Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Kim Neville, who blogs at Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust tagged me in her Next Big Thing blog post and asked me to talk about my WIP, then tag other authors and ask them to talk about their WIPs. IF you have the time, you should burrow back through the links from Kim to Cory Skerry and beyond. Here's my contribution...

What is the title of your Work in Progress?

One of my WIPs has the working title 1910. What that title lacks in charm, it makes up in specificity; it's about events in the year 1910. 

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This novel is growing out of a short story I wrote at Clarion West last summer. That experience really gave me the opportunity and confidence to grow as a writer. (As for what grew and where, let's just keep that under our large hats, shall we?)

What genre does your book fall under?

Setting aside the always interesting question of "Is YA a genre?" 1910 is a Weird-West-historical. The original story was Feminist-Weird-West-Hentai, but the spotlight has shifted; tentacled mine boogums are only one of many monsters and spooks. 
(And can I just mention how cool it is that one of the HUB posts 31 Days of The Next Big Thing mentioned genre blending and historicals?)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Carl Alm foto by Sebastian Hoppe
I never "cast" my characters when I'm writing books. I'm a little face blind, for one thing. For another I don't put much faith in phrenology; the shape of a skull doesn't define the personality inside. So, with that disclaimer, I give you Carl Alm as that fiend, Ukko Pikkaranen...

...and Velma Blixen?
We need a live Asta Neilsen, pictured at right. Why? Well look at this picture...and that other picture.

If you need further convincing, watch the film clip at the end of this post.

Asta Nielsen could rent her underpants.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

When 15-year-old Velma Blixen rents her "occupied" underwear to The Finlander, she starts her career as monster killer, but no tentacled mine boogum is half as dangerous and nasty as everyday life in 1910.

Will you book be self-published or represented by an agency?

1910 may fulfill a two-book contract. If my editor doesn't like it, I'll show it to my agent Sarah Davies at Greenhouse Literary. If she doesn't like it, I'll put it in my sock drawer. I'm enjoying the writing process—right now, that's all that matters. If my editor doesn't like this idea, then I need to write a different book. (That's why I'm writing another book at the same time. It's contemporary satire, so a little closer to my usual wheelhouse.)

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

I'm still in mid-stream, but it started in July and, if this is the one the editor like, I will have it done by December 21st. I don't outline, but I know this book needs 12 chapters, one for each month of the year. I'm working on March and April right now... I'm still not sure which month is (Teddy Roosevelt+weasel urine+Yellowstone Park), but I know for sure Charlie Russell is in December. 
All I have to do is read the story as typed for posterity by skeptical, self-congratulatory, misanthropic Velma Blixen. I'm a fast reader.

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
If I compare it to The Sisters Brothers, it looks like crap. If I compare it to Violet Hunt's "The Coach," it looks like crap. You see where this is going. 

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The nest of Clarion West. My first three books are realistic, contemporary fiction; 1910 is stirring up some different muck. Without the conversation and examples of those writers, I wouldn't have dared to take this particular detour through time and tentacles. I think when it is done, it will be as grim and funny as anything else I've written, because there is still that realism at the bottom—but now with more mummified elves.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?  

Sasquatch murders, brutal Pinkertons, a haunted hatchet, folding typewriters, flying elk, free speech: Stuff happened in 1910. Oh...and movies, they made movies:


As the writers I've tagged put up their posts, I'll be adding them here...

Bryan Camp  (Clarion 2012) "Ladies, Ladies...."
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