Books I Detest

This is not a rant about some awful reading material that I picked up by accident- though that’s how my writing career got started; I got a really terrible book from the library and realized, ‘I can do better than this!’ And look where it got me.

It got me to a point that I’m writing a book I detest. It’s absurdly finicky, won’t let me write anything else, and for the longest time, I thought it wasn’t even publishable. At first, I couldn’t even get words on the page unless I had country music videos playing on my other monitor- yes, video; not just audio. Nowadays, I can sometimes get away with mere audio, and lots of cussing. No joke. Every time I get stuck, I swear a blue streak, and the words start flowing again. I don’t get it, either.

And I haven’t been able to write anything else. I should be working on a sword-and-sorcery short for Tales From The Magician’s Skull, which is due before April 1 and should take about a week, if I buckle down and get to it. But I may have to finish the d-mned novel first. This is the time for multiple projects at once, and for the first time in my writing life, I can’t seem to manage it.

For a book that might not even be publishable. Other people have told me that there’s a huge market for this genre, but it’s a story line that’s rather close to home. Why I’m worried about offending people in the current climate, I have no idea. It’s not like anyone else has any compunction about doing it. So I’m filing off a lot of serial numbers and hoping that doesn’t destroy the thing altogether.

But I’m sticking with it. Because it’s actually a fun story, and writing it is keeping me from going nuts over other things. I really hated it in the beginning; now it’s more of a love/hate relationship.

So, you may be asking, what sort of story would do that to its author?

Time travel romance.

Yes, you may laugh. I did, when I realized exactly what I was writing. I’ve never written anything like this. Which might explain why there’s so much cussing involved; I’m learning a new genre at the same time as this convoluted plot and very strong-willed characters are knocking at the inside of my head. It doesn’t even have the grace to be exactly contemporary; it takes place mostly in the early 2010s, so I’m having to do almost as much research as I’d do for a historical- more, even, because everyone who picks up this book lived through that time, and will notice any little error. And it touches on the United States military, so my recent internet search history looks even weirder than normal- I’m a lifelong civilian.

We live in strange times. Might as well write a strange book to go with them.

16 comments

  1. Hahaha.

    Hope I don’t offend. I have that exact problem of ‘now my plot hits too close to home, and I’m worried how it will be received’.

    Other day, I looked at a couple of the new books coming out from Baen, looked at the plots, and concluded that I was not confident that the books were not trying to say something about current political events. Which pretty near has to be an impossible explanation, given lead time. Made me realize how current headspace was impacting me, as a reader.

    As a writer I’d known for at least a week or two that “I don’t want to think about this now” and “But what will people say” were issues for me.

    I’m definitely interested in reading your book, after hearing about it.

    1. Well, Spells In Secret came out last November. I observe that the entire plot was defined by 2018 and so current events could not be reflected in it, except accidentally.

  2. Magician’s Skull is a market I’m interested in. As some of you might guess from my screen name, I’m big fan of Robert E. Howard and S&S in general.

  3. This may not be much consolation but…well…there’s worse. Time-travel romances have at least become sufficiently respectable as a subgenre to have a significant number of practitioners and a significant readership. Moreover, it’s a readership that doesn’t feel any need to hide its preferences. If there’s anything discordant about your situation, it’s that you, the author, detest the genre and wish you could stop.

    And yes, there’s worse. Look into the oeuvre of a certain Christie Sims. Imagine how you’d feel if your Muse were sufficiently ill-disposed toward you to compel you to write that garbage!

      1. Likewise. You’d think I would have learned not to fall for that sort of bait on the internet by now.

    1. Oh. For. The. Love. Of. Life. Orchestra.
      Mr. Porretto, you should be ashamed of yourself for posting that link, as I am ashamed of myself for succumbing to the urge to click on it. So there.

      1. I’m a rather straitlaced old Catholic. Miss Sims’s work was pointed out to me some time ago, by a colleague who knew I would be as horrified as you were. I presented it here as an example of just how low fiction (and tastes in fiction) can sink. By comparison, time-travel romance is utterly innocent and inoffensive.

        I have no idea whether Miss Sims has a large following, but she is, by the standards of our common avocation, well known for her “specialty.” That, I think, is sufficient to make the relevant point.

    2. I’m not looking, because I think I’ve seen the covers before….
      but I wouldn’t be surprised if she makes more $$$ than me…but there’s more to life than $

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