Writing Wednesday is where I do the public admission of how much I’ve been working on writing because nothing motivates me quite like public shame. I realize that’s weird, but, y’know… Weird is pretty cool these days.
Yesterday, the audiobook of Felica Day’s ‘You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)’ appeared like magic on my iPhone (I’d pre-ordered) and I immediately declared yesterday a ‘no writing!’ day so I could listen. This morning, walking the dog, I finished the book.
Before anything else, I’ll say this: go buy it and read it (or listen to it). It’s awesome, she’s awesome, and – frankly – it was so damned wonderfully timed that I just walked back to my house with the dog believing in stuff and things again.
As all three of you loyal readers know, my second book is due out next May, and right now I’m working on my last tweaks of my last draft before I sent it in to the editor at the end of the month. There’s this thing called “the Sophomore Slump” – where the second of a thing doesn’t live up to the first thing – and it’s a very real fear, and it’s been very front and centre in my mind these last few months.
Okay – let’s be honest. The first thing (in this case, my first novel, Light), was weird. Seriously, I wrote a book about a gay quasi-superhero telepath/psychokinetic battling for truth, freedom, and that guy who looks really hot in a leather harness. It was not Shakespeare. It wasn’t supposed to be. I wanted to write a fun (and hopefully funny) “superhero” story, but I wanted there to finally be a gay guy. And not just any gay gay, a kinda geeky, not-at-all-superhero-material fellow. He has telepathy, and he uses it to play with his cat. He has psychokinesis, and he uses it to… play with his cat. If Pride Week hadn’t been crashed by another, better, psychokinetic, he’d have probably spent his whole life using his powers to play with his cat.
And I wouldn’t have judged that. Not the least of which because he’s fictional.
When Light did well – I freaking got to go to New York as a finalist for a freaking Lammy and it was my first freaking book! – it never occurred to me that this could lead to anxiety later.
Silly man. If there’s anything I have learned from You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) it’s that anything can cause anxiety and panic – but especially successes. I learned a lot more from the book than that, but listening to her describe how she felt when her projects would launch and do well – and then feel the crushing ‘now what?’ that came when it was time to do the next thing?
Well, it resonated.
So – I’ll admit it. I’m terrified of Triad Blood. Seriously. Light was tied up with so much (different) terror: trying to be funny, trying to balance a job I was starting to loathe with getting time to write at all, trying to believe that there were people out there just as amused by the idea of queer superheroes as I was, and – most of all – was it even worth trying? But with Triad Blood I’m terrified of one major different thing: is this too much not like Light and did I totally blow it by not writing something very similar to what people might expect (and oh God, what if I don’t even have people expecting anything)?
But by the time I got to the end of Felicia Day’s book, I was smiling. I remembered why I was writing it in the first place – because I loved those characters – Luc, my somewhat uptight French Canadian vampire; Curtis, my wizard who has almost as many geeky T-shirts as I do; and Anders, the lust demon who’s so freaking fun to write it should be illegal. I wanted to make a thing with these guys – the four short stories I wrote with the characters made them make more noise in my head, not less – and while, yes, I hope people like the book, the reality is I learned this lesson already: I left that job that I loathed because you have to enjoy the work you do, not live for the payoff.
I enjoyed writing Triad Blood. That’s enough.
(But seriously, though, please read it. I promise it’s weird. Did I mention it comes out next May?)
Okay, the specifics of what I accomplished this week:
Tweak, tweak, tweak. I’m going over the feedback from my beta-reader crowd and all of it has been brilliant. There’s only one piece I’m rather stuck on, and that’s the contradictory feedback on the prologue. For those who hadn’t already read the four short stories, they like it, and felt it gave them enough to understand my world (or at least, enough to work with to start entering that world). From those who have read the short stories, half suggested the prologue wasn’t necessary. So. I may streamline the prologue as much as I can (shortening it to the absolute bare minimum) and then kick that decision upstairs to my editor.
Did I mention I worked on the novel? Yeah? Uh…
Look, a pony!
Damn. Okay, seriously, I did squat this week on any short fiction pieces. I had a super-long sprint with the novel and my head was spinning, and then yesterday Felicia Day. So, yeah. I’ll do better next week.
Open Calls I Know About
And this week’s round-up of open calls for submission are…
Other places to always check include the Lambda Literary Calls of Submission page.
Heard of any good calls lately? Pop ’em in the comments, too.