Taking stock, plus a poll.
My wife and I conducted a review of this blog the other day. It was my idea; I feared I was becoming so narrowly focused on my individual articles that I was missing the bigger picture. Turned out this assessment was accurate.
Since I started TCWNF back in early September, I’ve made twenty one posts, at a rate of about one per week. Many of them have been quite long (and, as some friends have pointed out, poorly edited). The shorter ones have tended to be recommendations of other writers and their work. I’ve been thinking I should shake up that format a bit, and post shorter works of all kinds more frequently. I also want to start posting more paywalled content, so that my paid subscribers can get some kind of return for their patronage of me. Consider these changes my preemptive New Year’s resolutions.
But there’s another problem we found that’s more thematic in nature, and not just with the work I’ve posted so far, either. I have four longer pieces on my dashboard, in varying states of completion. When I described these writings to my wife, I could see a kind of trepidation in her eyes. We talked it over and came to an agreement:
I’ve been writing entirely too much about evil lately.
It’s not that I think that subject isn’t important; I obviously do, as it was the impetus for this stack in the first place. But Christmas is fast upon us, and I don’t want to dwell too long and deep in the dark. As you’ve probably guessed by now, I have a phenomenally bad track record when it comes to that.
So now I find myself at a bit of a crossroads, and was hoping some of you could help. I need a break from chasing evil, but not a break from writing. In fact, I endeavor to do even more of that, now that my clients have entered their winter slowdowns and I have a bit more time on my hands.
The way I see it, there are a few different directions I could take TCWF over the next month or so. I’ll explain them briefly, then include a poll to gauge your preferences.
#1. Technology (& Tech Industry)
These would be articles similar to Schrödinger's Musk and Murder by Acquisition that focus on various features of the tech landscape, including the dangers and opportunities that I see ahead. I don’t claim to be some kind of all-seeing futurist or industry insider, but I think my experience across a variety of tech-related jobs might provide some useful insights here and there. For instance, several of my predictions in “Murder” appear to be coming true lately (and at a more rapid pace than I thought).
I’ve done four of these so far, with varying degrees of interest shown. I plan to continue doing them, mostly because I like to give back to those writers who have illuminated my mind or stirred my heart. The other good thing about this direction is that I think I can produce this kind of content more regularly (never a shortage of great writing on Substack, I have come to find).
#3. The Movie Mechanic
So there’s this game that my wife and I play where we “fix” broken movies. These are essentially films that are mediocre-to-bad that we think could’ve been great with some changes, ranging from minor nips and tucks to open heart surgery in the form of extensive rewrites/reshoots. I’ve always found this to be a fun and useful exercise, and she’s been pressuring me to put some of my ideas down on paper.
#4. Longform Fiction
This would be a brand new direction for the blog, but it’s one I’ve considered adding to it since the beginning. Here’s what’s up: I have three novels I’ve been sporadically writing over the past decade or so. Two of them are about one third-to-halfway complete. The other is technically “finished,” but I shelved it out of frustration during my fourth or fifth attempt at editing/rewriting.
My wife has been hounding me for years now to finish these books (and in particular the one that ended, from her perspective, “on a cliffhanger”). I’ve been thinking that posting some of my early chapters to TCWNF might be a way to jumpstart the process of finishing (and hopefully one day publishing) one or more of them. And because so many of you are yourselves gifted writers and voracious, thoughtful readers, I would obviously value your feedback.
So you get a sense of where this direction might lead, I’ll describe each novel in brief:
In a land on the verge of major technological and sociopolitical changes, a runaway boy finds himself on a quest for treasure, romance and revenge. A string of fateful incidents lands him in the company of some very strange allies along the way, one of whom becomes his mentor and dearest friend. But everything is not as it seems. Hard lessons are forthcoming for our youthful adventurer, as he discovers that some of the most treacherous monsters lurk inside of human hearts.
Genre: Low Fantasy, Bildungsroman, Picaresque, Comedy/Horror.
Status: 100% (needs editing/rewriting)
A group of estranged friends are offered the opportunity to “reboot” their popular old comedy show in grand cinematic form. Unfortunately, the project’s backers happen to be an international cult of wealthy lunatics, whose goals far exceed those of your typical Hollywood nostalgia-milking scam. As our heroes blunder their way through secret worlds of danger, intrigue and the maddest of mad science, they uncover a conspiracy so unbelievably batshit that only a bunch of comedians could possibly understand it, let alone fight back against its sinister authors.
Genre: Comedy/Horror, Mystery, Sci Fi
The Trigger (working title)
A team of amnesiac superheroes reassemble for the most important and dangerous mission of their careers, the stakes of which are no less than the fate of the world. (The less said about this one the better, as it involves an unfolding mystery. Suffice it to say it’s probably the most experimental of the three, and explores some of the same dark territory of my “Devil Incarnate” essays from a more directly supernatural angle).
Genre: Comedy/Horror, Supernatural Mystery
I have a few more ideas, but those are the main ones. In all cases, I will probably paywall some (but certainly not all, or even most) of these kinds of articles somewhere down the line. It’s hard for me to justify walling my writings about evil, since I — however deludedly — tend to think of those as a form of public service. So maybe one or more of these less-specifically-evil candidates could constitute a decent compromise.
Thanks in advance for voting. If you have multiple answers, or voted for “something else,” please explain your choice in the comments.
Cheers and God Bless.
(Also, here’s a present I made 4 U.)