So this book? Is going to be about twice as long as everything else I've published, when all is said and done. And it has become a very, very strange beast indeed.
I try REALLY hard to avoid pretensious, naval gazing. "THIS IS SPECIAL" kind of writing. I don't want you to be wondering what the conch shell means, in other words. But...well, I also have kind of sort of developed a writing theory where our brains are smarter than we are. And to do a good job writing in a genre, you have to understand what the genre is about.
I'd guess mysteries and thrillers and the like are easy, because they're straight forward stuff. I don't know. I don't think in murder mysteries. I do fantasy and sci-fi, and that kind of is where things go off the psychological rails. Most of why I write is, I find an idea. It's a really, really cool idea, but the story built around the idea sucks.
I have never been to college or taken a professional writing course, so take everything I say with a grain of salt, okay? Fantasy, sci-fi and horror are all, in my VERY and probably wrong opinion, about the human psyche. Fantasy, the really, really GOOD fantasy like Tolkien and Robin McKinley and especially Neil Gaiman, is all about who we are. Fairy Tales teach children that dragons can be killed, remember? But a dragon can be a lot of things. Alcoholism, depression, ugly relationships. To get extremely spiritual and metaphysical on all of you, there's a reason why swords are considered symbols of truth--tell the truth around an alcoholic, and the dragon--either the alcoholism or the alcoholic themselves--has to go away. Sci-fi is about where we're going. I think the big reason why sci-fi has lately gotten very dysotopian and hopeless--the last hopeful sci-fi show I remember seeing on TV was Stargate: Atlantis, and that got cancled a long time ago--is because we've corporately lost hope in our future as a species. Horror is about what we're afraid of. I don't think that needs any more elaboration.
This book, though, this freaking book...Personally, I like it. But it's been a long, uphill slog since I started writing it, and I have no idea if it's any good or not. At this point, I'm shelving assessments of quality and entertainment and just GOING with it. Letting it be its own damn thing because it's going to do what it wants anyway. Long time readers should know, it takes a LOT to pull that admission out of me. I am NOT one of those "I do what the little voices tell me" kind of writers.
But it's time I got really honest with myself about my writing, now. It's not about making money anymore. I need to remember to put that idea away, same as I put the idea of professional publishing away. Now, it has to be about sharing the stories I have the best way I have to share them. Making them be good, over and above my pride, and making them be, well, true. As close to what they ought to be as I, in my VERY limited singular capacity, can get them.
I'm in a really weird place in my life, folks. I've accomplished nothing. Not one thing that I wanted to do five years ago have I done. I don't have a family. I have a job that half the time is surviable and half the time is really shitty, and I'm never going to be a real writer. And yet for the first time in my life, I'm waking up happy. I feel content no matter how shit my job gets. And it's not about the books, and it's not about my job, and it's not about anything, really.
And I am REALLY happy with this book.
Now if I can just get it done by November 15th...