*And I’m sorry I’m late again. Will probably be posting “latish” all week, since it’s the end of the year, which is when we have to do legal stuff for the business (writing IS a business) and adjust stuff for next year, etc. It’s a massively busy time for us.*
Each writer comes into the field to write something. Sometimes it’s a single story or series. You can tell these writers, because they will stick doggedly to their series through thick and thin, gamble everything on it.
Life being what it is, and therefore a stone-b*tch, this means most of them never broke in, and continued to write their series, often less and less, until it suffocated in the drawer, unseen by human eyes.
I thought I was one of these writers, long before I broke in, until it became obvious even to myself that I would NEVER break in unless I wrote things that other people wanted to read – that is things that weren’t so intensely in my own head that no one else would have any interest. Then I wrote the Shakespeare trilogy. (I had, by that time, written he first draft of DST but I was told no one, ever, would buy science fiction, because “it just doesn’t sell.”)
And when that crashed and they told me they wanted historical mystery, I found my interest in writing SOEMTHING was greater than in writing one thing in particular. I liked writing – it was the best way I knew to make a living, too – so I was going to jump through whatever hoops I had to. There followed historical mystery, historical romance, contemporary craft mystery and – eventually – science fiction. My fantasy too ranges from historical/literary to urban adventure.
Perhaps that means I’m a total sellout because I didn’t stick to my vision. I don’t know. T o have a vision, it helps to have eaten three meals and have a roof over my head, so… it works for me. Also, to an extent everything (okay, almost everything) I wrote was something I WANTED to write. What I mean is, the thought of historical mysteries might never have occurred to me before, but the Three Musketeer mysteries gave me a chance to spend time with my four literary crushes. And while I never thought of Fantasy, I like travel fantasy set in the nineteenth century. And as proven by the fact I’m writing Witchfinder on my own, I rather like steam-punkish multi-universe settings.
Same with urban fantasy, which maybe DOITD is not at all, but anyway – I read everything and I can write everything. And enjoy it. IN fact now that the “I’d never do that” barrier is broken, I probably can’t help writing everything, just to see if I can.
BUT at the core of it, there is “what I thought I would write when I first thought I might like to be a writer and that was “SF like Heinlein” and “Mysteries like Agatha Christie.” These last were actually very specific and would now be “historic mysteries set in a certain social class, in Britain between the wars” – I was going to say I’m sorry I didn’t think to propose them as historical (part of the issue being I think of things less than 100 years old as current, not historical.) I’m actually not sure I’m sorry. Best case scenario, the series would be going on and paying me 5k or so per book. Worst case scenario (and that house is capable of doing this) it would have tapered out and I would now be fighting for rights.
Well, the SF “like Heinlein” – though not, of course, because I’m me and not Heinlein (in case some of you weren’t sure) I’ll be doing, probably mostly for Baen. I might or might not submit The Brave and the Free (which really will be done after I finish Noah’s Boy and Witchfinder and probably WHILE working on Through Fire (it’s a dark book. I’ll need breaks)) to Baen depending on where I think my state of trying Toni’s patience is at the time (grin.) But mostly – like 90% of my SF will go through Baen as long as they want it. I’ll finish the ones they’ve already rejected (mostly because they are TRULY WEIRD) and the ones that will be episodic (nuns in spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace) and do those indie.
But the mysteries… Yes, as soon as I get rights back I’ll do more refinishing mysteries. And YES as soon as I get rights back, I’ll finish the musketeers (well, finish is a way of speaking, the planned series is twenty books long) at least as long as they sell indie (I still have that thing about meals and roof.)
I’m working on orphan kittens as we speak, just very slowly, since it ties in to the other Goldport stuff.
BUT – it occurred to me – why NOT do “Agatha Christie like historicals” updated for the current time, but not like the TV series (the new one) where apparently the solutions always hinge on EVERYONE being gay (shrugs.) Just not quite SO immersed in the time – which also means not thinking well of socialists and communists, btw, where Agatha tended to be rather wobbly.
One of my friends has volunteered to beta (or alpha, he says, chapter by chapter) as I undertake these. Now I need to find material to research. As I said, I’d like to set them between the wars, or perhaps – just perhaps – starting when the main character (female, of course, think a young Miss Marple) is a young woman, just before the wars. I’ll have to find novels (and movies/series/documentaries, for the touch/feel) set in that time period. I’ll also have to look for books of recipes and clothes patterns, because that’s the daily details that trip you up.
Mind you, this will be very much backburnered until I deliver things that will bring in cash on the nose, and things that are already started, like Witchfinder. Part of me is toying with the idea of doing these as a kickstarter, with a first delivery (first book) in a year – but it worries me a little because to do so I need a first chapter (I think) and I don’t have time to research enough to do that, just now.
Anyway – this is the advantage of indie. I’d advise each of you to think deeply about what you wanted to do when you started writing. Why not try it now? Yeah, it might not sell enough to keep you in Purina’s Writer Chow, but if it doesn’t you can stop. And you can at least say you tried.
And you CAN get it into readers’ hands. No one can tell you “That just isn’t writing. Write a book with lesbian lawyer penguins instead.”
I like that freedom. And the dream? It’s just over the rise.