Writing, publishing, geekdom, and errata.

My Next Big Thing - Mark and Sylvia

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I’m horrible at blog hops and tagging and so on. I tend to write blog posts in big blasts (usually a week or two worth at a time) then let it lie fallow save for an occasional as-needed update. So when I get tagged in one of these - say, by Sarah Hans (editor of Sidekicks!, due out in March 2013) - I’ll often forget about it when it’s time for me to actually write the damn thing.

This particular blog hop - The Next Big Thing - lets you know about my next Work In Progress (or WIP). While it's true that I'm going to be the publisher of Sidekicks! (which Sarah's editing), I can't really say that it's my work. She and the writers are doing all the work as far as the actual stories are concerned.

So instead, I'm going to shift gears a little and talk about what I'm actually writing.

You might remember me saying that I failed (and sorta won) NaNoWriMo. Let me tell you a little about that (ongoing, but more slowly) story.

The book currently has the unimaginative working title of “Mark and Sylvia”, after the two main characters. That said, here’s the elevator synopsis:

“He’s a bisexual werebear. I’m a transgender mage. Together, we fight crime.”

I’ve been writing iterations of this for a couple of years (a LOT of years, actually), and the characters have pretty clear voices at this point. It’s a nice, darkly humorous urban fantasy in the same neighborhood as Dresden and Canderous. Which is really strange, since I never wanted or set out to write urban fantasy. At all.

The whole idea really came from the characters and their interactions. Mark showed up first - he’s actually the original reason I got back into Second Life and ended up being a bear there.

Bear with a Sonic Screwdriver
Sylvia came partially from my academic research into transgendered individuals, and partially from my memory of a young transvestite and an older transsexual I met in Louisville back in the 90’s. And then they end up together, and Stuff Happens.

It was actually a mistake to try to make Mark in Second Life. It made it hard for me to let the character grow and change. So I don’t try to visualize anyone in particular for the characters. If this were ever to become a movie, I would wait to see it until after I was done writing the books.

Writing these characters is getting faster. I’d already written out a bunch of short work (which I’ve largely trunked) to get their voices down. It let me work out a lot of the problems with the characters before I started on the main book. Since I’ve not finished it yet, I’m not sure when I’ll be done, or who (if anyone) will be representing it.

There’s been two surprising things about this book so far. The first is how little of a “thing” the bisexual and transgender bits are. They come up, but they’re not a central emphasis of the story. The second is how much I’m blatantly snagging villians and ideas from elsewhere... and even namechecking it. But I think it works; having the characters say “Isn’t that like this thing I read on the Internet?” and having another explain the similarities and differences both credits the source material and explains how I’ve made the motif my own.

So that's what I'm working on. How about you?

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