16 Comments

At a crossroads…..

I’m rather at a crossroads with writing at this stage in my work.

Something that had been building up within me and kept me going to this point for about a decade and a half has been this great big epic multi-book story about “vampires” and illustrating Christ through the overall story arc – and at times very blatantly illustrating with some various ideas I’ve had – in a way that I thought would be quite original and unique.

Over time I started and stopped several of the stories knowing I’d always continue them as I moved forward. It was just a matter of getting the “players” out there to see what I had to deal with.

At the beginning of last year, I finally started the story which I knew I wanted as “the first one”. This would be the one I started and finished and would be the one I would work really hard on before shopping it around for publication. Now some of you may be wondering at that since I announced recently in my first ever video blog that I was going to start with some publishing through my Beyond the Charts business, but even though I’ve intended for quite some time to have my own publishing company I was never intending it to just be some “vanity” press for myself. I seriously want to see if my own stories can get published and recognized elsewhere before I go that route.

I was encouraged and inspired by Eric Wilson’s first book in the Jerusalem’s Undead trilogy that was published by of all publishers THOMAS NELSON!! Wow!! That let me know that my stories might actually have some traction and the possibility of seeing them in print went up tremendously. Seeing that trilogy get published with its first book was really what caused me to move forward on the story I took some time over the year of 2009 to write on whenever I wasn’t working on getting Beyond the Charts set up for its initial pre-launch.

Now remember that Eric’s book came out about the same time that Jeff Gerke had his first Marcher Lord Press titles which was the Fall of 2008. I say this to give perspective. Honestly, at that time other than seeing some books on the Wal-Mart shelves that obviously went with the same series because they matched, I was quite clueless about the Twilight book phenomenon and the vampire connection.

So as time moved on and I got plugged in the community on Jeff’s forum and then later on Facebook and then invited by Keven to join this group and so on, I noticed something quite interesting and in time disheartening.

A lot of “Christian vampire” novels were coming out. Either ones that were obvious or those that people would say included them even if they weren’t the main characters. As it was through an agnostic friend I discovered about Twilight and what it was all about (he was reading them at the time and has always been able to sum up stories very well for me to help me decide if I wanted to read them or not), it suddenly occurred to me that one of two things was happening: Either a bunch of Christian authors were jumping on the Twilight bandwagon or the publishers suddenly saw the trend in mainstream publishing and finally started accepting the publication of similar “Christian” novels. I finally decided it was the latter even though the general public would think it was the former.

I realized this earlier this year. As such, I really haven’t had the heart to work on my novel this year. Can you get that? Almost a full year has gone by with me not working on my own stuff. Even the short story I wrote (which ties in) and had Jeff Gerke edit for me I haven’t wanted to “fix” because it just seems pointless now.

You may be wondering at my feelings. “Why have you not had the heart? Your work would be fully accepted right now.” “Pointless? Don’t you believe in your own work?” and other thoughts may be out there too. But see if you can see if from my perspective.

If I actually were to finish a story and get it published, just how would it look to those watching the industry and making decisions? Would I just seem to be “one more” author that’s writing a Christian vampire story(ies)? And would I get my first book published at the wrong time?

Would I actually get the dang thing all finished and properly edited to where if everything was going perfect even that it would be a NY Times #1 bestseller and make me millions, but wind up being submitted when publishers are saying, “Look, David. We’re just not that into vampires any more, you’ve missed the trend. We want Amish people being abducted by UFO’s nowadays. Can you write us one of those?”

Would I have this wonderful first book written and then be rejected by a dying trend? Already there are signs of oversaturation in the mainstream market, it’s only a matter of time in the Christian market too.

Or even worse, what if I got the first few stories out there, but before I could start tying them together I get rejected by the dying trend. What then?

As time has moved on, I’m really at the point where I realize that if I’m to do this, I’m just going to have to bide my time and wait. I just can’t write these at this point and expect that things will go right. The signs are too much there. That doesn’t mean I won’t write, and it doesn’t mean I won’t finish my project. It just means for now I’ll be concentrating on some other things until I can get back to this one particular story. And even when I finish it I’ll probably hold onto it for a while until I feel the time is right.

I know that some people will think that I’m writing for the market at this point. I think those people have missed what I’ve been saying. I’ve been working on this epic in my mind and on file as I’ve had the moments to type it in what was a very chaotic life at times for the past decade and a half. I was working on this when there WAS NO MARKET for it. Frankly, if I was writing for the market, I’d rush to finish and then accept whatever offer I got for it.

Instead, I’m making sure I do this the right way and even more important the way God wants me to do it.

Now, I do have what seems to be some other directions from God in the meantime for writing, but I’m still not quite sure how to handle all of them and exactly when I’ll get started with it. Some of it is quite overwhelming, while other things aren’t, but are still going to require big steps. One of which I just recently started on and has become my current WIP. You can see it in the graph Paul put together for us in a recent post of his.

Then a funny thing happened when I finally started writing the new story.

I had just written about 2700 words for the first sit down on the Halloween weekend (an appropriate weekend, I think), and then the next week was November and when I went to open my Beta version of Word for Microsoft Office 2010 that I’ve had all year long, I find that my time has expired and I need to buy an upgrade.

Wonderful!

The very thing I needed to keep me writing. After all, I certainly didn’t need anything to STOP me from writing, so it’s always nice when life gives you a push in the right direction, write?

So, after talking with a few people and they all recommended the OpenOffice free download, I did that and I’m spending some time getting used to the new software. Soon I’ll be spending a little bit of time every day working on my new story, and I hope that I’ll have a first draft completed in a few months time. You can keep track of it using the graph that Paul has set up for us. It has a working title of “Straight to Hell” which will probably be changed later on.

Basically, the main character came to me while I was thinking on the novel itself and without actually telling me his name at the time he said, “Hello, my name is — —- and I’m going straight to Hell.” It took me some time to figure out his name. It was obscured a bit. As I kept thinking about the story that needed to be told, it finally occurred to me that this was a first person story and that this character was the one to tell it. Once that occurred to me, it was easy enought to start writing it and to have a working title.  :twisted:

….Keep reading for the intro….

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

Hello, my name is Cyrus Stone, and I’m going straight to Hell.

Depending on your background, you might either think you can relate to that or you might be shocked at such an admission because of religious reasons. If you’re a part of the latter, then let me inform you that your religion will not get you any brownie points with God, and if you’re a part of the former, believe me you have no idea what you’re trying to relate to.

I was being quite serious when I said I was going straight to Hell. It’s not as if God and I have been on really good terms lately, if ever.

Now if you don’t believe in God, let me assure you He is real, He’s just not the God they taught you about in those posh Sunday School classes where the teacher acted as if she knew the plan of Eternal Life when she barely had any knowledge of the leather bound book she claimed to believe in and the hypocrisy of it all caused you to leave religion behind for good. Actually the God I’m talking about doesn’t like that either. But don’t let that get your hopes up for Him being someone you’re going to like.

He’s not exactly the Mr. Nice Guy we were led to believe He is.

If you aren’t doing exactly what He says and what He wants when He’s talking specifically to you, then your life is screwed. Freedom of choice doesn’t even enter the picture at that stage. We can all choose to not obey what He laid down for us so long ago, and so many people get by with it too, but when He tells you something specific for you and you don’t obey, well you might as well be a Fallen Angel as far as He’s concerned, because your life is pure Hell until you obey Him, and when it all comes down to it, we were taught God wants us to love Him willingly. How can one love a God willingly that is already so demanding?

It just ain’t gonna’ happen.

*      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

….to be continued…..

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About David James

David James is a man of many attributes: He's a believer in Jesus as the Christ. He's a family man with a wife and two children. He's an entrepreneur with a fledgling business called Beyond the Charts, an Independent Marketer with The Trump Network, a writer of a novel and member of The New Authors Fellowship. He's a listener of heavy metal with techno, goth, and industrial sounds preferred. He doesn't listen to "Christian radio" and can't stand most "Praise and Worship" music because it comes across so staged and more for entertainment than worship, but he loves the worship coming out of MorningStar Ministries because of the raw intensity of it. He loves scary movies whether it's a creepy ghost story or an intense slasher film, as well as strange humor films, and just loves the spoof films that have come out over the past decade. He thinks Kevin Smith films are very funny, but doesn't care for it when they speak bad of Jesus. His favorite novelist of all time is Stephen King. His favorite sci-fi novelist is Kevin J. Anderson. Other novelists he enjoys are too numerous to mention here. For Spiritual reading he turns to Billy Graham, Mike Murdock, Rick Joyner, John Bunyan, and R.A. Torrey. He enjoys financial and self-help books ranging from Dale Carnegie to Zig Ziglar to Donald Trump to Robert Kiyosaki. The one thing that irritates him is when people don't show respect, yet want respect from those they don't show it to.

16 comments on “At a crossroads…..

  1. I love the intro for this, David! Lokking forward to reading more very soon from Cyrus!

  2. I love the intro for this, David! Looking forward to reading more very soon from Cyrus!

  3. David, this sounds seriously interesting. Can’t wait to see where you take it.

    • I’m excited to see where this leads too! And thanks for the “mentoring” you’re giving me lately. Kinda’ nice to have someone to talk with that’s gone through the whole process and is willing to give pointers along the way. :D

  4. I’m curious. Maybe you can explain something to me. I’m asking in the broadest sense. WHAT is the appeal of vampires? I just don’t “get it”. Is the vampire appeal closely related to it being a subset of horror or is it something else? I don’t mean for this to hate on anyone’s preferences. I have EXTREMELY weird taste and I wouldn’t want anyone disparaging what I like. I just would like to understand. It’s not just vampires, either. WHY are readers gushing over the Amish? What is the big deal about dragons? (I was told that a dragon story was the most surefire way to become an instant bestseller in fantasy). Why am I so dense that I don’t see the appeal of all these hot trends/themes/motifs? (Is it significant that I don’t understand fashion trends either?) Is it completely just because I have weird taste? I wish I could understand reader taste better so I could appeal to it, but I don’t even understand enough to try to be a copycat. So if anyone can explain ANY of these trends, please help me out. Vampires, Amish, and Dragons…oh my.

    • Honestly? I wonder at times what the appeal of anything is. Just why is it that we all liked Forrest Gump so much? What was it about him that we related to? He lived such a different life than any of us ever lived, so what was the attraction? He wasn’t even a real person, for crying out loud! His story was total fiction, and yet we were captivated by it. Why?

      Vampires for me have always had spiritual connotations. I just don’t see how anyone can read Dracula and not draw Biblical parallels and reasonings from it, besides the fact that it was written during a very religious time. And there’s something about becoming something other than what you are to be stronger that appeals to some, not to mention that fangs are just so cool. ;)

      As far as the Amish? Haven’t a clue. You’re asking the wrong person there. Might want to ask someone that reads Amish fiction. And most of those you might find in a local Christian book store. When it comes to dragons, they’re just an accepted part of fantasy, so unless you’re writing a fantasy that has non-European aspects to it, then you might want to at least have a hint of dragons in it if nothing else. I like how Kevin J. Anderson solved the problem for his Terra Incognita trilogy as it is so far: Instead of dragons, he has sea serpents in the deeper parts of the oceans. Even Frank Herbert had the Sandworms in the Dune novels. Dragons are just a part of fantasy. They usually represent evil just as the hero usually represents good unless the hero is one that kills the bad guy. ;)

      So, just look at what appeals to yourself that you know appeals to others and ask yourself what the appeal is? That might help you to answer the question when it comes to these other genres such as Vampires, Amish, Dragons, and Bill Murray. :twisted:

  5. That first line for your story is one of the best first lines i’ve read. Very interested in the rest!
    Carol

  6. Hi David,
    As you know, I’m one of those successful “Christian vampire writers” (by God’s grace) and I enjoyed reading your blog very much. One thing I know for certain is that if God has given you a story to write, no matter the subject matter, it will edify His children and/or draw outsiders into His arms. When we write for God’s purposes, it’ll be published and it WILL accomplish what God has in store for it. You are an excellent writer and God is using you already for His purposes in the writing world. I expect great things from you! I love your Cyrus Stone opener :)
    Ellen C Maze
    Author of Curiously Spiritual Vampire Tales

    • Ellen, thanks for stopping by and commenting. You are one of the ones I was thinking about besides Eric Wilson who I’ve mentioned. I greatly appreciate your thoughts and hope that sales are doing well for your stories. Glad you liked the opener there. :) As I said to Carol,

      Stay tuned….. ;)

  7. Hang in there, David. I, too, know the feeling of holding on to a story until someone else writes it. Doesn’t Jeff the Publisher call this simultaneous inspiration or something like that? That’s okay. You are the only one who can tell your version of the story and you can do that whenever you’re ready to do so, no matter what the market is doing.
    Caprice, I can’t help with the Amish (except possibly they represent a firm belief system and simplicity missing in most people’s lives today).
    Vampires? They’re demons in human form. Of course that’s exciting. Stronger, immortal, ruthless, unregenerate. For Christians, add in the possibility of redemption and you have the human story on a more epic level. Pure evil turned to good? Brilliant!
    And dragons? Dragons are just cool, though I personally prefer them intelligent, magically astute and just a tad capricious. We are crunchy and good with ketchup, after all. Anything less is a dinosaur (no offense, Stuart Stockton. Your dinosaurs are more like dragons in my book).

    • Thanks for the good thoughts, Robynn. And you’re quite correct, I’m the only one that can tell it my way. Hopefully that way will turn out to be good enough to get the whole epic out. ;)

  8. Wow… this whole post (aside, of course, from the fiction portion) all seems so disturbingly familiar. A story hits you; it seems like a Fantastic and Completely Original Idea. Then you get mired in the working on it, only to look up and see somebody’s already cleared that particular patch of woodland. Several times over. Yeah… very disappointing. But, on the other hand, it looks like you HAVE managed instead to start on a really interesting idea. I’ll be interested in seeing where you go with it from here.

    Particularly for the “churched,” your introduction makes me really want to see what, exactly, you’re up to.

    • Yes, I feel that once I complete this story there will be problems in both the Christian and the Mainstream markets for getting this published. Oh, well. Getting it finished first will be the main task now. :D

  9. […] to you, I have had a varied number of responses. If you haven’t read that blog post yet, go here to do so and then come back for the rest of this […]

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