminar here, Jon!) is to “follow the story.” That means to follow your heart, writing the story that’s burning in your belly and bring that one to life. After you’re done with it, then you can worry about which genre it belongs in…And which editor would like it and how to market it. If it turns out it bridges genres, that’s OK, too! There is a market for cross-genre stuff (and Jon’s career proves it!).
So, for me, this means to keep doing what I’m doing. Writing these weird mash ups of Horror Science Fiction, of Fantasy Science Fiction, of Historical Fiction with a Fantasy feel. I have to keep on latching onto the best story that pops in my head, get it down, and then—once it’s done—start thinking about which genre it fits into.
The seminar just gave further impetus to that instinct. So, thanks StokerCon and Jonathan!
Reading, Listening, Watching
I’ll admit, I haven’t been reading much. There’s something to this whole don’t-feel-like-reading-during-the-pandemic. I have found it especially hard to get into longer works lately. Weird, but that’s where I’m at.
But I have been reading some of the Oxford Very Short Introductions which I find great at giving you a quick summary of topics you might know nothing about. I fell into reading the ones on “Cosmology” and “Black Holes” both of which gave me the final nudge to get down some scraps of “The King Becomes a Star.” Later, those scraps became mini-poems.
As for music, I’ve been listening to a lot more to what I’ll call (that genre problem again!) Cosmic Psychedelic or Surrealist Trance. This is the sort of stuff I listen to as I write. That is, IF the song matches the tale.
I’ll break down just two songs right here. Generally, I Tweet out my total word counts at the end of each writing day and, usually, a YouTube link to a song I was listening to as I wrote that day.
First, there’s FOALS and their epic track, “Neptune.”
Swinging to a different sound, but still delving into that psychedelic groove is this from Rae Sremmurd: “Perplexing Pegasus.” Love this track!
These are the sort of songs that are helping me tune in and keep up my word count lately. Great stuff.
That’s about it for now, got to turn back to the writing, editing, living. See you out there!