I’m a few hundred more words into Pickups and Pestilence, which is that much closer to putting the finishing touches on this project. I’m enjoying the part I’m working on now, leading up to Cody’s final showdown with the trucks and their creator’s proxy. You ever get that kind of blockage where you know what you want to write, and can even recite some of the passages in your head, but just can’t seem to get it down on paper? But once you get that first sentence down, the rest just pours out like syrup.
Actually preparing to self/indie-publish a novel has called to mind a particular scene from Mason’s favorite movie, Cars. After the first race, the retiring veteran The King (voiced by Richard Petty himself) tries to give some advice to the vainglorious rookie Lightning McQueen: “This ain’t a one-man deal, kid… you ain't gonna win unless you got good folks behind you.”
And yes, that’s how writing is like NASCAR. The driver, or author, is the one whose name is plastered on the car (book). And that’s the person who gets cheered or booed — the pit crew or editor can screw up or save the day, but they’re rarely (or ever) named. The NASCAR driver has mechanics and engineers who optimize the car for each race, has a pit crew to get the car back out on the track, and (especially at the big-money Nextel Cup and Grand National levels) has sponsors providing funding. In the same way, a successful author is the most visible member of a team that includes beta readers, editors, cover designers, typesetters, and (again, at the big-money levels) publishers who turn a story into a book. Now some authors, especially at the indie level, might do their own cover design or typesetting (which translates to eBook formatting in this century), and many people are their own publishing house. But it’s when authors or drivers go in thinking it’s a one-person show, that things don’t go so well. There are no guarantees — drivers and authors alike can land a big sponsor or publisher, and still end up at the back of the pack — but “[getting] good folks behind you” is necessary to do well both on the track and in the Kindle Store, Nook Store, iBooks, or Smashwords.
On the really short end of story telling, Maria Kelly’s The Were-Traveler is looking for submissions for a Hallowe’en Drabble issue. A “drabble” is a story that runs exactly 100 words, no more no less. As Maria puts it, “The trick to writing a good drabble is a great twist ending. Give me that, and you’re in.” I managed to come up with two and sent them in. I never wrote a drabble before (deliberately, at least), so I hope I did OK. The page I linked to itself links to submission guidelines and the preferred word-count tool — yes, different word counters can and do come up with different results. My own metric of “leave three blank lines on a Moleskine page” gets it in the ballpark, anyway. If you want to give it a shot, the deadline is October 20th (extended from the 10th, which was good for me because I only figured out the subjects of my drabbles on the 10th).
Tomorrow is the second October Indie Horror Spotlight. I don’t see any reason (right now) to not have it up on time this week.