The Agony and the Ecstasy

Or at least the, y’know, mild enthusiasm.

I pick up this old manuscript and remember how much I love it. And I could finish it! And self-publish it, even, since no publisher will ever buy “Four Extremely Broken People Have An Adventure!” But I am convinced on some level that it must suck because I started it in 2006 and I must be much better now and so it must really be awful and I must be feeling some kind of weird starry-eyed nostalgia.

I carried this feeling around for years and then sometime today I went “Hang on, I started a comic in 2004 that won a Hugo, and I couldn’t go back and edit it.”


The brain makes a valid point there.

Actually, I started the goblin thing around the same time.


And then I think a bit more and think “How often do I look back at my super old art and go think anything other than “Urrrgh?”

Mm. Well, occasionally. Certainly not by default. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s any good, either. Half of this book is Serious Business, trail of bodies, the horror, the horror and then the rest is snark. The snark is great but I don’t know if it grafts gracefully on top of the rest.

And there’s a romance–it’s the one with the paladin and the ninja accountant–and I am just ass at writing romance. I start to feel all giddy and weird like I’m writing fan fic and what comes out is probably not romantic at all and goddamn these people are broken and if I have to write a sex scene I will probably drop dead.

I think I’m afraid I love them too much. It’s dangerous to love a character. I attempted to explain this to Kevin…


ME: It can be a problem. It’s like Dobby the house-elf.


ME: You’re all “Yay! I love this character sooooo much!” and the readers are all “OH MY GOD KILL IT WITH FIRE NO ONE LIKES YOU DOBBY JUST DIE ALREADY.”

KEVIN: Meesa undastanda, Anakin!


KEVIN: Gotcha.

I will make him read it. And try not to hover over him twitching while he does, because 75K is a lot to read while someone hovers and twitches.

And then I’d probably have to finish the book anyway.

6 thoughts on “The Agony and the Ecstasy

  1. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    A handful of thoughts, like sparks struck off an anvil;

    1) At least the people who created Dobby the House Elf and Jar Jar Binks got a reaction. Isn’t that better than NO reaction? I would rather watch a character I dislike, for whatever reason, than one who has the striking effect of a glass of lukewarm skim milk. Jar Jar doesn’t BORE me. Now, that whining twit they cast as the Youthful Vader? HE bored me. Weeping Buddha on a flaming pogo stick, if your hero is going to be corrupted, hire an actor with some CHOPS, dammit!

    2) The level of romance writing in general is not so high that you need to worry. Yes, there are high points, but in a publishing industry where TWILIGHT creates an earthquake in romance writing (Really? A romance between a cipher and a corpse? And teenage girls love it?) you would have to be ostentatiously awful to embarrass yourself.

    3) I read your story about a Wombat engineer, an abused Hyena husband, and assorted flora and fauna, and fell in love with the Wombat, the Hyena elder, the broken Nun, the shrew, the slug, and the Hag. Bring on your broken people; whole self-confident people are mostly boring.

  2. Tom Vinson says:

    Go for it! Seriously, There’s many a paladin came to grief for want of a ninja accountant. (I mean, have you ever watched the Firefly episodes and wondered how the heck they manage to pay for all that with just a few head of cattle?)

  3. Beth Matthews says:

    I have actually read this when you were first working on it. I think you posted it on your LJ (?) during NaNo one year (?). But, anyway, I read it and I loved the agoraphobic knight and the accountant and I wanted to read more!

    Just like I want to read the rest of Elf vs. Orc someday…*fingers crossed*

  4. Escher says:

    If you’re saying you’re thinking about finishing the thing with the ninja accountant and the clockwork boys and all that, the only thing I can say is ALL MY YES.

    Honestly I don’t know where you’re getting that nobody wants to read a book about a bunch of broken people. That’s like half the literary world, and if you look at fantasy/scifi alone, it’s maybe three-quarters. I mean good lord, Game of Thrones is probably THE biggest fantasy franchise out there right now and it’s /all about/ broken people (and breaking people, but a good number of them started off broken). Dragon Age is a seriously successful game series that runs entirely on broken people, awfulness, and snark.

    And honestly, snark is a good compliment to horror. You have to have some kind of levity or the book turns into a horrible slog (my opinion, but that’s why I couldn’t get past the second Game of Thrones book), and snark can do that without feeling out of place — it can be the dark humor you need in a book with a lot of horror in it, where you couldn’t easily fit in any other kind of lightening.

  5. SwagHorse says:

    The paladin and the ninja accountant and the clockwork boys and snark and broken people trying to figure out how to love much less love each other is everything I want out of fantasy and just. god, I loved this when I read it on your LJ, loved it beyond words and wanted all of it. I will buy the hell out of this if you publish it because fantasy doesn’t have enough of what this has. whatever this is.

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