The Things We Find – An Old Discussion On “The Darkening”

So, as I was cruising around on Facebook the other day, as I’m known to do – way too much, I might add – a memory popped up, and at first I had no idea what it was. Turns out in 2012 I had a movie review blog that I’d completely forgotten about. Amidst a few terrible reviews of films that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone, I found a brief discussion regarding my novel and what its status was at that time. I discussed some of this in the back of “The Darkening”, but it was rather interesting to see a slightly younger me discussing the plot and theme and lack of knowledge on how to publish.

Below is the blog post from 2012 – to any fans of “The Darkening”, this may be interesting…or not! You decide!

***

My First Novel – A Brief Discussion – Part 1

(December 2012)

*****

Well, as anyone here who knows me will attest, I haven’t really said much at all about this novel I’ve been babbling about for the past year.  I’m not one to talk about my work, because in my head I don’t think I truly accomplish what I intend when I start putting pen to paper.  Not to mention that my grammar and punctuation can be downright scary at times.  I’m guessing that’s why editors exist, but what the hell do I know?  The world of publishing scares the shit out of me!

The history of my novel goes back to my final days in High School, right around 1998.  I had always wanted to be a writer, and I was always tossing ideas around for one story or another.  This was years after I had started writing songs for bands I was in at the time.  Let’s just say that writing some bad lyrics about sex demons, fast cars, bad relationships, and magical realms with fictional battles is MUCH different than trying to put together a full story, one that makes sense and is actually interesting to the reader.  I’m still not sure if I accomplished that or not.

So, the idea came out of a horrible dream I had about one of our local buildings that had a reputation for being haunted.  It had been abandoned for years, and everyone had their own version of what awful things had taken place there, although history will tell you that nothing had ever happened there of real importance.  Every town has a few spots like this, and no one cares if the stories are true are not, as long as the proper mystique is built up for the location.

The dream starred little old me, alone and scared inside this building at night.  As the dream went on it became more sinister, and as I walked around looking for an exit, the walls around me began to crumble.  Behind the walls pulsed the veins and organs of a living being – the building was alive and aware of my presence, and it wanted to take me to my own version of Oz.

The walls eventually faded and I could see the outside clearly – people passed by, cars drove up the street, stray dogs sniffed around in the gutter for scraps of food – yet no one knew I was there.  I could look out and see what as once my world, but I knew that I was no longer in our world, but some other world where I was forever trapped in an invisible cage.  I was scared shitless, but it was then that the idea for my book truly began.  I knew as far back as 1998 that my work would incorporate different realities, different worlds, different versions of people within those worlds.  Back then it sounded crazy, but in the years it has taken me to sit down and decide to write the thing, the idea itself is no longer a very new one.

The idea of parallel universes has existed in theory and in fiction for a very long time.  Stephen King is possibly the best example of this.  His “Dark Tower” series is what really made me initially want to explore that kind of story.  The mythology he created in those books is the linchpin for everything else he has ever written.  Another of my favorite authors, Brian Keene, has also established a very cool and very cohesive mythology behind his writing.  Both of these authors have the same idea of a ‘multiverse’ and both have their own way of expanding on it.  The television show “Fringe” also deals with multiple realities and different versions of a single character existing in versions of each one and possibly in different times within those realities.  Complicated shit when you get right down to it, but the story lines for such ideas are infinite.  I’m adding my ‘multiverse’ to this ever-expanding idea and hope I’ve done so in a way that not only makes sense, but also has some original ideas that haven’t been used before.

At 388 pages, my novel, originally titled “Through The Veil” and later changed to “Grayworld”, has bounced around in my head for a very long time, before a lot of these ideas were popularized, but hey, you snooze you lose.  The original title stuck for years, only being changed at the last minute because it no longer suited the book.  The new title I liked for a week or so before I decided I didn’t like that one either.  Titling a book seems to be harder than writing most of it!

The manuscript, which was only about 125 pages long in 1999, introduced my mythology and some of the characters I wanted to explore, but life kept getting in the way.  It sat untouched for a long time before I went back and decided to give it another shot.  This was in 2004.  I took the 125 pages I already had, re-wrote most of it, added some characters, expanded on my mythology, and worked my way up to 170 nearly new pages.

Then it sat again!

As time passed,I became more and more scared that my vision was already being done elsewhere, and that I didn’t have much to add.  Once I got over that, and realized that pretty much every author out there has ‘borrowed’ ideas from someone else, I said “Fuck it!” and decided to continue anyway.

How do you format a manuscript?  Get an agent or publisher?  No fucking idea – I’m still nowhere near 100% sure how it all works, and for a long time I wouldn’t write because of this.  I didn’t want to write something and then have no idea at all what to do with it!

Eventually I learned enough – not nearly enough to be confident in starting the process rolling, but confident enough to finally finish it.  I finally did just that in October of this year!  At just under 100,000 words, this became my first completed novel.  It was like giving birth –  and I’m saying that having no fucking idea what I’m talking about, but let’s just say it wasn’t easy!

Formatted properly and safely tucked away in my manuscript box, I was then thrilled when the above-mentioned author, Brian Keene, offered a service to new authors, where he would read your book, edit it for story, give some ideas, and send it back with an idea of what to do next.  Not many authors take the time out of their own busy schedule to offer such a service, and I jumped on it once.  Just to say that Brian Keene has read my book is very cool – unless it comes back to my house with a letter telling me to never write again, that my story is awful, characters bland, and my mythology about as interesting as dryer lint.

So anyway, there’s just a bit of an idea of the history of this damn thing.  It was nearly 15 years in the making, and I honestly hope that Mr. Keene at least thinks that this thing has some merit.  If not, I guess I’d better start thinking about another line of work.

Garbage man sounds good!

C.

Keep reading for Part 2 if you care at all about my silly little book.  If not, then feel free to continue with your copy of the “Martha Stewart Story.”  Intriguing to say the least!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.