I figured that this may be the best time to jump back into things and attempt to blog again.
I know, I’ve been gone for a while. These long absences happen. You haven’t even seen a substantial movie review from me in quite a while which, I have to admit, is 90% laziness, 5% procrastination, 3% iron oxide, 1% being too busy, and 3% butterscotch ripple.
If you didn’t already know, Unlucky Seven (book one, at least) was completed, tweaked, slightly rewritten, triple checked for grammar, and thrown to the wolves, as it were. I have made but nine submissions, received six rejections (three personal, three form letters), and been ignored/slush-piled three times (over two months and no response, they don’t want it).
I’ve been attempting to get things together to fire another volley of submissions, but it is a daunting process. Rejections in any number make one question whether the work being sent is truly worth the attention of a literary agent or publisher. When one has labored so over a piece for such an extended period only to be so easily cast aside by the first-choices on that litany of agents who will even attempt to look at genre fiction, it can become difficult to want to sprint down that path again.
Yeah, that’s a really wordy way of saying I want to get my shit together again before I run headlong back into the fray. I know, it’s only nine rejections. Stephen King spins a good tale in “On Writing” about how he used to keep a peg-hook in his wall and place every rejection letter he received on the hook. He describes the size of the stack. I think it might have been thirty-five deep, haven’t read that book in a while.
No matter how few rejections there may be on my metaphorical peg-hook (the days of agencies only accepting paper submissions in this greener world largely gone), they are still rejections. I keep my head up, knowing that you can never (or rarely) win with the first punch thrown, but every punch you throw wears you out just a little bit more. Submissions will begin again when I sit down and come up with the perfect query. Right now, I’m not sure it’s doing the job.
Also, I know its sort of trite and cliché to say it, but the publishing world positively REEKS of pretention. If you know me at all, you know that sure as hell ain’t my style.
If you’re interested in reading Unlucky Seven and you haven’t yet, let me know, I’ll hook you up.
The other thing holding up both my blogs and my continued submission of U7 actually came through a conversation with one of my closest friends and most regular readers. During a rather drunken argument involving much pounding of his dining room table, he suggested that I drop the whole “superhero thing” and write something completely different.
This came contrary to his previous advice, a few years prior, suggesting that I concentrate on something until its finished because, up until the final word was written for Unlucky Seven Book One, I had never finished a single project end to end in my entire writing career. There are half-filled, hand-written, black, leather, hard-back books with proof of this. There are word files in archives where seven or so chapters of a story were written and never touched upon again.
Now that U7B1 was done, he suggested I do something completely different.
“Don’t just start writing the sequel,” he said, “You don’t want to be pigeon-holed into one genre.”
It’s too bad word programs don’t let you smudge things because between the way it was stated and the way it was heard, it sounded far less eloquent, but no less poignant.
I took his advice. I started writing a fantasy novel. I’ve never actually created my own world before; towns and small regions, yes, but an entire world? Never.
Playing off of an idea that once jumped into my head but never really materialized, I started writing about a world of swords, sorcery, and a smidge of steampunk filled with anthropomorphic animals and humans specifically centering on an outcast rabbit knight and a young, naive human princess as they travel across the many countries of the world together on the back of a clockwork turtle.
Crazy, right? Yeah, I thought you’d think so.
It seems that way at the outset, anyway, until you get into the outline (which I will not do here). In the end, it winds up being a story about loyalty, trust, honor, nobility, and all those other good things you’ve read about in the fairy stories. It’s a bit dark, it’s a bit twisted, most of all it’s totally different from anything else I’ve ever written.
It’s that last fact that’s making me pound my head against the wall with writer’s block.
I’m not used to writing anything serious. I think I need to start the blog back up just so that I can blow off some steam and make my visits back to my new fantasy world with a refreshed perspective. Throw the levity up here, keep the gravity back in the darker place. I have forgotten how hard it is to write dialogue without at least some sarcastic overtones. And, when your main character is a rabbit knight who has known nothing but service until his unceremonious exile from his home empire addressing a light-hearted, well-respected, and beloved king of another country… well, it’s really tough to go back to more serious verbal exchanges when you’re used to a bunch of people with superpowers alluding to dick and fart jokes while trying to save the day.
So, I’m back. I’ll endeavor to stay back. I may even resurrect the fights soon. Who knows? This could be the beginning of a whole new era.
And, if you have any sorts of hook-ups within the literary community, holla at ‘cha boy.