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.
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.
….Keep reading for the intro….
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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.
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….to be continued…..