Before I confess my epic failures to you, I should say that I meant to write you about why groupthink sucks and why you should shoot free throws underhanded, but that is now a 2,000 word article and counting.
Another day, perhaps.
Instead, today I update you about my next novel, and I could perhaps be one of the first writers in the history of social media to eschew vaguebooking or only sharing the BEST NEWS to tell you the following:
- I spent two years writing a very personal novel as best as I could, THE ESCAPE OF LIGHT, about a burn survivor beginning freshman year, and surviving heartbreak (and other tragedies) to finally accept his scarred appearance.
- That novel was received by beta readers, my agent, some editors, and book scouts with enthusiasm and praise.
- That novel was "taken out" by my agent at the prestigious Janklow and Nesbit literary agency, and despite the wonderful feedback, NO SALE.
I get asked when my next book is coming out, and I wish I had a good answer. Publishing is a tough business, and these are the breaks, I suppose?
Nothing is more frustrating than having a novel I'm passionate about and being unable to share it with the widest possible audience.
Yes, I've considered self-publishing, but it's a monumental task to do correctly, and I'm just not up to it right now.
Yes, I've considered the Indie and micropress route, and the thought of pulling this from my agent's desk and then submitting it for months to find the right partnership feels like a boulder I can't push right now.
So for now, my strategy is this: write.
Chuck Palahniuk wrote INVISIBLE MONSTERS and it was roundly rejected for being savage and violent. His response was to write FIGHT CLUB.
I'm not exactly taking that route, but I did write a love story. I wrote from a personal well of despair and suffering (my burn scars). I wrote for a wider audience, the YA market, and while the novel has a thread of darkness, it lacks the visceral violence and depravity that marked some scenes in HEART and some of my more popular short stories.
I am now into my seventh or so draft of BRIMSTONE, which is not for the mass market. This one's for the fringe, a weird and wild mashup of genres (crime, horror, action, coming-of-age, superhero, revenge) that keeps me coming back with an energy I haven't felt in a long time.
I'm taking my favorite archetypes and setting them loose, and not holding anything back. The end result might end up being a shitshow, but it'll be a shitshow I care deeply about sharing with all of you, no matter what.
This one won't sit on an agent's desk. It's the type of manuscript agents burn after reading, and it may end up as a book you'll throw across the room.
But you know what? It's fun. I feel like it's a more natural follow-up to the cross-genre shenanigans in HEART, and it progresses my deranged vision of superhero origin stories.
My long-term strategy has never changed: write.
Best day ever?
I started writing when I was old enough to pick up a pencil, and I haven't stopped since. I won't ever stop.
That's no guarantee I'll be good, or famous, or published, but you can't be ANY of those things without writing.
So that's what I'll do, and I hope you'll stick with me along the way.