Wednesday, July 8, 2009

WIP Wednesday: The Small Press Edition

So, I changed my direction entirely. As of last Wednesday, I'd started (rather tepidly) a manuscript called The Neither.

Well, I'm now 8K words into a totally different book, this one a riff on Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, only involving elements of horror and steampunk in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. around 1880. Think clockwork zombies. I'm calling it Loathsome Dark and Deep for now.

Is this book very commercial? Doubt it. I'm actually writing this with small presses in mind. Niche markets will never make one rich, but this is the book I want to write. Cate Gardner wrote something on another blog earlier this week that really resonated with me (I'm paraphrasing here): "I'd rather have a cult hit than a blockbuster." Me too. I don't read many blockbusters. Most that I do, disappoint me.

So I'm okay with small press. I'm okay with being a little fish in a vast universe. I'm even okay with mixing my metaphors.

And this book is a helluva lot of fun to write. A sample:

“Tell me you won’t go upriver. Tell me you’ll burn the forest down. All of it.”

“Burn the forest?”

“Tell me!”

I knew then that Pete Archer was gone. The poor soul had clearly lost what wits he once possessed. I’d seen cases, none as bad as this, of men who lost their peace of mind while logging, men who were lost so long under the shadowed canopy of those trees, buried in the folds of the mountains. None of those men came half as far to raving insane as Pete Archer. I lied to quiet him.

"We will.”

Another shuddering breath sounded from within the cell. I didn’t move for several seconds. No closer to any bit of information about Curt, I played strategies through my brain as to how and mine something from the lunatic.

“One more thing, mister.” Placated, his voice was calm now, slow and cool. “I need you to show me the back of your neck.”

Happy writing. Don't forget to read "Inked". And thank you.


Cate Gardner said...

I've fallen in love with your title. May you achieve cult status (and a huge movie deal).

Rebecca Nazar said...

Oooo, ominous. Good start. But I'm thinking buzz saw zombies. ;-)

Being from the East--where the great pines were chopped down centuries ago, replaced by the puny --I do recall how dark and imposing the old growth forests of the Pacific Northeast felt as I trekked through them.

Small presses, hear hear!

Elana Johnson said...

Can I be in the cult? That is a great snippet. Good luck with it!

Aaron Polson said...

Cate - deal. I just want the royalty checks (even itty-bitty ones for 13 cents) to keep rolling in.

Rebecca - I hadn't even planned on any buzz saws. I'll have to rectify that.

Elana - It's a very open and non-restrictive cult. Everyone's welcome.

Katey said...

Oooh this sounds like a LOT of fun-- both to write and to read. Here's to forthcoming cult status!

Aaron Polson said...

Katey - Sometimes I forget that writing is fun. Or can be fun, anyway.

Alan W. Davidson said...

I grew up on Vancouver Island in the pacific northwest, so I can picture those Douglas fir trees towering overhead. Hope you can share more snippets with us as you progress, Aaron.

Anonymous said...

I've been doing a lot of debating about big press/small press/write what you want/write what sells myself. I have a half written blog post about it, because I don't want to wave my hands and rant, but I can't seem to write it calmly. I'm getting a lot of advice that says to shoot big, of course, but change this and this and this. I don't think that I want "big". I think that I want "truthful". I loved this post.


Danielle Birch said...

I agree with you and Cate, cult status beats blockbuster, and I'd like to read more.

Fox Lee said...

Read "Inked" and loved it. Very creepy and neatly tucked in at the end. Also it brought me back to college, when I spent quite a bit of time in tattoo parlors ; )

Aaron Polson said...

I will, Alan.

Thanks, Mercedes. I have to remind myself that I'm the reason I write. Sounds a little selfish, doesn't it?

Danielle - you will, I promise.

Natalie - Plenty of tatoo parlors in this college town.

K.C. Shaw said...

Very cool excerpt! And an excellent title. Good luck with it!

Aaron Polson said...

Thanks, K.C. Hope I have the staying power.

Unknown said...

"Inked" was a good story, and the snippet I read from your WIP has me wanting more.

Barry Napier said...

Sounds awesome so far! Plus, I'm a sucker for first person stories!

Katey said...

Me too, man. The first draft is so exciting, just kind of hurling headlong through it like this. It's so easy to forget when prodding at something that's been done for ages.

Add in clockwork zombies and a horror/steampunk vibe and... wow. Might be one of the coolest ideas I've seen in a long time. No wonder you're excited!

Jamie Eyberg said...

Have a blast with this one! Can't wait to read the entire story.