Sunday, October 14, 2012

Next Big Thing

Rebecca Schwarz tagged me to talk about my Next Big Thing. She is the author of the short stories Flotsam, Fairview 619, and the forthcoming The Gyre. Her latest WIP is Inside Out (working title).
Although I've put out a number of short stories as well as a novelette (through my imprint, Step5 Transmedia) it might be better to call my upcoming release(s) my FIRST Big Thing(s), since it (they—depending on how editing goes) will be my first novel-length work(s).  Further muddling the issue is the, erm… next Next Big Thing, the first novel in a planned trilogy that I'm gearing up to write during this year's NaNoWriMo.

10 questions about your Next Big Thing:

1. What is the title of your work in progress?
Fnerge! is either the name of the first book or the name of the duology, or possibly the leading phrase of the title (as in Fnerge! Chosen1 and Fnerge! 2Worlds).

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
My interest in the transformative process is essentially boundless. The seeds of this work were generated by Greg Bear's Blood Music and the merge scenes from Rudy Rucker's 'Ware Tetrology. I wanted to do a near-future thriller/monster book involving a nano-infected menace (essentially an SF draped version of the blob). Instead I wrote a science fantasy set in schizoid secondary world/universe-next-door. With miniature dragons.

Sometimes I wonder if there is any sense at all to be made of the way my creative faculty functions.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
Science Fantasy is what I'm going with. With some horrific elements, of course. Also, it's kind of YA.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in the movie?
The protagonists and generally human characters could all be played by The Goonies. One of the main villains is modeled after Stephen King, so maybe he would be interested in a non-cameo? The Xyzzerns (and other nonhumans) could be played by whoever-it-was-who-animated-Gollum. Mereg the evil supercomputer could be played by Hal 3000, and Tommy Lee Jones could be Agent Alpha (that one is obvious).

5. What is a brief synopsis of the book?

A race of tiny dragons gives a young man (Andy) the power of The Mayhem in exchange for helping them defeat an evil supercomputer on the 2worlds (a bifurcated alternate plane). Other players and powers become involved, pursuing related and opposing agendas. Also, romance happens. But not with the talking dog.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It depends on how technical you want to be about defining self-publishing. I don't require an agent for submissions to my publishing company (Step5 Transmedia), and I am fairly likely to accept my own work for publication. But I won't be publishing it. My company will.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I wrote most of it during NaNoWriMo in 2011. The last 10% took me another two months. I just recently started editing in earnest, and I expect that to take another few months. Hopefully I'll be releasing the books in the first quarter of 2013.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
I would love for these books to be compared to the work of writers like Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Rudy Rucker, Piers Anthony, L. Ron Hubbard, Stephen King, and Andre Norton. The setting and story are such a cross-genre mish-mash that I really can't think of anything specifically like it, but it has tons of inspiration drawn from bits and pieces of the works of the authors listed above.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I guess I already answered this one in #8, above. One addition: if it isn't clear, the title (Fnerge!) is very inspired by Fnord (phrase used to 'sign off' in Steve Jackson Game's writings about the Illuminati).

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Erm… lizardmen, spiders, Ankabi, and Wuzza? Furry, insane, dwarves-in-space analogs called Gonzoi? Creepy meta-mythological characters? No tea? Did I mention romance (but not with the talking dog)?

Here are my picks for the next Next Big Thing:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Double Crossing

I've got a new story available on Amazon and Smashwords—The Double Crossing.


When Martin Main slips out of his own story and into the mind of his creator, all the rules he’s ever known come undone. At first, Martin just wants to understand who he really is. Soon he has a bigger question: Who made who?

What if a player takes over the play…?

What if an inmate takes over the asylum…?

What if the asylum…is the play…is reality?

The Double Crossing is a dark-SF story that questions the nature of identity. It’s about 7,200 words.

Available on Smashwords and Amazon.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

NaNo Looms …

By NaNo, I of course mean NaNoWriMo. Which starts in less than a month. Me-oh-my, what shall I do?

I'm planning—just like last year—on writing at least the first 60,000 words of a new novel. New to this year's goal (now goals, I suppose) is this: My 60,000 words will be cohesive enough to publish without extensive revisions. I am actually hoping for closer to 70,000 this time around, but I'm not holding myself to that.

This new addition to my NaNo goals has some caveats. I fully expect my characters to evolve as I write. Thus, early scenes may need redrafting to reflect characterization more accurately. I'm not scared of redrafting to fix plot holes, add foreshadowing, etc. What I most emphatically don't want to have to do is redraft to fix structural problems—this being exactly what I'm going through with my first novel, Fnerge!.

(Yes, that last sentence is punctuated correctly. The title, Fnerge!, includes an exclamation point. Interesting related [-ish] point: I haven't decided yet whether the subtitle will be The Two Worlds, plain old Two Worlds, or the hopefully exotic 2Worlds [inspired by my publishing company's name, Step5 Transmedia]. We'll see.)

This looming of the NaNo has, in conjunction with one other factor, produced a significant change in my office layout. About a month ago I converted my desk to a standing desk, by the simple expedient of putting some paint cans and 2x4s under the desk's supports. I've really been liking it. Unfortunately, I messed my hip up somehow (probably jogging) last week. Standing for even an hour is painful, and the two to four hours I will need daily (minimum) are out of the question.

So I've had to lower my desk back to a sitting desk, which is somewhat discouraging, but unavoidable—if I want to succeed at this year's NaNo.

An explanation: I converted my desk to a standing desk for the same reason I've been jogging so much. I'm still pursuing the goal of losing 40 lbs this year. So far I've lost between 30 and 35, so I'm very close. But I've been on something of a plateau for the last few months. The extra calorie burn, plus general energy boost (seriously, definitely kept my metabolism burning harder) has been helping, especially the last week or so. Hopefully I will be able to make up for lost ground after turkey season.

Or, even more hopefully, my hip will get better on it's own before or during NaNo, and I can reconvert my desk. Or de-unconvert it :)

Back to the topic at hand. In order to facilitate a less revision prone draft, I'm taking a few steps. These are the same steps I've come to believe in taking for all my work, so this is not really a surprise. I am doing a reasonable amount of background writing, re: characters, geography, history, etc. I am doing an outline, a much more cohesive (if not less pithy) one than last year. I'm putting way more thought into what I'm going to write, and much further in advance of the actual writing.

Most importantly, I'm going into all this with a clearer understanding of Story elements than I had last time around. Hopefully this will help keep me from running into any major snags as well, like the confusion-of-direction that plagued much of my short story writing earlier this year. Crosses fingers …

I've got high hopes that this year's NaNo will be just the boost my writing needs to make a more permanent transition to (mostly) long-form fiction. I think it will. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Plain Text

Plain Text is now available on Amazon and Smashwords.


Paul Devaat is a writer with a secret, in a future world where things aren't as they seem. Devaat's success draws the wrong kind of attention, putting both the past and the future at risk. Not just his, but yours as well.

Some voices are best left unheard.

Plain Text is a psychological horror story with a weird-SF setting, featuring multiple levels of narration. It's about 5,100 words

Buy it on Smashwords.

Buy it on Amazon.