Diary Of A Reluctant E-Publisher: The Book’s The Thing
October 2, 2012 by Bryce Wilson
Two things happened in the summer of 2011.
First, I realized the novel I was working on was, to put it delicately, an irredeemable sack of crap. We’re not talking a few structural problems here; we’re talking total systems failure, calling it a dog was like calling Cujo a puppy. Unfortunately I realized this not 10,000 words into it, but half way through the second draft, having already thrown plenty of good time after bad.
The second thing that happened was the traffic on my blog completely plateaued. I’d been writing Things That Don’t Suck for about three years and though no one would mistake me for The AV Club I had developed a small but loyal (and uncommonly good looking) audience who I enjoyed writing for.
But a few months before, the incremental but steady month to month growth of my audience that my morale depended on abruptly stopped. Nothing had changed about my blogging in style or consistency. I had simply struck an invisible, but very definite ceiling.
The confluence of these two things left me feeling very dim about my prospects as a writer.
Experience had taught me that the only way to get myself out of such a funk was to throw myself into a new project. But what? Fictionwise my brain was still wrapped up with the novel that had just self destructed with the violence of a plane crashing into the side of a mountain. Meanwhile my regular non fiction outlet had merely stalled and was now sitting forlornly by the roadside, rusting like an abused Pinto. I desperately needed new focus.
Slowly something started to percolate. If I could no longer use blogging to expand my audience maybe I could use it to another end. A project that would combine the intimacy and immediacy of blogging with the discipline and concrete goals I enjoyed from the novel.
I’m not exactly sure when I decided this project should be Son Of Danse Macabre. It was an idea I’d been keeping in the back of my mind for a long while. Danse Macabre had always been a favorite of mine; there was something truly magical at fifteen about being able to keep a conversation with ones favorite writer in your backpack. I had read the book countless times and always longed for a sequel. King showed no signs of writing it, and when two thousand ten (which left thirty years since the ground covered in the original, the exact same time frame King used) came and went without an announcement I assumed the book would never happen.
But maybe not, after all, the book had been published in 1981, which meant that really I was still smack dab in the middle of the thirtieth year and the final revisions on it weren’t done until the paperback edition in 1982, so maybe, just maybe… The book slowly crept from daydream to reality. Finally, on June 1st I started things rolling and published the first two thousand word segment.
Since then Son Of Danse Macabre, has at times caused me to cry, “I’ve Created A Monster!” I know this is only fitting. I originally planned on sixth months to write it, with a month to edit, yet nearly a year and a half later I was still working feverishly on it, adding material to it literally until the moment it was published. I assumed that the book would top out somewhere around 90,000 words. The final count comes to well over 130,000, nearly double the length of anything I’d written before. I thought it would be a nice, easy project, relaxing even to write about a hobby. Instead I put more of myself into the book and revealed more about my personal life in it than I ever thought I would care to. That, as Rian Johnson would put it, “is freaky scary.” It’s also without question, the most rewarding thing I’ve ever written. And I am so happy that you will finally get a chance to see it.
Of course, that almost wasn’t the case.
Next Week: Doing It The Old Fashioned Way
About The Author:
A freelance writer, unrepentant literature and film junkie and bookseller, Bryce Wilson is a recent California transplant living in Austin (he moved for the waters). Between bouts with his trunk novels, he has written for the San Luis Obispo New Times as a retro film critic for the past five years. You can also find his musings on his film blog Things That Don’t Suck (thingthatdontsuck.blogspot.com) and his horror blog Son Of Danse Macabre (sonofdansemacabre.blogspot.com).