Right. So… apparently over the last few days, “It’s Better This Way” shot up from its normal rank of around #3000 in the Amazon free store and peaked at #96 (last I checked, anyway). I suppose a lot of you reading this might be here to find out what the hell I’ve been up to, and why, after an entire year, is there still no more to this story?
Imagine my surprise when someone alerted me to the fact this story started climbing up the rankings. Also imagine my dismay that this story, which has always done very well for almost the entire year it had been out, is suddenly shooting up the charts and I still don’t have a single word typed for a sequel or a prequel.
Yeah, I know, it says at the back of the book that I’ve been working on it. Imagine more of my dismay when I had to fix the Amazon version because I changed covers and forgot to credit the new cover artist, and read the end notes again.
I asked myself why I had yet to write another word in this universe, knowing that I could have written something, ANYTHING, and made a few bucks. Enough to finish painting the interior of our house (long story, don’t ask, fills me with rage to even think about it), or at least buy a new toilet (a scary story, and one that fills The Wife with rage, so let’s not talk about it either).
I realized the answer was that I haven’t written a single word yet because I just didn’t feel it in my heart. I DO love this story, and it will always be special to me because it was the first real story I ever published. And I do love the universe I set up. However, the few times I’ve actually tried to come up with more of this story, it has always felt forced, fake, as if my heart just wasn’t in it.
I know some readers want more aliens. If I hadn’t written them as vastly superior to puny humans, there might be a story there. But I sort of cringe to think of writing it as suddenly humans pull off an “Independence Day” sort of victory by jamming methane injectors into nine foot tall, four armed aliens with weapons that vaporize (I’m going to assume that since they are intelligent enough to wipe out most of humanity without breaking a sweat, they’d eventually figure out what was going on and start shooting any humans that came near them). So, I apologize, but scratch that. If it makes you feel better, I scribbled about six different plots that went this way. Those plots are in a recycling center or maybe as part of a paperback book near you.
I even posted a thread in a writer’s forum that I’m part of, asking for their thoughts on writing more of a story that I just didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to write it just to make money. I love money as much as the next pseudo-capitalist, but it isn’t the driving force in my life. Not even when I kind of rage a little each day that the inside of our house isn’t finished, nor when Carly rages that our toilet sounds like it is going to explode at any moment.
This isn’t to say we are poor, as I like to exaggerate a bit, but it’s more of a way to say I truly am not concerned about money. So I don’t want to ever write something just to make a buck, even when I know a sequel to “It’s Better This Way” could make me a decent number of bucks. My forum friends gave me a range of advice, from “drop dead” to “go play in traffic” and I even got a couple “drink a gallon of Drano” and such. They actually like me. Somewhat. Anyway, the wisest ones said that regardless of what I do, I’m going to regret it.
This got me thinking about it, and last night I wandered about the house with my trusty spiral notebook and favorite Zebra F-402 pen, and actually came up with… stuff. Well, I had almost four pages of concept between two stories before my trusty Zebra F-402 ran out of ink. I could write a novella on how much I love my pen. I hate using other pens as much as I hate sitting down on someone else’s computer (and if that doesn’t seem irritating or hateful, then I hate it as much as when someone else uses my bath towel).
Amazon to the rescue, and my inks will be here on Thursday or Friday, along with a new Zebra F-701 pen. I’m intrigued. I’m also a nerd and have totally veered away from the important message of this stupidly long post.
If you made it this far (this is a test, after all, to see if you will sit through any amount of nonsensical bullshit I type), then I guess this is where I tell you that I’m going to start banging away at either “It’s Harder This Way,” which picks up where the story you’ve already read left off, or something I’ve given a working title of “Tremaine and the Married Couple” because I’m not very inventive when it comes to titles. I’ve no doubt that the title will be a little less miserable than that when the story is finished. Hopefully.
“Harder” will be Evan Greggs and first-person, while “Tremaine” will be third-person. I’m comfortable with either. I like the internal thoughts that can be utilized with first-person, but it’s restrictive to only one point of view. Third-person is extremely free and open, but that creates a bit of a buffer between the characters and the readers. Maybe that’s just my own take on it, but when I read first-person stories, if I like them, I find it easier to feel like I’m part of the story. Third-person is great, as it is like watching a movie.
Right. So. I think I’ll shut up now. As a final test, if you made it this far and haven’t slit your own wrists with a rusty plastic knife yet, I’ll also toss out that I’m simply going to throw up chapters here on the website as they get cranked out. You can read the story for free as it gets written. It will probably be a little less edited than the final product, but it will be proper enough to read. If you like it, you can help me make amends with The Wife by purchasing it when it is published. Or you can pirate it. Or send me an email instructing me to jump off a tall building without a parachute. Whatever. I just hope you like it, but if you don’t, it probably won’t stop me from writing it.
I think I’m going to put some other books aside for a bit to write these stories. People get really angry when they read a story they like and then find out the author is a lazy bastard who writes really long blog posts but cant’ be bothered to write a $%#@$@^ sequel/prequel.
I shall now commence. Keep your fingers crossed I don’t screw this up.