Finally, an update.

If you haven’t read Thorn yet and plan to, I’d suggest doing it soon–it’s going away for good at the end of May.

So here we are, about five weeks removed from the release of the final chapter of the GW2 version of Thorn, and I know quite a few of you are wondering what’s going on. Sadly, don’t expect anything earth-shattering with this post, but it’s been a whirlwind of activity the past five weeks with a prologue and six chapters to show for it, but I’m rambling away already so:

Well, following the advice of just about everyone I know, I took a break from writing after last minute touch-ups and posting of that final chapter–a break that lasted all of a day before throwing myself into the original work version of Thorn.

How’s it coming along? I’m hesitant to say anything beyond “good” (but I will) mainly because I feel like it’s taking away from what was a great experience, and a great read for a lot of you. That said, it’s on a totally different level. The writing–the world building, the characterization, the dialogue, the flow and description and plot–everything about it makes the original feel like a first draft for this version. More developed, more thoughtful, more mature, more directed, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how it’s shaping up to this point. (And, I hate to say it, going back to the original to flip through it is occasionally frequently embarrassing.)

I have a smallish team of beta-readers who have been greatly encouraging and occasionally very critical, and both sides of the coin have been great to hear, as that criticism reflects things I already knew or suspected and was glad to be called out on (or simply suggested to) and the overall sentiment seems to be that–and I’ve heard this in the same exact words from almost all of them–what I’ve put together to this point is compelling.

I’m not going into too many details, but basically the setting has taken something of step back into a vaguely Tolkien-esque setting, but in a (very) low-magic world on the brink of industrialization. Some might call it (ugh) steampunk, and if it’s picked up for publication will undoubtedly be marketed that way, but steampunk in its most basic incarnation–no mad scientists with Phlogiston-powered Doomsday Machines, no giant steam-powered spiders, no fucking gears and brass and copper pipes all over everything for no damned good reason, etc., etc.

Let’s just call it ‘Victorian-era Fantasy’ and leave it at that.

To be personal for a moment, this entire process beginning with the first time I publicly posted the prologue and first chapter (seems like ages ago…) has been a weird, difficult, sometimes painful, and incredibly liberating breakthrough from years and years of depression and anxiety–both very bad at times, and they continue to rear their ugly heads. The outpouring of support from complete strangers has left me bewildered, and the praise and criticism from some of the people I know who are just about the least likely people in the world to ever blow smoke up my ass has caused just as much consternation, but the whole thing has given me–after thirty*mumblemumble* years–an actual life goal after decades of aimless drifting.

I’ve found something I’m good at and that I love doing, and I’m busting my ass harder than it’s ever been busted before to make this pipe dream into a reality, and the support of my wife through it all has been incredible. And so for her, for you guys out there who have been so great, for everyone else who’s believed I’d finally figure out what the fuck I was supposed to be doing with my time on this planet, and most of all for me–well, I suppose something grandiose is supposed to go here, but instead I’ll just say that I’m going to keep pushing forward with Thorn, with the seeds of future sequels I’ve already planted in these earliest chapters, and write the absolute best atypical fantasy novel, or novels, that I can.

I’ve watched friends and acquaintances become game-company moguls, psychology professors with shit-tons of publications to their names and a book or two, lawyers, pharmaceutical researchers, chemists, musicians getting name-dropped in gothic/darkwave magazines from the US to Russia, or simply home-makers and great parents, all chipping out their place in the world through perseverance and hard work, and suddenly I can look at my labor of love and think, “Hey! Me too!”

It’s an odd place to be. Much like Linebaugh, I haven’t been sure of a lot of the more important things in my life, and confident about even fewer of them, but one thing I can safely say is that the rewrite, so far, is really, really damned good.

The goal right now is to have Thorn, Book I: Wanderer and Misericorde in manuscript form by August (roughly chapters 1 through 14 in the GW2 version) and off to literary agents. After that, I suppose it’s out of my hands. If all else fails, I have a good friend who’s a fucking whiz with startup-type businesses, and I’ll offer him the 15% that a literary agent would take and self-publish the damned thing and let him market it.

I’ll post some basic updates more often, and I may post some teasers once they get polished up a bit more–right now I’m just writing and moving on rather than fiddling over every last word. Otherwise, stay tuned for more GW2 rants with occasional, scattered praise, and talk of booze and sports and metal and general life goings-on.

Thanks again, all.

-Steve

P.S. – GO BRUINS!

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