Saturday, September 29, 2018

Unvirtuous

Fall comes in yet again. The little tree I planted in the back yard lost all its leaves which was simultaneously adorable and sad.




School is well underway. Of course, that brings with it the usual bouts of drama. Again, I try to stay well clear of any of that stuff. The students are what is important--the rest of it, isn't. I entertain dreams of a healthy, calm workplace, but more and more I think that's a silly dream that never happens anywhere, one, and two, that it especially doesn't happen in the ivory tower. Oh, the stories I could regale you with.
Still, it is crazy to me that we're seconds from midterm. Insert cliché observation about time, etc. 
The academic book is coming along very quickly. The reader report was far more positive than I had any reason to hope for. I was over the moon about it. I'm working toward the deadline to get the few changes that were asked for complete. Here's hoping we can have it out sometime in the first half of next year.
Unfortunately the novel I'm working on right now is stalled. I'm beginning to think this is just part of my process--to get about 30k words in and then screech to a halt for a while. The two main characters got into the submarine and got away from their pursuers and are having the huge conversation that I wanted them to have, but I just can't seem to see where it goes after that. Who knows...maybe it's a novella that ends on a soft cliffhanger. Stranger things have happened.
The next novel you guys will see, though, is still in the pipeline. My hope is that it is either just about to go out to an editor or that it is already on an editor's desk. As I keep saying, I'm very excited for you to see it.
Well, excited and a little scared. The cultural atmosphere has changed. People seem to want their books to include virtuous and diverse casts of characters working to save the world right now. There's nothing wrong with that, but that's just...not what I write. The next novel that comes out is *especially* not of that kind. Can I be this honest with you? I'm not interested in virtuous characters. I write the kinds of characters that I'm trying to figure out, and more often than not, they wind up being...well...rather unvirtuous. They aren't good people making important statements about what it's like to be a good person in a fucked up world. They're terrible people, the kinds of people who tend to make the world fucked up, and they interact with other deeply disturbed people. Take Zeus from SG, for instance. He's not meant to be someone you want to emulate, he's not someone meant to stand in for the harried, put-upon everyman. He's a fucking monster. He might wind up doing something that you agree with (saving Gan), but he doesn't do it because of his deep seated goodness. This is what kind of worries me, right now. The culture seems to be set on art (and artists) being virtuous. I am not. My work is not. The characters in my work are not (and likely won't be, if I know me). I say all this because I wonder what people will make of Markus, and of Victor, and the choices they make. What people will say about the book based on this lens that the culture is using right now.
Like a significant portion of the world, I'm reading Hank Green's debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing,

The ideas are fantastic. I get the feeling that he writes a lot like I do...by writing scenes and then figuring out how to string them together. I truly wish I could be one of those people who diligently breaks the story and then outlines from that and then methodically produces a book. A plotter would be a fantastic thing to be. Unfortunately, I am a lifelong pantser. Still, the book is good. As usual, there'll be a review up on Goodreads soon.
As always, thank you for your support. It means the world to me.

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