New Writing Gig and Other Updates

The New Gig

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine encouraged me to apply for one of the open writing positions at entertainment blogging site, Cinema Blend. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I sent the editor some writing samples, crossed my fingers, and then promptly forgot about it.

A week later, I received a positive response. They liked what they saw, and the next day I was writing my first story for their pop culture section, Pop Blend. It's been an interesting experience so far, and in many ways unsettling. In much the same way it's unsettling to have someone publish one of your fiction stories, but perhaps worse because the audience is much larger, and the stories have to keep coming at a rate of five or six per week. And people on the internet can be, for lack of a better word, jerkfaces if they don't like or agree with something. Thankfully I haven't had to deal with anyone like that yet. But Cinema Blend articles appear regularly in Google News and other aggregates, so eyes are landing on what I write in a way they never have before. And if I get something wrong, it's not only my reputation on the line, but the credibility of the people I'm writing for. So while it feels like blog writing in tone, I'm no longer playing in my own playground, and I feel a little intimidated and unsure of myself at the moment. As such, my writing personality has felt a little more formal and buttoned up than it's used to. Eventually, as I get more comfortable in those shoes, I'm sure a little more of my typical irreverence will come through. 

So although I wouldn't disparage the term "journalist" or "reporter" by comparing myself to one, I can kinda understand that pressure a little more. You want to get things right. You HAVE to. At any rate, I consider it good practice, and I hope it gets my name out there a little more and opens up to bigger opportunities down the road. 

Other Updates

Fall is fast approaching. My favorite time of year, no doubt. I've already made some great pickle relish from a bounty of cucumbers, and I'm soon going to be starting on my yearly apple and pear butter extravaganza. Bread baking and other goodies will soon commence, as the cooler temperatures drive me into my yearly domestic goddess paradise mode. The family and I have also been embarking on a largely meat-free endeavor with our diets, and I've done some experimenting in the kitchen to fantastic results. So expect some foodie posts here in the near future. 

Apart from that, I'm also working hard to wrap up the first draft of my dieselpunk-noir COLT COLTRANE AND THE LOTUS KILLER by the end of the month so I can start concentrating on the next book, which will be written during National Novel Writing Month in November. Originally, I was going to be writing a sequel to SCARLET LETTERS: THE TALE OF THE VAMPIRE MAILMAN. It seemed to be a fun and lighthearted way to spend the month. But then something else started tugging at me again, and I decided I couldn't ignore it this time. I now know it's time to return to a world I'd always believed in but long left abandoned during a time when I didn't feel like I could do the story proper justice. And that story is THE LAST SUPPER, a dystopian science fiction that envisions a future riddled by grain blight and overbearing theocracy.

This will be my third attempt to tell this story. The first version was a novella, and it was based on a gimmick that I now realize is too neat to be at all compelling or believable. My second attempt at the story was an expansion into a novel (my first attempt at a novel, period), which made it to about 80,000 words before I realized I had no clue where I was going with it. That story still has some very compelling elements and characters I'd like to borrow for this version, but the rest is being scrapped and the whole story is being redrafted into a different monster.

The overall tone of this book is going to be far different. It's not going to be the sweeping grand epic I was originally going for. I'm paring it way, way down and focusing explicitly on the characters, leaving the world as a backdrop so chilling that backstory of the cataclysm won't really be necessary. In that way, it's going to have more of a feel that's comparable to The Road (although I will likely be using punctuation, and I'm not nearly as good a writer as Cormac McCarthy). It'll be quieter, more thoughtful, less action-driven than most of my other stuff. But it will say everything I wanted to say originally. I won't be pulling any punches this time. I can clearly hear the voice of this story in my head, and I'm very excited about it.

Although I do plan to return to the SCARLET LETTERS universe eventually, I want to do it during a time when I have little else to work on. The sequel would be going directly to Smashwords/Amazon, and although I'm okay with that (the first book has been very successful thus far), I still have several projects that I intend to try on the traditional market, and I'd like to finish those first.  

1 comment:

  1. I hate criticism from my clients, and I take it very personally. Especially accusations that I've been dishonest in some way, because I think I'm one of the most honest attorneys that I know and it often works to my detriment in terms of business.

    My point is this: no matter how hard you try, you will never please everyone. Especially with the size audience you now have. Plus, on the Internet where anonymity reigns, people tend to be mouthier on here than they are in real life. So expect the negative criticisms and let it roll off your shoulders. Relax, and have fun.

    I've read 2 or 3 of your articles already, and I think they've been great. So know that you have at least one fan!