This year hasn’t turned out the way I wanted. I started with the hope of publishing Psychopomp and a couple of novellas. Obviously this didn’t happen. I worked hard on Psychopomp, trying to get the novel into shape. But no matter how hard I tried, it just didn’t work. The same old problems kept popping up. It’s a huge mess of a story, with a ton of different elements. None of them ever came together in a satisfactory manner. I decided to scrap the novel back in May.
Over the past five months, I haven’t been able to sustain anything for more than a few pages. I inevitably lost focus and bounced to another story, or screenplay. Every month it seemed like I was working on something different. I’d add a few thousand words, only to move on to something else. Just total frustration. Complete failure as a writer.
Then I discovered Billy Rezneck.
Billy likes to play with dead things. Thinking about Billy, I started to get excited about his story. Since it was late in October, I decided to put off writing about him. NaNoWriMo was just around the corner. Maybe between the fresh unknown of Billy and the rigid schedule of the challenge, I could finish something.
November started, and I began work on Necroshine.
That was 25,000 plus words ago.
I don’t know if this thing is publishable. It contains some of the most graphic stuff I’ve ever written. Explicit scenes of necrophilia, hardcore sex and ridiculous gore. But to be honest, I don’t care. I think the biggest problem I’ve had all year has been pressure. Worrying about publishing what I’m writing has made me second guess every decision, no matter how small. Necroshine is pure id. Every creative impulse I have just spilled out on the page. Will it ever see print? Who knows. I’m just happy that I might actually finish this thing. For now, that’s enough.
Following completion of Extreme Haunt I drifted from project to project. I started a couple of novellas, but nothing really clicked. I always knew they weren’t the right next project. I wanted desperately to work on anything but the one project I knew had to be done. The day after Christmas I settled down and stopped messing around. I started work on Psychopomp again.
Intended as my follow-up novel to Live Undead, Psychopomp grew into an ugly mess of a book while I wrote it. Instead of cleaning it up, I locked it away and focused on other things. Some of those things came out, others withered and died. But still, Psychopomp lingered in the back of my mind. I knew I had to fix it. I wanted to finish it up last year, but Extreme Haunt took way longer than it should have.
Psychopomp will come out this year. I’ve hacked and slashed at the thing. I cut it down to the bone and then started to rebuild it. I might need another month or so to finish it right. I plan to be done around February. This means the Beast will rise in May or June.
Like Extreme Haunt, I’ll release a physical edition of Psychopomp. When I first started this self-publishing thing, I never intended to produce a paperback book. But my experiment with the physical format made me realize how much that option opened up my book promotion possibilities. While the physical edition of Extreme Haunt was rushed, I want two to three months to do Psychopomp right.
I’m looking forward to finally sharing this novel with you. Ethan Marks, the Disciple and The Beast Divine all deserve their chance to raise a little hell in public. I just wish I could have brought them to you sooner.
It’s been a year since I launched this site. In that time I’ve launched Nothing Zero, and let a couple of would-be novels wither on the vine. I honestly hoped this year would see an extremely aggressive release schedule, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. I’ll be lucky to get one more book released before 2014 closes out, and I’m fine with that.
But what will that book be?
I tried to write a classy Gothic Horror novel, but simply couldn’t get momentum on it. It just didn’t feel like the book I should be working on. Honestly, the only thing that makes sense right now is a hardcore horror novel. As a result, I’ve started a slasher novel. Will I finish this one? If I’m being totally honest with myself, I’d have to say I don’t know. I like the characters, I like the story and I really feel like there’s a lack of honest to goodness slasher books in the market. It has all the ingredients for a book I would enjoy reading, so I hope I can. Right now, that’s all I can ask for in a project.
Whatever my next book ends up being, I do know I’ll release a physical edition. When i published Live Undead, I thought I’d never release a hard copy book. It just didn’t appeal to me. But since then, I’ve come around to the idea. Trying to market something that’s solely available as a Kindle edition feels impossible. Just offering an electronic edition feels like I’m cutting off my marketing efforts at the knees. I think I can attract more readers to my work by making a trade paperback available. That’s ultimately what matters: Getting people to read my stuff.
I know there’s a few people out there that have read each of the Undead Chronicles. I definitely appreciate that, and hope they enjoyed the books. Unfortunately I feel like there haven’t been enough. My main goal over the next year will simply be to get more readers. I want more people buying, borrowing or even pirating my books. I want more reviews on Amazon and GoodReads. I even want more people visiting this site on a regular basis. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
After months of wrestling with Psychopomp, I’m afraid I’ve lost. I’m simply not happy with the way it turned out. The writing is weak, and the story isn’t focused. It feels very scattered, and that’s because I tackled so many different elements. It currently feels like four disparate books, and I honestly don’t know how to make them feel like a cohesive whole. I bit off more than I can chew.
Maybe in a few months, I’ll feel differently. Maybe I’ll figure out the secret to making the book work. But today, I’m doing more harm than good in trying to sort it out. I’m wasting time, when I could be writing something else.
Unfortunately I don’t really know what I’m going to work on next. I have ideas, but nothing set in stone. I guess that’s something for me to figure out over the next couple of days.
Before I begin, I want to thank Charles Millhouse for including me in The Writing Process Blog Hop. I’ve known Chuck for several years, and he was the first independent author I ever met. I had toyed around with the idea of self-publishing for a long time, but Chuck is the pretty much the reason I finally took the plunge. I’m glad that I have the chance to follow his post.
So here it goes:
What am I working on?
I’m currently working on a few things. First and foremost, I’m preparing for the release of my next novel, Nothing Zero. It’s scheduled to be unleashed on February 11. Secondly, I’m reworking bits of the novel I completed as part of NaNoWriMo. Psychopomp needs a lot of love and attention before I can release it in May. Finally I’m mulling over ideas for my third novel. I have a couple of contenders, but nothing definitive. I hope to wrap up the work on Psychopomp this month and fully commit to my next novel at that time.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I guess the main thing that sets my work apart would be the characters I write about. I tend to gravitate towards characters that are broken in some way. I like writing about the outcasts, the losers and the freaks. People that lead different and alternative lifestyles. I just find writing about them way more intriguing than utilizing a teacher or writer.
Why do I write what I write?
I love horror. I have ever since I first discovered The Movie Channel when I was a little kid. John Carpenter’s The Thing, David Cronenberg’s movies, Friday the 13th, George Romero’s zombie flicks, Nightmare on Elm Street; that stuff absolutely blew my mind. That love for the genre inevitably carried over to my reading habits. Clive Barker, Stephen King, Poppy Z. Brite and Anne Rice. When I finally started writing my own stories, it was only natural I work within the genre.
How does my writing process work?
I don’t do note cards. I don’t do outlines. I don’t really plan in a normal fashion. I get ideas and then think about them. Usually I think about them for a few days, or weeks, and then when I think I have a handle on things, I sit down and write. If I’m lucky, I have a good idea where the story is going. But if I don’t, that’s cool too. I’m happy just stumbling through the plot until the work is done.
Next week these questions will be answered by Chris Weston.
“Chris Weston is a freelance writer, and the author of The Dragon’s Tear. Chris lives in South Florida, and enjoys relaxing with his two dogs. In his spare time, Chris discusses various topics on his website and on his social media. Every week, Chris helps run a local writing group for aspiring authors, which assists from start to finish in a writer’s process.”