This week my debut novel “FantasticLand” is on sale for $1.99 from the Amazon Kindle store. If you have an e-reader, give it a shot. It’s a little freaky, a lot exciting and super cheap (or if you know someone who reads on Kindle, send them a link, will ya?). The offer is good through this Sunday.
HT to the Lincoln Escape Room, a place I’ve been to twice and enjoyed myself thoroughly each time. Check them out at lincolnescaperoom.com.
Over the past few months everyone has heard varations on the theme “I want to bury my head in the sand”. This isn’t a political thing. I live in Nebraska and this winter we’ve received almost no snow and we wore shorts in February this week. Of course, it’s climate change, mankind’s greatest challenge that will eventually be the source of unimaginable misery and suffering but hey…70 degrees in February!
It’s easy to want to bury your head in the sand, is my point.
Of course, this is why many people read and read fiction in particular. It’s an escape, it takes up space in your brain that might otherwise be filled with some impending crisis, worry, fear or anxiety. I think that might be why anxious people read. You can worry about fictional characters with little or no consequence.
I’ve found this extends to writing, or at least the kind of writing I do, which was a surprise to say the least. As I’ve talked about before, I’m a discovery writer, a process which my fellow Nebraska writer Liz Boyle says is like “letting the characters take you for a ride”. I like that description because I’ve found it to be true. In the short amount of time I’ve carved out for myself to write each week I can count on coming out of that time in a pretty good mood, just like I do when I’m reading something particularly compelling. Not that my stuff is particularly compelling, but I’m surprised and sometimes thrilled at where a story is going and that functions as escapism.
This has two practical effects.
- It makes “working” on the writing part of my job pretty close to play time and
- It’s lent me a better understanding of why so many people take up writing.
The last few months have shown me there are a lot of writers out there – secret writers, aspiring writers, people who dream of having a bookshelf full of their work if not something more. I understood the appeal (obviously). The solitude is nice, the control is unlike anything else, the results concrete. But now I think there’s a bit more to it. Writing is an escape as much, if not more than reading is.
It makes sense. The characters you create occupy that same space in your brain as the characters you read about. Your sense of imagination and plotting kick in whether you’re reading or writing. The mechanism is the same, just slowed down in the case of writing.
The point is this – if you want to write, try to take into the process that same joy you find in reading. I think this applies for fiction and nonfiction (although as a former reporter, nonfiction takes a lot more work in my experience). The more you can enjoy what you’re writing as you’re writing it the more likely you are to come back and the more likely your brain is to have fun with it.
Let me know how that works for you.
Today I was in church, walking down an empty hallway and ran into an older gentleman I am friendly with.
“When’s your next book coming out?” he asked.
“That’s the question, isn’t it?” I started. “You see…”
But by that time we had passed each other. He had tossed out a question that, at this point, has a fairly complicated answer. When is my next book coming out? That’s a loaded question.
Here’s the situation as it stands today – I have submitted my second book to my agent who liked it and sent it along to the fine folks at Skyhorse Publishing who put out my debut novel “FantasticLand”. They are currently considering it as they have the contracutal right of first refusal. I should know, if all goes well, in a month or so. I’m hopeful but realisitic about my chances.
Of course, that’s a paragraph worth of explanation and not suited to brief, social interactions but as they say in informercials, “wait, there’s more!”
I wrote a third book. I know, that’s a little much, but I did it. Instead of selling my first book, editing my second and thinking about a third I wrote a third, sold a first and let me my second sit fallow for a bit. That turned out to be a mistake as when I submitted my third novel to my agent, his response was a professional, compassionate “Nope, not this one.” I kind of liked it, but it’s what’s known as a “sock drawer” novel, which means it’s going to sit on my lap top until I figure out what the hell to do with it. In all liklihood I’ll do a limited run for friends and family and I’ll post about it here.
To get this out of the way, the second book is a bit of a departure but still in the horror/thriller genre. I don’t want to get too far into it because…GAH! I WISH I COULD TELL YOU ABOUT MY NEXT NOVEL! But I can’t. I have to wait and, as I’ve said before, waiting sucks.
Publishing is a slow process. There’s submissions and editor’s letters and first drafts and research and second drafts and word counts and third drafts and final passes and it’s a process that moves about as fast as sap rolling down a tree in the cold. Rest assured, I’m writing every week, I’m working on stuff all the time and I will share news with everyone when I get it.
In the meantime, if you’re the type to send good thoughts into the universe, now would be the time. And feel free to ask me about my next book but settle in for the answer. It’s a long one.