Slouching toward Bethlehem.

Yesterday I realized it’s been a while since I wrote a post that’s on topic, so here’s a data dump of everything that’s happening, where my projects stand, and various musings in between.

UGLY LITTLE THINGS

I sent six individual drafts to Amelia last week, and she aims to return them to me red-lined, marked up, and butchered by Thanksgiving. One of the stories that I sent her (HOUSE OF NETTLE & THORN) will probably be cut from the collection due to me not being happy with it and also due to it not really playing well with the other stories. A preliminary word count (excluding the story that will probably be cut) brings the first volume to around 44k words, which is just a hair shorter than ALT. Considering that I didn’t think the collection would happen due to my health issues and delays earlier in the year, I think my summer output was a success and went way better than expected.

Other things of note:

  • Horror author Anthony J. Rapino has agreed to write an introduction because he’s awesome like that.
  • Henry Rollins gave me permission to reprint lyrics to his song “NEON” in the collection (Yeah, I’m still buzzing about that).
  • Many of you expressed interest in a special print edition here and on Facebook, and I appreciate that very much. As of right now it’s too early to say if we’ll be doing a print run. I hope to know more as we get closer to release.

Speaking of which: We’re shooting for a late spring deadline. Most likely April 2014.

MONOCHROME #3

And now for some info on why you’re really here. If you follow me on Facebook (and you should), you’ve probably noticed a series of Monochrome-related updates over the last couple of weeks. The fact is that I have started working on the final book of the trilogy. I have about 2k words written so far, and I anticipate another 2k this weekend.

I’ll be honest with you: I’m scared of this thing. Most of the pressure I felt when working on TLM was self-imposed. I hadn’t written anything in a while and I wanted to prove to myself that I could still do it. This time is different. This time I hear from a lot of you on a regular basis about wanting that third book, wanting to know what happens next, what happens to Donovan and Donna and their baby. And while I have a good idea of how it all shakes out, the actual ritual of sitting down every night and pounding the keyboard is daunting. I don’t want this to take four years of my life. I would like for it to stretch out to around two years and no more. I would like for the book to be around 80k words, but I’m allowing myself 100k for breathing room.

I’m trying to plot as much of this thing in advance as I can, but these last few days I’ve struggled to do so, mainly because my creative process isn’t built that way. Half of the writing is done on the fly, with the work dictating where things go next; I know where I need to go, but how I get there is anyone’s guess, and that’s the difficult part when it comes to planning this thing. I don’t want to fuck this up. I don’t want to produce something on par with the third Matrix movie, or even Return of the Jedi. I want this to trump TLM, and right now the picture isn’t quite in focus yet. That scares me.

I will continue forward, however. I’m using Scrivener to keep track of my notes this time around, since there’s some world-building stuff that has to be followed. This will hopefully prevent backtracking later on down the road.

scrivener

Last week I started what I thought would become the prologue. I was wrong. It’s most likely the start of chapter two. This weekend I will be working on the prologue:

prologue_teaser

Here’s what I can tell you so far:

  • I have a title, but I’m not announcing it until next year sometime. Why? Because it’s my party, that’s why.
  • The main story will pick up somewhere around three to five days after the end of TLM. Haven’t decided yet.
  • A big portion of the story will focus on Donna, Michael, and Alice. Quinn will probably show up, but he isn’t the focus this time.
  • You will learn the back story of Aleister Dullington: where he came from, what he is, and what he’s up to.
  • You will learn why the Monochrome exists, and what that Column in the distance has to do with it.
  • The original ending for TLM (from its first and second drafts) will probably be scrapped altogether. I have a better ending in mind, but I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to follow it. Most of you will probably hate me for it . . . but it’s more true to the story than the old ending I had in mind.

That’s where I am right now. There’s always a point in a first draft where it’s like you’re wandering through an art gallery in the dark. You’re looking for a painting, but all you have is a flashlight, and while you may find that painting, you can only see parts of it at a time. Until you find the light switch. Last time it took me about a year to find the switch for TLM. Once I did, the rest of the draft came together quickly. This time I hope I have a bigger, brighter flashlight at my disposal.

One more thing about the third book. My friend Dave suggested I read this poem by William Butler Yeats called The Second Coming. I did so, and I think I’m going to seek permission to reprint the last stanza (if the poem isn’t in the public domain by this point):

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Slouching toward Bethlehem. With the third book looming over me like a cloud, I think I can relate to that. Wish me luck.

TK