10,000 Words: 1-1008
I wrote a tell-all memoir about my family that’s full of neglected children, poisoned ice cream, and major crimes committed by lunatics simply because they wanted to watch the world burn.
It wasn’t quite the book I wanted to write.
I wanted to write sci-fi, or fantasy. I have all these unfinished drafts lying around. One is the first part of a sci-fi trilogy, another is a comical fantasy about a publisher in Bethesda, MD gone crazy (redolent of Mark Leyner’s Et Tu, Babe?), there’s a detective story that’s Da Vinci Code by way of Spotlight, and on and on. Maybe a hundred or so false starts. This is typical of every writer, actually, so no complaint here. Just that the one book that did finally make it through to the end and land on the shelves was pretty much the last fucking one I wanted to work on! The wicked wraiths of my family members are things best kept sealed away in Pandora’s Box, I think. But, best laid plans and all that. I kind of felt like my hand was forced in the writing of a memoir at the age of 40. Everyone in my dumb home town worships my evil fucking family. It comes up all the time without any prompting from me. In fact, I try to avoid it. But it’s unavoidable as soon as someone sees or hears my name and, after decades of doing the Peter’s three denials thing, I decided to go ahead and own my disgusting story.
If remember-when nostalgia heads in my home town really want to worship vicious child abusers and criminals, then they’re going to have to do it responsibly. They’re going to have to know the whole, hidden story. And then, maybe, they’ll think twice about praising those who preyed upon so many. For me, for all these years, these remember-when people obsessed with the past have truly worried me. Not only is praising my paternal family on par with praising that Olympic doctor guy, but all the shit they’re nostalgic about died in fucking flames over 33 years ago! Get a grip, folks. I mean, I love The Wrath of Khan, but I don’t constantly talk about it every time a new sci-fi movie comes out, or whenever I’m on Facebook, or when I meet some random stranger whose name is Khan.
Anyway… So, the stupid memoir is the book that happened. And now that a book happened, another book needs to happen. This is the cardinal rule of writing and publishing. Authors struggle with this, of course. They spend a decade getting their book out on the shelves, buy expensive champagne when they sign a shyster contract, and then spend the next six to nine months horrified by the publishing process. That’s followed by six to nine months of increasingly awkward and difficult promotion. Meanwhile, they’ve failed to produce a workable follow-up title. Suddenly, a year after publication, their book is on the backlist. Sales slow down, the publisher moves on to the next round of releases, and the debut author is left sitting in the basement with a stolen gun and a single bullet, quietly writing a note to their loved ones who stopped talking to them months before after being forced to go to multiple stilted readings.
What they should have been doing during the whole process is writing the next book. The goal should be a book a year, or, at most, every two years.
Now, I know: Gosh, Nacho, writing a book is hard!
Well, yeah. So? You’re the one who wanted to be an author. Shut up and get to authoring!
My excuse is that I run a publishing company and I get hundreds of manuscripts every week and I want to dieeee…. But! I did just resign from my day job to focus on writing and publishing, so now I have no excuse.
Luckily, last summer, I returned to that sci-fi novel I’ve been plinking away at for *cough* 20 years now *cough* and I said to myself: Dumb Motherfucker (my actual given name), you’re gonna sit down and finish this bitch.
At the moment, I’m two-thirds finished, and I’ve written the ending. So it’s just a matter of filling in this last section and, viola, I’ll have an unreadable and appalling first draft! My goal is May 1st for that completion date, at which point I’ll give it to a trusted editor friend who’ll tell me everything I did wrong and spend the remainder of 2018 getting a viable manuscript together, with a shop-around date of December. Ideally, it’ll get a late 2019 release.
Or…I’ll light it on fire in a parking lot, which will be a good way to make my Instagram account more interesting.
Long ago, in the beforetime, I started Greatsociety (then Dirtyfreaks.com) with the idea that it was a “resource” where “writers could practice writing.” I had these lofty goals (this was nearly 20 years ago, by the way), where I thought maintaining a blog would help me focus on writing. All based on the “Write X words a day” principle that pedantic creative writing instructors advise. If I wrote a blog each day, I’d hone my writing talents and be on the shelves lickety-split.
Of course, that shit ain’t true. Writing is a discipline, but not in the way teachers of writing think. It’s not about how, when, or how much you write. It’s about not being a lazy, solipsistic twat.
But, sometimes, you need a break from your main project. And, when I hit that point in the sci-fi novel, I thought of this elderly and neglected blog of mine. I’ve realized, over the last 70,000 words of sci-fi, that I haven’t completely blown the last book out of the front yard of my brain. So I thought to myself: I’m going to take a day, listen to loud music, not put on pants, and write ten 1000 word articles, posting every Tuesday for ten weeks. And not edit them! Let’s go.