So. Next year. What’s up for that, eh?
I don’t mean new year’s resolutions. By a quirk of my publishing dates, it’s time for me to chart the course ahead for what I’ll be working on next year, which means putting together a proposal for a new novel or collection, and offering it up to my publisher. If they say “yes,” that’s the plan for the year ahead. If they say “no,” it’s time to think of something else.
I whittled down my options to three things, and none of them were Triad Magic. That might seem counter-intuitive for folks who write out series novels all back-to-back, but here’s what I’ve learned from working on Triad Soul immediately after Triad Blood: I’m getting tired of them.
Not in a larger sense. I want to tell more of their stories. I have more-or-less an entire novel ready (that would be Triad Magic) as the next instalment. But I mean “tired” in a creative sense, in that I’ve been in the heads of those characters for two solid years, and I’d like out for a while, before I start to hate them. I don’t know if this happens to other authors or not, but it’s happening to me, so I’m going to do the smart thing and step back.
With Triad Magic out of the running, what ended up being the other three?
This one is one I’m itching to do, but let’s be honest, a collection of short fiction is a hard freaking sell. I know—and I mean this literally—that collections are hard to market, hard to sell, hard to get people to review, and hard to excite a publisher with. This is not to say I don’t have a publisher who would be willing. I’m blessed, and I know the publishers I’ve worked with would be on board with a collection. But I want to do right by the publisher, too, and I know it would be a soft sales generator, at best.
Also, I’d need to come up with a theme, look at what I’ve already written and published, and then generate more short fiction to fill out half the table of contents (or more), because I’d want to make sure any debut collection wasn’t just reprints. And while I’ve got stories I’m proud of that I’d love to include in a collection, I look at the whole and realize they’re all over the map: some erotica, some not; some romantic, some not.
So, although I’ve got a title (Of Echoes Born), and a theme (second chances, the paranormal, and a chance to try again), and some stories I know belong there: “Heart,” “Elsewhen,” “The Psychometry of Snow,” and “The Finish,” among others, what I don’t have is enough, and I can work on making enough while I work on a novel, so ultimately?
This one was harder to dismiss, as I have, again, most of the idea in my head. I did not write Light to be a series, at all, though in the back of my head I did imagine specific futures for Keiran Quinn, Brian Stone, Rachel, and Karen specifically. I even have notes on quite a bit of it.
And a title, which is pretty freaking rare. It will likely be called Flame. It involves pyrokinesis.
That said, the more I think and scribble notes on this one, the more I realize I’ve got a few plot holes to fill, and the more I want to re-examine some of the built-in issues I’ve created for myself by virtue of not specifically writing Light considering the notion of a sequel. There are things I’ve done with and to the characters that would make quite a few plot points difficult to navigate without some sort of Star Trek-esque “there’s a kind of mineral that’s disrupting the transporters” fix. Until I have something better than a rare mineral, I’m putting the sequel on hold.
Awkward teenage years.
And here’s where I end up. I have an idea for a YA that’s been sitting with me since the summer. I’ve been holding off on it because—wait for it—the thought of writing YA terrifies me. I’m serious. It’s a huge deal to me. The YA I read as a kid often failed me on so many levels that the idea of even trying is enough to make me feel a little sick.
Then I remembered that I’ve got this amazing publisher, brilliant editors, and—more importantly—both my memories of being a teen and actual teens in my life, as well as access to so many voices and groups and parents and… Yeah, still scary, but possible.
So. I’ll be sending in a proposal for a YA slightly-sci-fi book within the upcoming week. Working title? Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks. The freak in question will be a sixteen year old boy who can’t wait to start over in post-secondary, where he will finally lose his infamy (he hopes) as “that kid who was abducted by the strange cat lady when he was, like, five or something.” Unfortunately, it’s going to turn out he has bigger problems, and the problems involve a sudden and less-than-controllable ability to teleport.
I’ll keep you posted on all the projects, of course, and I’d love to hear back from you. I even have a few questions:
- Does it drive you batty if an author doesn’t release related books back-to-back? Triad Blood and Triad Soul aren’t exactly a series (in the sense that they’re self contained, as would be Triad Magic), but they do follow each other with a few over-arching narratives.
- Collections—do you dig them? Hate them? How much of them do you expect to be new content, and how much do you expect to see reprints? I’m biased to loving anthologies and wanting all the shorts by a particular author in one edition, so I’m biased to not caring, so I’d love to hear your thoughts here.
- YA—what are your pet peeves with books for young adults? What drives you mental? (For me, in case you’re wondering, it’s stories where teens have zero adults in their lives they feel they can trust when stuff hits the fan. While that doesn’t have to be a parent, it always strikes me as too close to ‘never trust an adult,’ when, really, it was often adults other than my folks who got me through awful times.)