…a study in self-criticism.
To catch the three or so people who may be reading the Pic-Dem now but weren’t a few months/years ago–The Book is a fantasy novel, kind of (see below) that’s currently sorta-13, sorta-14 chapters in length and is currently going through its… oh, third… series of birth pangs as the whole story gets reimagined and largely rewritten. And were it to get finished (a laudable but misty goal), were it to get picked up (miraculously and/or by a publisher with a death wish for his/her business), it still. would. not. sell.
Just a few reasons why:
- It doesn’t have a title. Or a hope of one. Titles are hard, man. Anyone know of any good title-creation tips, techniques, how-to screeds or automated generators? (On my hard drive, it’s been called "Dallia and Friends" for about three years.)
- The first chunk of dialogue is in dialect. And I hate reading dialect. But I can’t help it; it’s how these characters talk. No random misspellings or lavishly sprinkled apostrophes here, though; it’s a rhythmic, agrammatical street cant spoken at different levels of non-standardness by different characters. Frex, our heroine retains the pronoun "him" but the child she’s speaking to uses "he" for all third-person masculine references. He/him/his=he/he/he. Also, the use of novel compound pronouns such as "somewhat" instead of "something," e.g., "you got somewhat for eat?" Seriously, I can’t help it. I saw them talking in my head and I just wrote down what they said.
- No noble characters; no baseborn characters discovering they’re secretly noble; precious little in the way of motivation other than raw survival. At least not in the first few chapters. At some point La Protagonista is going to discover that sometimes one needs to fight when one is not willing or ready to fight to protect things that are Important. (Yes, this theme is gleaned directly from the lyrics of the Flaming Lips’ "Fight Test." Because all true and correct philosophy comes to us via the mouthpiece of Wayne Coyne.)
- No magical whizbang whatchamagigs. No Ring, no Blade, no Blade-Ring, no Sling-Blade, no Orb of the World, no Rod of Holy Wrath-Expression, no Hand of Glory (though I might drop a Hole of Glory into one of the more salacious scenes, depending), no Mighty Dragon-Slaying Sword of Mightiness.
- Also, no dragons.
- No elves, either.
- Ditto for dwarves. This is a totally humanocentric story.
- Or swords or sword battles. I must write what I know, and I know nothing of this heavily armed foolishness. (There is a part about someone sticking someone else with a knife, though. But she does it and reacts to it pretty much exactly as I think I would; in other words, in a moment of panic, followed by copious nausea and lingering guilt.)
- Or talking animals. Horses, hawks or kittens–they’re all pretty much silent, and I think there are no horses anywhere in the story and only a short bit about a hawk. And it’s not really a hawk, anyway, but–hsst! I say too much! There is a cat, though, because there has to be, doesn’t there?
- The ending ain’t happy, either. It’s rather more Remains of the Day than Notting Hill. But you expected that, didn’t you?
So–hey presto, there you go. Ten damned good reasons to not buy my book. The eleventh, of course, being that it isn’t and probably shan’t be published… but still. Still.
(What do you want to bet I’ll never get sent on a self-promotionalizing book tour, either?)