Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Next Big Thing

I've been tagged for this blog chain by W.E. Larson - thanks!  Of course, as soon as I pondered it, I realized that I had a bit of a quandary:  not just one, but two projects currently in progress ... sadly, both in the editing process.  I tried to choose and then decided not to choose.

1. What is the title of your Work in Progress?

The first is Scylla and Charybdis; the other is Who Wants To Be A Hero?

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Scylla and Charybdis started out as a short story so long ago I can't recall the original genesis of the idea.  I received a lot of encouraging rejections for the story, but the sticking point was that it really felt like the opening sequences of a novel.  The basic germ of thought was, "What would happen in the wake of a disease that targeted only men?" and I developed two societies from there ... but I knew I wanted something of a milieu novel, and the best way to do it would be with an outsider, which is how Anaea and her space station home were created.

Who Wants To Be A Hero? started with a simple concept - translating the "reality competition television" idea into a secondary world fantasy.  It immediately occurred to me to conflate it with a Greco-Roman style hero.  There are lots of strong, common tropes to play with there, and the Greek gods are so terribly human that they seem to me a great template for the kind of deities who would watch such a "program."  But I knew I would need a continuing character or spectator; otherwise the winner would be too obvious.  That's how Ioweyn came into being.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Scylla and Charybdis is soft science fiction; Who Wants To Be A Hero is humorous fantasy.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

For Scylla and Charybdis, I only have one definite casting call:  I've always seen Anaea, the main character, as Emmy Rossum.  She's got that pale, gamine, wide-eyed look that I see in my head.  I could see Flick played by someone like Jamie Bell - or another actor with a roguish look and some visual awkwardness / out-of-jointedness.

For Who Wants To Be A Hero? I think Ioweyn would either be incredibly easy or incredibly difficult to cast, since she's a shapeshifter, and she doesn't even appear as a woman the whole time.  Moreover, there are subtle changes in her personality when she's "in character."  It might be really cool to see this done with multiple actors, with some kind of consistent identifying mark for the viewer.  (Obviously, this isn't necessary in printed text.)  Other than that, I don't have any clear thoughts.

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

Anaea has lived her entire life on an isolated space station, but to save the life of Gwydion, a mysterious refugee, she flees and struggles to find a new home in the polar opposite societies left behind in the wake of an alien disease.

What would happen if a Greco-Roman pantheon invented reality competition television, with a country and a divine bride as the prize?

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I am hoping to find an agent for my currently-circulating novel, Journal of the Dead, so if that is the case, I expect that I will be sending one or both of these his/her way.  Failing that, I will try to get an agent for these projects and then turn to those publishing houses that except unagented submissions.

Self publishing?  I know I don't have the marketing savvy.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I no longer remember, in either case.  Next question!

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

No comparisons really spring to mind for Scylla and Charybdis; I don't think I've encountered a milieu-focused science fiction novel in a while.  As for Who Wants To Be A Hero? I can't draw comparisons, but I'm sort of hoping that the way it acknowledges, even highlights convention without breaking the story might be familiar to fans of Thursday Next.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The voices in my head!  Okay ... bad answer.

As mentioned above, Scylla and Charybdis started out as a short story and I had multiple reviewers and at least two editors - including one I highly respected - mention that it really felt like the opening section of novel.  I finally heeded those comments.  Mind that by the time I had expanded what I had, what had been a 6,000 word short story became the first 40,000-50,000 words of the manuscript.

I could probably blame Who Wants To Be A Hero? on Top Chef.  Or Project Runway.  Or ... man, should I admit I watch all of those things?  Sigh.  But I definitely distinguish between skill-based, competition television versus things like The Real Housewives, and when I tried to watch The Apprentice, I pretty much realized I had hit my outer limit of both trash factor and focus on conflict.  That really isn't what interests me:  I much more prefer to see moments of human cooperation and generosity of spirit.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I think Scylla and Charybdis would appeal to fantasy fans, because the science is very soft and unobtrusive, and it has some fantasy sensibilities - as the name might imply.  I think it's a bit of an unusual take for SF these days.

Who Wants To Be A Hero? has a lot of in-jokes for people who are familiar with mythology - mostly Greek, but there's some Welsh, as well - and related literature (I rag on Beowulf a bit).  If I've written it correctly, it should also have that "armchair judge" feel - inviting the reader to root for their favorites, disagree with the judges, and be exasperated when that snake no one can stand keeps squeaking by.

Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

As previously mentioned, I was tagged by W.E. Larson, who talks about COG, his middle grade steampunk novel.

I'd like to tag:

Maria of Bear Mountain Books 

And ... you!  If you're reading my blog and you haven't been tapped for this chain yet, please consider yourself invited.


Nick said...

Aw, Top Chef and Project Runway are on the higher end of Reality TV. Nothing much to be ashamed of there. Great Post, by the way. I'm liking reading these from our FWO members.

Lindsey Duncan said...

Yeah, I agree there. I've watched a few that I maybe should be ashamed of. ;-) And ... thanks!