READ THE TERRIBLE TWELVES VIA TAPASTIC!

READ THE TERRIBLE TWELVES VIA TAPASTIC!
A YA fantasy by Emily Devenport and Ernest Hogan

Monday, June 4, 2012

NOTES ON THE WRITER BIZ IN APOCALYPTIC/REVOLUTIONARY TIMES





Yes, I am still writing. It just doesn't seem like it these days. I'm not sure what word would be appropriate: Apocalypse? Revolution? I can't seem to come up with a nifty sci-fi term . . .

The disease still affects me. Fiction bubbles out of the dark reaches of my brain, clogging up my psyche, acting like a dangerous drug. They call it creativity, this monster that runs my life.

Unfortunately, like crime, it does not pay, so I have a part-time job that sucks up some of my energy and time. When you're a part-timer, your schedule is fluid and irregular. This makes the fantasy of being the clock-punching, working writer damnear impossible – you have to go at it hit-and-run, like guerrilla warfare.

Combine that with the fact that I'm easily distracted, and I keep finding myself up to my ears in fascinating weirdness, and it's a minor miracle that I get anything done.

Over the last decade or so I've found that it takes me longer to write short stories. This is partly because there are no markets out there clamoring to buy them for huge wads of cash. I keep coming up with ideas that I have to put aside because they go through radical changes, diverging from their original inspiration, making me rethink them as I go along. What starts out avant-garde ends up retro-steampunkish when it's finally published.

At least I can report that after writing a story, I can publish it faster. No more writing something and having to wait ten or twenty years for a market to come along.


As insane as it seems, I'm working on two novels: a futuristic bullfighting dystopia, and a fantasy about the PreColumbian ball game. Neither have any hope of selling to the traditional publishers, but I've given up that decadent scene. The bullfighting book takes top priority, since it has been percolating in my subconscious for years and is giving me an excuse to be an online aficionado. The ball game book is going to require more research – there is literally a lost world to explore.

Both of these projects have sports themes. I never intended to become a time travel/archeological/gonzo sports writer. These things just sort of happen. Fate gets imaginative. That's when you know you're really in trouble.

What I'm not doing is worrying about being commercial. I don't care about the hot new trends.  I don't want to write what “they” are all buying. It used to be you'd go to a convention and the writers would all be saying you were crazy or doomed if you weren't working on military science fiction, sexy vampires, and/or YA wizard epics. All those are fizzling now. I don't know what the next one will be, and I don't really care.

There's another apocalypse going on out there. Bookstores are going the way of the dinosaur. Houghton Mifflin has declared bankruptcy. Expect other publishers to follow. How can you be “commercial” when the infrastructure that supported all those conceits is collapsing?

Still, I keep on writing. It makes me feel good. I'm a happy addict, and I am determined to have fun.

I figure that if I'm having fun, sooner or later people will want to buy in on it. This delusion keeps me going.



4 comments:

  1. Awesome. Keep it up, EH! Can't wait to read it.

    - Bobby D.
    http://the-unpublishable.com

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  2. Thanks, Bobby. It's always good to know someone's waiting out there.

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  3. I had that weird feeling of deja vu while reading this. But is it still deja vu when it's happening to someone else?

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  4. A lot of us writers have been caught in a weird time warp for the last couple of decades.

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