Too sick right now to work on The Nondescript. I gave it a whirl for an hour or so, though. Recognizing that I was definitely too sick and muddy-minded to write on the computer, I got out my fountain pen and some paper and tried to write that way. I managed very little, and I’m not sure any of it is useful. It’s like I’m trying to write someone else’s book, through someone else’s hand, possibly while looking the other way. My head is a very useless thing right now.
So instead of writing, I will sit here and think about writing, out loud. Or out-typed, as it were.
I have The Nondescript mapped out from where I am, to the end. I’m very happy about that. Last night, after a bath that was intended give me some aching-body relief (it helped ’till the exact second I got out), I realized what was wrong with my ending and went and sat in the entryway, where a small light had been left on (everyone was asleep, I didn’t want to turn on any lights) and I wrote another half page of notes, changing parts of my ending. It wasn’t balanced. Or it wasn’t satisfying. But I figured out how to make it both, and still come to the result I needed. So that’s all right.
Sadly, because I am sick, I won’t finish the novel by the end of December. It would have been exactly a two-month novel, then. I was looking forward to that. It’ll be first week of January, maybe second, depending on how much time I lose being ill.
The nice thing about the state of The Nondescript right now is, I can look at any of the scenes coming up and see them in my head. I could write the rest of the novel backwards, or in any random order I wanted. I get all the scenes. That’s really nice. And it’s something I do intend to do. Write a couple of scenes at once. For one thing, it’s a good morale booster to finish up a scene and then, five minutes later, finish up another scene.
Beyond that, I am puzzling over what my next novel will be about. I have a couple of ideas, as it stands, but I’m unsure which of them has stood up and grabbed me and said “Oy.” I’m not sure either has yet.
I like ’em both. The first one is Dark, and is a realistic-super-hero story. I mean entirely realistic. It was intended to be a six-issue comic, but I decided I could do it much better as a novel. I have my beginning there, my ending, my characters, but I have no burning urge to start writing it right this very second.
But, for whatever reason, it’s appealing to me more than trying to actually write novel two, which is The Neon God. I have written this one before, and I hated where it went (it collapsed under itself, eventually). It’s a pretty good premise, and it lets me say some things that I like saying (and, sigh, probably said better in God in the Machine, or would have, if I’d continued). For this one, I have ideas and an ending (I always have an ending. AN ending. It’s not always the one I end up at.) but again, there is no fiery urge to write it.
If all else fails, I suppose I’ll start writing book one of the God in the Machine series, cannibalizing the episodes and shaping them into book form, instead of short story form. I figured out how to tell the story in three books. I say that now, I had a lot of story in the series. I could do five books easy, if I wanted. There were problems before in God in the Machine, but they were all on the author side of things. And the release schedule. That was rough.
I have muttered about this problem of not knowing what comes next to a couple people who have given me the utterly infuriating and useless reply of “you’ll figure it out,” which is as useful as a man who’s about to skydive saying, “Hey, you know, you’ll do great, huh? Let ‘er rip! Ha ha!” That is, it is entirely un-reassuring.
Granted, I’m sure I will figure it out. I have only ever once before hit a period where I suddenly didn’t know what to write and so wrote nothing. The only real pressure, as it were, comes from needing something to write for The Penman Shipwreck.
I have lots of novel ideas. There’s my haunted house novel (I have never gotten the ideas to gel properly, and I have nothing but a main character who I really, really look forward to writing, once I know what happens). I have a thick, thick (I mean dense) literary novel which, like so many things I’ve written before, currently has the title of “Ghost Love Score,” and which I have written several thousand idle words on, and liked none of them. What else do I have. Another science fiction novel which I won’t tell you the title of, because it gives away my premise. Um. I consider, off and on, starting over on my Rome novel and seeing where I go with it now, but I think it’s too soon. The wound is still fresh, as it were. I have a light-hearted and funny novel called Frankenstein Versus High Society (working title, clearly) and which I’ve had a blast writing. I know the story of that pretty well. I like the idea of writing more on that one. Maybe I will. Who knows?
There. I’m done musing for the night. I need more cough drops, and I would lie down, if I thought it would do any good.
I am a little over halfway through done with Love in the Time of Cholera. I know, I’m reading it slowly. It’s a thick and tough book to read and when getting sicker, I can focus less and less well. The funny thing about it is, I do not particularly like the characters as it stands — except for one, who’s dead — and the story does not seem satisfactory to me (I am only halfway through) and yet, I can read on just for the beauty of the language. The language and the writing itself carries me onward in a gentle glide. It’s interesting, and I like it. (My final judgment, of course, is reserved ’till I’m done with the book. Anyway, who cares what I think? It won a Nobel Prize. So what if Pete Tzinski thinks it was lousy.)
(I am utterly rambling)
Partially because of something Joe Hill said, in an interview done with Blood, Blade & Thruster magazine, may it rest in peace…and partially something Ed talked about, about the death of proper heroic fantasy…and partially something that has been very much on my mind…leaves me thinking about writing a fantasy novel. An epic, high fantasy novel. I have ideas. And I have the language I’d write it in (or I should say, the style, the tone, the voice. Tolkien had a voice in his novels, and I think it’s a shame that in so many of the High Fantasy novels that followed in his footsteps, voice was mostly regulated to some weird mysterious voice that is meaningless. If this whole paragraph is baffling, tell me, I’ll try to explain better when cold medicine gives me my head back). Here again, I have ideas and characters and influences and thoughts and so on.
Well, who knows.
My good friend down the hall played Rock Band last night at a friend’s house. He called me to abashedly say that he’d…he’d…enjoyed it. Abashed, because there have been many times when he has spoken ill and laughed about it and the Guitar Hero games (I have too. Some people who play ’em are really…really…creepy). But he enjoyed it. I told my wife earlier this morning, “I bet you five bucks that when I go over to see him later today, there will be Rock Band sitting in his living room.”
I went over.
Rock Band was sitting in his living room.
It amused me no end. And, er, I hardly mind. I am not the most rhythmic person in the world, but I enjoyed what little I played of Guitar Hero I and II. I like the idea of Rock Band. Sometime tonight, or tomorrow morning, I’ll go over and we’ll play guitar and drums and, depending on how we egg each other on, one of us might sing.
I was the lead singer in my high school garage rock band. Except I never really sung. We never got that far. I did — and this is typical of me — write nearly forty-five songs for the band, because at that age, my output was huge. Some of them are awful. Some of them aren’t bad.
Point being: I am not standing in my friend’s living room and singing. No, I am not. Not happening. It will probably happen. Who am I kidding? You are going to read this blog and find an ashamed note from me saying, “I sang Deep Purple’s Highway Star today…and loved it.”
(There are certain songs on the playlist. “Run to the Hills,” by Iron Maiden. “Paranoid,” by Black Sabbath. “Detroit Rock City,” by KISS. “Enter Sandman,” by some no-name 90’s band. I say without shame that I know all the words anyway, so…)
Good grief. A quick post musing on what novel to do next — and I haven’t even gotten into that secret writer’s fear, “What I do next cannot be as good as what I did with Nondescript.” — turned into a whopping 1,700 word babble. I’ll try to be succinct next time. Who knows, it might happen.