On George R.R. Martin and stress

This is not a review of the Game of Thrones finale. I might write one of those, but for right now, no. Feel free to read this without fear of any spoilers. It is also not another why won’t he finish the booooooks whine, because 1) George R.R. Martin is not your bitch and 2) I have plenty to read. So adjust your expectations accordingly before you read further.

Y’all, I am, honestly and sincerely, kinda worried about George.

Here’s the thing: you may be aware that I wrote a book called Skylights, a book which ends in such a way that strongly suggests that at least one sequel is forthcoming. Skylights was released in 2014 and the first draft was completed well before that, and was set in a near enough future that it now demands a second edition where I’ve elided most of the actual dates.

I have been thinking about the Skylights sequel for, I think, close to a decade now, if not longer than that. I have taken several serious stabs at writing it, all of which have failed. In that time, precisely zero people have pushed me for a release date or tried to buttonhole me about what happens next. Have people liked the book? Yeah, generally. But there’s no popular groundswell out there for a sequel. Nobody’s chewing their nails or mad at me that the book’s not done yet. If it were to never come out absolutely no one would be upset. The pressure is entirely, 100% internal.

And that goddamn unwritten-ass book is a source of stress in my life every single fucking day. I literally do not go a single day, ever, without chiding myself for not working on the Skylights sequel. Does it make me continue to work on it? No. No, it does not.

And Skylights is a sequel to one book, featuring a constrained cast of characters, and not the sixth (or seventh!) book in a massive doorstop series that a huge chunk of the world knows exists and has been clamoring for for decades.

I think about what this dude must have been going through, having sold this series to TV, and having to watch the slow-motion nightmare apocalypse unfold as the TV series gets closer and closer and finally passes the narrative in the books, and having to have a conversation with people about where he sees the ending going (and I will never believe that he had actually decided on the ending long enough ago to talk to HBO about it) and then, to make things so, so much worse, to have the first ending to his story be so universally despised as this one was.

I want to say something like “Oh, he can just lie down in his giant pile of money and not worry about it,” but you know, I really don’t think GRRM is actually that type of person. I don’t know him; I’ve never met the man, but I just don’t see that. (And if he is, that’s fine! Again, GRRM is not your bitch, or mine, either.)

I’m just picturing myself in this situation, and thinking about how I literally cannot conceive of any way that this deal might have gone any worse for him than the way it did, regardless of the money. Even cancellation would have been better, because then he wouldn’t have had the indignity of having to watch someone else finish his story while he continues to struggle with these massive, unwritable books– and to have to watch them do so in a way that nearly everyone agreed was terrible.

I would not be able to cope with this shit, y’all. Just would not. And no amount of money would help me with it. Again, I’m stressing about Sunlight, or Moonlight, or whateverthefuck it’s going to be called if I ever release it, and no one cares about that but me. He’s literally going through what I’m going through times several million.

So yeah. I’m worried about him right now. Maybe he should be trying to take a swim in his huge pile of money, if he’s not already doing it.

Some book musings

I’m basically done with the “break” part of my break; I have the weekend and then I’m back to work on Monday. Usually by this point at the break I’m climbing the walls and chewing on my extremities; for the most part, other than yesterday’s post, I’ve managed to avoid going slowly crazy. I’ve gotten a fair amount of stuff done over the break. What I haven’t done is any of Luther’s stuff. It’s all been Clark Kent nonsense over here for the last couple of weeks.

My first priority in 2019 has to be to decide what to do with Skylights. I have so many half-written drafts of the sequel, under more than one title, that it’s frankly kind of ridiculous. That may or may not be the cover. It may or may not be the title. And once I have the sequel written I have to decide if I’m doing a second edition of the first book. A second edition wouldn’t be too different, but the first book already mentions things that didn’t happen in 2018 (because 2018 was, comfortably, The Future when I wrote it) and the events of the book are at this point far too close to Now for comfort. If nothing else, I need to remove specific dates, and probably rewrite the prologue to give the story some breathing room. I don’t think I can tie the events of the story so close to something that happened in 1984, for example; it just makes Gabe too old.

(20-minute break while I research the FAFSA and explain how taxes work for a former student; I avoid using the phrase “this would be easier if I adopted you.”)

Anyway, point is I gotta figure this shit out. And I probably should have reformatted some of my books to get them away from CreateSpace and over to Ingram over the break. And maybe done a new banner, since the one vertical banner I have is Skylights-focused. I should probably have one for at least one more of my books.

Point is, I didn’t spend as much time being Luther over the last couple of weeks as maybe I should have. And now I need to figure some stuff out over the next couple of days. This week shouldn’t be too hard (he said,) so I should have some brainspace left to get things done when I get home from work. And who knows? The next couple of days might be hugely productive.

Just, like I said, I’ve got some decisions to make, and a weight to get off my back.

What have you been putting off lately?

I give up

giphy-1Last night, I completely cracked the plot of the Skylights sequel wide open, for about the fourteenth time since finishing the original book– only this time it involves going back to the original draft of Sunlight that I got like 40,000 words into and then had to bail on, because I finally figured out how to make it work.

At this point the sequel to that book is going to be a foreword, 300 blank pages, and then the words “And then they all died” on page 301, because I am having that much trouble getting the plot to cohere.


In other news, despite the fact that I’ve put in notice at my job, there’s still a corporate visit next week and for some reason apparently I’m still expected to, like, do stuff around the store– I guess they don’t just pay me to sit on my ass and look at my phone for five weeks, or something nuts like that?  So I’ve been insanely busy at work for the last couple of days and tomorrow does not look like it’s going to be better.  I literally dusted every end table and coffee table in the entire store this evening.  Tomorrow I have to do the TV stands. I am crabby and sleepy and I have not had much brain left for bloggery when I get home.  I will, I hope, break myself of this habit tomorrow.


Seriously.  Email me some problems so I can do an advice column.  Otherwise I’m just gonna fictionalize the whole thing and that’s gonna lead to issues.

Brains are weird

Spinning-Silhouette-Optical-IllusionSo, weird thing: I got interviewed three times last week, and each time mentioned that I planned for my next book to be about teaching.  I have the cover picked out and everything.

And then yesterday while I was proctoring the final set of ISTEP tests, the last two sentences of the sequel to SKYLIGHTS wrote themselves, and now I’ve got the broad plot outlines of both books done.

The sequel to SKYLIGHTS is called STARLIGHT, I think, in case you were wondering.

Hmmm.

(Still poorly.  Hoping for fuller humanity tomorrow; we’ll see.)