The signing was great. Hanging out with Grant always makes my day and I sold enough books to turn around and buy a bunch of stuff at 75% off from the Source. After the signing though, I kinda had this crisis of direction. Am I working hard enough on writing? Should I be spending so much time online? Should I be writing different kinds of stories than what I’m writing? Should I be writing more short fiction?
These questions came about as the result of conversations I had at the signing or observations I made while I was there. Being around artists (like Grant) always makes me want to work harder. I’m used to that, so that’s not really part of the crisis. Wondering about spending too much time online is an offshoot of that. The answers to those two questions are a) yes, I should always work harder and b) any progress I’ve made so far in my writing career is a direct result of meeting editors and other creators online. I can’t afford not to be online. I can do better about using the Internet to just goof off, but retreating into a writing shell isn’t an option.
The questions that I’m still working through have to do with the kind of stuff I’m writing. I’ve probably talked about this before (I know I’ve complained to Grant and Jess about it enough), but I’m tired of going to conventions and store signings where there are lots of kids and having a table full of stuff that they really shouldn’t be looking at. And it’s only going to be worse when 3 Days the Devil Danced comes out. It’s going to be a beautiful book and I’m proud of it, but it’ll be one more thing on my convention table that I’ll have to steer kids away from.
Not that I only want to write stuff for kids. That would get old fast. I just feel the need to have something to offer them when I’m at an appearance. The Cownt book will serve that need, so I have to get working on that sooner than I planned. The Pirate Novel’s not going to be finished by the end of the month anyway.
Speaking of which, I’m also starting to be concerned with being put into a niche like “horror writer” or “historical writer.” It seems too early to be concerned about that, but on the other hand, now might be exactly when I should be concerned, as opposed to later when I’m published and it’s too late to do anything about it. I’m aware that all my published work so far is in the horror genre, but it’s not like I have a public presence already. It’s not too late to change gears and do some other stuff. The Pirate Novel, assuming it’s published, would be a departure from that, but if it’s successful, would it label me as a “pirate writer” and affect my success at writing other things?
Where I’m going with this is that I’m going to put the Pirate Novel on the shelf for a while and concentrate on other things. I’ve got three comics projects for which I already have artists waiting for scripts. One of them is the first issue of The Cownt (horror in the same way that Casper the Friendly Ghost is, only also funny for adults — I hope), another is related to the 3 Days the Devil Danced project, but I’m conceiving it as more of a story about faith than a straightforward horror tale, and the third has monsters, but is really more campy sci-fi.
Once I get those done and off my plate, I think that I won’t pick up new comics projects, but will go back to novel-writing. It probably won’t be the Pirate Novel right away though. I’ve got an idea working around in my head featuring the character Miko Masaaki from “The Evil Dr. Lanky” in Tales from the Inner Sanctum #2.
Thanks to my buying Kong: King of Skull Island at the Source on Friday, I’m itching to do something in a jungle setting with wild animals, dinosaurs, and people in loin-clothes. I got to chatting with a fan at the signing about short fiction and that might be the venue for this. He was telling me about some of the sister publications to Weird Tales, one of which publishes adventure stories, so I need to check that out.
Lots to think about.