For the most part, I like all of my novels. I wouldn't have epubbed (made up another word) them if I didn't. I have a few in my computer that I'm not sure if I'll ever publish. (I'd have to rewrite them and then sprinkle pixie dust on them and think happy thoughts. Wait, that's Peter Pan. I'd have to do something to them, because they're...baaaaaad.) But there is one that I'm holding onto because it's a Civil War mystery. It's a good book but since it's a historical mystery and supposed to be number one of five, I'm disinclined to make it public right now. (I love Geoffrey Rush from Pirates of the Caribbean.) I'm also disinclined, you see, to write the four sequels that it desperately needs right away, and piss lots of readers off because the four don't automatically follow along. I just re-read the book myself and it's damn good but since I'm committed to Bubba right now, I can't submerge myself into Civil War history and pretty much make myself into a Civil War Zombie. Really, I would be thinking like a Confederate soldier for the next six months and it kind of melts my brain into mush. (Screaming "Run! It's the Yankees! Dixie forever!" while I'm in the grocery line wouldn't go over well, even living in Manassas.)
Let me put it another way. If I wrote Civil War mysteries, then I couldn't write Bubba mysteries. Or the steampunk suspense fantasy one that I really, really, really, really want to write. (So that one will wait a little bit.) And I couldn't write the third Bubba book, which is boiling about in my brain RIGHT NOW. (I hear the gasps of horrified dismay. So relax. I AM writing Bubba the third and I AM doing it right now.)
Writing a novel is like painting a picture.
It needs to be big and bold and in red and centered. Maybe underlined and italicized too. Maybe it should go on a coaster on Chili's. It should be in a fortune cookie at a Chinese food restaurant. Well, maybe not.
Writing a novel is like painting a picture.
(I'm also an artist and I've got lots of neat stuff in my house.) You see, none of the pictures that I paint will ever be the same as another one, no matter how hard I try to make the same. A few savvy people have noticed that the two Bubba books are even a little different. (I wrote the first one in 1999 and the second one in 2010, so that's a big difference.) For one thing, I headhopped like crazy in the first book. (Incidentally, the very first person to complain about vainglorious headhopping in Bubba just posted a review on either bn or amazon as I was writing this today. See, someone was paying attention.) I stuck to Bubba's perspective in the second book, with a few jaunts into Miz Demetrice's and Precious's heads. Honestly it made for a better book. (AND BY GOD, I CUT WAY DOWN ON THE COMMAS!) (I mean, I stopped to ask myself every time I hit the comma key, 'Do I really need that comma? Is that comma truly necessary? Would that sentence work without a comma?' And Jeez, who needs that kind of pressure?)
|Yes, I know this has NOTHING to do with this blog, but|
I haven't harassed my sister's cat, Mellow, in two blogs, so
it needed to be done. And yes, I know, I already used
this one maybe twice. I'm lazy. What can I say?
I get an idea for a book. Sometimes I remember how it came about. Sometimes I don't. It kind of settles in my brain and ferments. While I'm writing, I often will go to bed at night, dreaming about what's happening in my book. Sometimes I'll have vivid dreams about what will happen next in the book. I suppose it's a way of allowing my mind to brainstorm. Anything goes, and often does, when I'm contemplating plots. I usually have a rough outline but it never gets followed explicitly. Things happen and then the novel magically elongates. Mostly it elongates so much that I have to go back and cut stuff out because I made it too bleeping long. Stephen King had a neat phrase for this. He called it literary elphantitus. (And heyheyhey, Steve, if you're reading this blog, let me know, because I would just die if you read my blog.) I've never had the problem of my works being too short. (The novellas don't count because they were supposed to be short.)
So the point of the story for those people who complain about my genre shifting and style bouncing and whatever else you'd like to call it, writing is like painting a picture. I'm going to make sure that at the end it's pretty and cool and great to look at, but it isn't ever going to be exactly like the other picture that you really, really, really, really, really, really liked. As a matter of fact, it might be better.