I haven't written any fun posts in a while because they keep me too busy at work to blog (the nerve!). I've been wanting to experiment with self-publishing though so I finally set aside enough free time to put together a short story I liked enough to ask money for. I'm not sure what gave me the idea. Maybe it was seeing the musicians playing for quarters on the way to work that made me think of it, or maybe it was just the thought of making a few cents off something I already do. In any case, I heard about this Kindle direct publishing thing and it kind of struck me as being the craft fair of literature. And if there's anything that gives middle-class Americans a sense of validation for their hobbies, it's getting someone to drop some change for them at a craft fair. I think if I were good with pipe cleaner and paste, I'd probably just piece together some Precious Moments ripoffs and set up a table in a high school gymnasium in rural Michigan. But I have a keyboard and an abrasive personality so I'll do this instead.
I was surprised by how much work is involved in getting a few decent pages together. I've sometimes taken a couple hours or more to blog a few paragraphs of fart jokes and profanity, but I didn't know how much work it takes to create something you expect strangers to read if it's not for free. Over the span of time it took me to write the five pages of my short story, I managed to read three whole books: "Darkness at Noon," "Under the Volcano," and (most of) "Where I'm Calling From." Not only did that take a long time, but it had an influence on how I wrote. What resulted was a depressing mess. The first draft was just my caricatured impression of Koestler's brooding philosophy mixed with Lowry's embedded allusions, sliced and diced into terse Carver-like sentences. It took a couple weeks of reading and re-reading, changing a few words in each paragraph or cutting them completely, and eventually changing the whole plot before I had something that wasn't too embarrassing to open when there were people next to me on the train.
What I ended up with isn't like what I write about on this blog. It's not even funny- it's about a couple English officers in the Third Crusade who are looking for a sabateur, with a little plot twist at the end, Twilight Zone-style. I'm happy with it though because I like medieval history and I think Twilight Zone (the original series, not the uninspired revivals they seem to churn out every decade or so) was the best show on TV. I'm not sure it's worth a dollar (people are selling entire novels at that price), but that's the lowest Amazon will let me go, so that's what it costs.
Anyway, if it sounds interesting and you'd like a preview, you can check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004XDA1V8
. If you like it, message me and I will send you a free copy if you promise to give me an honest critique. :) Advice on writing and promoting would be welcome too, since I know some of you who read are actual writers.
That is all!