The Fur Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Post: The One Where I Need a New Back and More Confidence!

My back hurts.

I’m saying this because I am on some really good pain meds, so if I start meandering this is why.

I’ve been outlining the fantasy series and it’s coming along nicely – unless you’re one of the characters, then you’ve had much better days. I’m gradually working on the horror novel. I got over a hard point and I might have to change a couple of scenes, but that’s going to come during the re-writes. Things are looking good for me…and no, that’s not the drugs talking.

Why do I feel like I’m a fraud?

I feel like I’m play-acting at being a writer. It’s more than the lack of sales. It’s looking at the screen and reading what I’m writing and not feeling anything. It’s not burnout, it’s ennui. I’m writing, I’m putting in the work, but the work isn’t the sweep of emotion that it was when I was trying to finish a novel just to finish it. I don’t really want to start another project – that way leads to abandoned novels (so many…so, so many…).

I’m going to just push through this little bit. I really need to finish this book and outline the fantasy novel and maybe get another project finished. One that I started, obviously.

Do other writers have to deal with this? Does Stephen King sip at his coffee early in the morning and wonders why he feels like a fraud? Does Neil Gaiman stare at a blank screen and call himself a hack? Probably not. Maybe I shouldn’t use sales as an overarching indicator of success. Maybe just focus on getting stuff done. Let my finished catalogue be the indicator.

I should take these drugs more often.

This is going to be a little short. I usually aim for five hundred words, but the pain in my back – while ebbing – is being a little distracting and I do need to get some writing done. I’ll have a little more and hopefully be a little more positive the next go round.

The Four Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Post: The One Where I Sound Like That Obscure Song by “Queen”…

One of the problems I am having in writing The Show Must Go On is trying to keep the protagonist likeable as he descends into paranoia. Does a protagonist have to be likeable? Can I market a book where the reader’s thought as he opens the book is ‘Okay, what’s this asshole doing now?’. Probably not the thought I can really monetize.

I know that Breaking Bad capitalized on Walt’s unlikability in later seasons, but it always framed him in the cloak that the people he was working with were worse. In the end, he did get his comeuppance. Should I look to the pork pie hat for some sort of guidance? Rip off the cloak of worse people around the main character and just revel in the badness?

The Show Must Go On is a reskinned version of The Telltale Heart dazzled up for the kids. In the original tale by Edgar Allen Poe, I felt bad for the guy. He was clearly going crazy, and we were trapped in that ride all the way down. That’s what I want for the reader.

I’m trying to play it fast and loose with his perceptions of his wife’s infidelity. We’re dealing with the Unreliable Narrator trope here and I want it to milk it for all it’s worth. I’m also trying to work on my first-person viewpoint, which is my shakiest viewpoint. I like third person, particularly third person limited, but I feel like I need to branch out a little. I did do it for The Dreaded Day Job but I want to stretch my legs as it were.

I shouldn’t say any more about this project for fear of giving everything away, but I am trying to see if I can pull off some horror. I’m doing the re-writes for The Resurrectionist’s Blues, which might be released for Hallowe’en. Based on how these two books turn out, I might lean a little more into horror as my preferred genre. I’m not going to abandon fantasy, but horror might get a priority.

That’s what been going on this week – just me trying to find my particular little genre where I can find some modest success. I know everyone says that erotica and romance is where it’s at…but I’m not really good at those genres (especially romance). I also knew there is more to it than genre – there’s marketing, brand awareness and a myriad of other things I am neglecting, but for now I am going to concentrate on what I can.

So, stay safe out there and check out the books to the right, especially the ones written by good friends who are way more talented than me. Cheerio!