So yesterday I got an email firing me off the Seekrit Projekt
. The editor - who has been immensely supportive, helpful, and enthusiastic throughout our professional association, and who professed herself delighted by everything I delivered - said her CEO didn't care for the "voice, tone, and style of writing."
(Or as one waggish friend put it, he liked everything except all the words.
And that was all she wrote. And all I'm gonna
write, on this one.
Now, this is by no means unalloyed bad news. It's not as if I don't have plenty to do
. Leaving aside The Dinosaur Lords
and the rest of the Ballad of Karyl's Last Ride
Trilogy - which granted is a lot to leave aside, and have you checked out the swell free sample chapters
here online? - I've also got a contract to do novels in the Deathlands
series. One of which I am even now battling non-life-threatening but draining smoke-induced sickness to complete.
I won't lie: I'm taking a hit here to the tune of around $20,000 income over the next two years. Which is a definite owie
. That money would be welcome.
It's not necessary to make it through. I won't be flush. But barring the Unforeseen (knock wood) I should get by just fine. I am gonna have to think long and hard about the planned car upgrade, though. (I do get to keep all that's been paid me - well enough, since it's all been for work done and delivered. I just get no more, including the delivery and acceptance payment for the first novel.)
I could have fulfilled all these writing tasks, and done them well; I have made some changes in my life, and am producing different, and better, outcomes than ever before. There are more reasons to be just as glad to be shut of it.
First off, I write to entertain
- first myself, then others. Indeed I have found my success in doing the former is pretty directionally proportionally to my success at the latter. My belief is that if it's not fun for me to write, how can it be fun to read?
And so it seems to go.
(I understand other people have different experiences; remember the Second Iron Law of Writing,
which is that One Size Never Fits All
Consequently if I can't have fun with a project, I won't take it on. Fortunately, I'm good
at finding fun in writing projects. I did have fun with the Seekrit Projekt
, and would have continued to. But ... I wasn't looking forward to it all that much, I must confess. The books would've become increasingly more bleak, and that's not my schtick. Although we do know someone
whose schtick it definitely is
, don't we? For me, it would've grown harder to find the fun. This harder to write - at least well
And anything I write, I want to write well. Well for what it is,
obviously - the sort of attention I lavished up The Dinosaur Lords
would not be appropriate for the straight-up action/adventure series books, it is not expected, and in truth, would probably not be welcome
Also. I straight-up have to admit I was kind of dreading the editorial notes the CEO would come back with. He's been ... mercurial, let's say, throughout the course of my dealings with the company. Indeed there's a whole strange and terrible - yet ultimately (to me at least) - wonderfully uplifting saga here which I'll save for a future post.. But ... I reckoned he might come back with drastic changes.
Nothing quite this
drastic, obviously. And that's an agonizing and no doubt enormous rewrite I do not have to do!
I felt the hit, I have to tell you. I am not yet Zen/Stoic
enough to refuse utterly to allow external factors to influence my internal state. (I don't know if I ever care to be quite that impenetrable; rather, I prefer to learn to control my state in part by cultivating people, events, and circumstances which conduce to my feeling good. But that's a way
different post!) The phrase, "a humiliating kick in the crotch" has resounded and rebounded through my mind considerable the last twenty-four hours. (Which I thought was from Pink Floyd's The Wall,
somewhere, but to my surprise turns out to come from the Police
song, "Synchronicity II."
Which by coincidence is one of the few Police songs I like.)
Still ... it did not, and does not, hurt. As I've said, there's as much silver lining as cloud here. Indeed, although I promised the editor I would fulfill the contract when she asked after I announced the DinoLords
sale, before that I did consider trying to buy out from under. But for various reasons including my desire to be true to my craft by behaving as professionally as I can, I chose to suck it up carry the commitment.
And now that weight is gone! And I did not choose to try to escape it.
Last night I went to dinner with my excellent friends Roslee Orndorff
. Then when that broke up I joined my likewise excellent friends Larry Hays
and James Wilson
for iced tea in a nearby establishment. So, double dose o' socializing: bonus! And when I eventually came home, quite tired out, I realized I felt good
That in itself, is victory. It represents real and enormous progress.
Thanks to everybody for the support they've given me on this. And as always, thanks for reading!