4.07.2008

Starting Over

As I wrote last week, I finished the first draft of my second manuscript. It was a joy to write and I think it's filled with some creepy content--should keep some readers up at night, which is one of the ways you know the story worked.

That said, now it's time to plunge into that next project. Because of my work schedule and having the spring free of classes at the college, this has always been my starting point. So now I've got page one staring me in the face, that little cursor up in the corner blinking expectantly.

I've been playing some ideas over in my head, but it's hard to settle on the one I want to roll around with for the next ten or twelve months. Last summer, under the intoxicating influences of a series of post-apocalypse novels I'd been reading, I dashed off sixty pages of my own take on the sub-genre. I'd like to get back into it, but it doesn't feel as urgent as it once did and I think the market has had an awful lot of that type of story in recent months.

I want to write a haunted house story. I'd like to set it in Portland. I think I see the way the early part of the plot will unfold. That's probably where I'll be going this afternoon as I start the word count. Knowing I have a foundation in the other tale will be my insurance, and I'll blunder into the woods on the haunted house piece first.

You'll note that I mentioned my observations on the market in my discussion above. I think the most important advice to any writer getting started on a novel is to write the book he or she wants to read. Regardless of the sales in similar fields over the last year or so.

Writing to market trends is probably not even possible, because of the extended lag time on book production. But for the writer that enjoys keeping abreast of the market trends and publishing news, I think this factors into the discussion of what he or she writes on an almost sub-conscious level. If you know the market is tired of vampires, werewolves and zombies then you'll have to mix it up. This does impact creativity. It shapes the ideas as you conceive them.

Now I know that I'm maybe contradicting myself. How can the market absorb another haunted house story, Dan?

Maybe it can't, but it's the book I want to read. And I'm hoping that my angle on it will be fresh enough, my characters compelling enough, that the rest of you will just have to agree with me...

UPDATE:
  • I spent three hours on a completely different short story. Oh, well. Tomorrow...

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