Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Crimsonstreaking in Madison... and eventually at Hanover College

I took my Crimsonstreaking act to Madison, Indiana, this weekend for the Fourth Annual Authors Fair presented by That Book Place.

I've been to the event before and it's usually pretty busy. Last-minute construction on the Milton-Madison Bridge certainly didn't help with foot traffic. I sold a few books, but the best part was talking to other authors and swapping stories.

A couple of big comic book fans also interviewed me...and things got awkward (in a good way!). They were excited that I'd written a superhero novel and had lots of questions about the book. Both of the interviewers decided to sit (or stand, more accurately) in on the interview until we realized it wasn't working very well. It's the same reason I loathe three-man booths in sports. Anyway, we dumped out of the interview and I did a one-on-one with one of the hosts. Both guys were good sports about the whole thing.

We're not done Crimsonstreaking in southern Indiana! On March 29 and (maybe) March 30, I'll be down at Hanover College for Geek-a-Thon, their version of Comic Con. They'll have panels, movies, games, and plenty of activities. Since the theme is "Marvel vs. DC," it's certainly an appropriate forum for Crimsonstreak and company.

Helmet courtesy Stuart Thaman

Thanks to all who put the event together. I'd also like everyone to know that my wife indeed got to eat at Frisch's Big Boy. She ordered the patty melt. She was very excited about that.

Friday, March 7, 2014

So, what's next?

You tell 'em, Franco.

Before yesterday, I had something to work on.

I had to get III Crimsonstreak in shape. I had to do a significant overhaul of my other work-in-progress--we'll just call it the space station book for now.

I've sent III Crimsonstreak off to my publisher. My current work-in-progress is about as polished as it's going to get.

I'm now in that gray area. I have to decide what to work on next. Do I finish an abandoned work-in-progress written when my writing was in its infancy? Do I return to the half-finished book I was working on before I decided I'd better get III Crimsonstreak and my WIP whipped into shape? Do I start something new?

This is always the hardest thing for me to decide. I haven't been doing the daily grind of 2,000 for a few weeks because I've devoted my energy to re-reading and rewriting two books that needed a lot of work. Now that those two projects are essentially done, I need to decide what to work on next.

Here are some possibilities:

The Exclusive: I've written about 45,000 words on this one--meaning it's about halfway done. It starts out as a crime story featuring a journalist before turning into a paranormal/supernatural mystery. I like the concept and I have the story outlined. If I work on it for a month or two, I'll probably have a first draft ready to go.

Synopsis: TV reporter Kent Carter knows Mayor Harrison Johnson is corrupt--he just can't prove it. Damning documents disappear, witnesses suddenly change their stories, and his talkative sources in the police department don't have anything to say. When a mysterious source steps forward with proof of corruption within Johnson's administration, Kent finally gets his exclusive. He just doesn't expect his lead story to unleash hell on Earth.

Red Plague: I think this was my third attempt at a novel. I've always liked the concept, which involves the bubonic plague, Soviet-era intrigue, and time travel. I would describe it as Crichton-esque in concept (but not in execution). I'm about 37,000 words into this one, but the last time I worked on it was 2010. I tried reading through it a few months ago, and it's cringe-worthy. I can see all of my writing flaws in this earlier work. Still, I, Crimsonstreak had similar problems, and I managed to turn that into a readable book. Part of me thinks I should trunk this version and start over.

Synopsis: A man materializes at a county fair in the Midwest before collapsing, spreading a deadly new strain of bubonic plague that begins sweeping across the world. As millions die, CDC specialist Anna Manning makes a startling discovery: the disease appears to have been genetically altered in the past. The revelation dredges up painful memories of the Cold War and forces Anna to travel back in time, the fate of humanity resting on her shoulders

G-Men: I've had this concept kicking in the back of my head for a long time, and I have a rough outline. It would be a book set in the 50s about a superpowered team of government crimefighters. Basically, a special agent gets Robocopped; super-spy hijinks and Cold War intrigue ensue. Love Cold War Era stuff.

Mortimer: International Man of Taste and Intrigue: I think Mortimer P. Willoughby and the Crusading Comets deserve a book of their own. Or maybe two books. I don't know. Morty is my favorite character in the Crimsonverse. I think a standalone novel in which he recounts the adventures of the various Crusading Comets would be tons of fun. I have an outline for this one.

The problem is I have to pick something. It's a big commitment...we're talking months of work to get a first draft, revisions, that daily grind of putting out 2,000 words.

I'll have to think about it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Revisions! Revisions! Revisions!

I'm obsessively revising one of my books right now.

I'm not exactly sure which draft I'm on, but I'm definitely approaching "almost ready to submit somewhere" status. I need to work on a query letter and probably a synopsis. Oh, synopsis. How I loathe thee.

I'm by no means a great query letter writer, but I feel a lot more comfortable with queries than I do synopses. At the Midwest Writers Workshop a few years ago, I sat in on a brief workshop in which an agent described the synopsis as evil. I think the program may have been called "The Dreaded Synopsis." Pretty much everyone hates these things.

Anyhow, I took a draft of my current book and added about 7,000 words to it. After reading through it again, I think the changes work. I just need to go through and eliminate some repetitive words and smooth out a few things. That's what I'm working on right now...taking care of about 160 little notations I made on my Kindle.