05:04 A.M., Monday, November 25th, 2002
The last couple days I've spent working on the YankTheChain Store
. We have new items, and stickers and stuff, and all the prices have been dropped by $2.
It's sad that print on demand is the only way we can do this. Print on demand means that they make the shirt when someone buys it, rather than printing a bunch up at once and getting a bulk discount. That's why the stuff in the YankTheChain store has always been so expensive. With our new $2 price drop, you can get a t-shirt for $16, but we only get $2 of that. If I thought we would sell hundreds of t-shirts at, say $12 or $10, it would be worth it to us to print up a lot and go through the hassle of handing orders and doing shipping ourselves, but there's no where near that kind of demand (yet, at any rate).
The other thing that's been on my mind is the end of the Schultzenburgianity
project. HX and I have been discussing putting together a book of YankTheChain material, called The YankTheChain Reader, Vol. 1
, and then self-publishing it through a print on demand service like X-Libris. In my mind, the Reader
should be put together within the next 10 to 12 months, because I'd like to have it for sale by the time I finish the Oracle at Hammerstein
and am shopping it around to publishers. I think having a self-published book with maybe some sales will help my case for getting my novel published.
That said, I have to figure out about Schultzenburgianity (which, in its final form will be another work that can bolster my case for the publication of my novel - you are keeping in mind that my end goal in life is be a professional novelist, and everything else is just part of that mission, right?). Ideally, I might be able to convince Plan 9
to publish it, because they specialize in publishing web comics as trade paperbacks. However, Plan 9 doesn't usually publish comics with such small runs - their submission page
says they want at least 270 cartoons to look at. Schultz currently has 81 strips and probably won't top 150 by the time it's done. That means to get them to publish it, I'd have to make one hell of a convincing submissions letter (I will point out that there's at least fifty pages of footnotes).
If Plan 9 doesn't publish it, I can look for another web comic publisher, but I'm not sure there is one. The solution, then, becomes to publish it myself, again through a service like X-Libris, though I'll probably want to print up a bunch myself, either with X-Libris, or a press if I can find a press that's cheaper, so that I can sell the books at cons and send a couple hundred through the Diamond distribution system, which goes out to comic book stores. I plan on hitting the San Diego Comic Convention this summer, and hopefully also SPX in Maryland, to sell the book.
The thing is that I plan on finishing Schultz around February. Then I want to do onen round of fixing up some of the worst art and worst jokes, innaccuracies, etc. and finish all the footnotes and link them to the appropriate strips to create a "perfect web version". THEN, I'm going to draw something like 50 panels that will ONLY be in the print book, mostly to aid in the continuity of the story-line, but also just adding some jokes and material to get people to buy the book. What would be REALLY great is if I could get someone with some kind of name in the field to write the introduction, but that might be hoping for too much.
The point I'm trying to make is that the San Diego Con is in August, so between February and August I have only 5 months to finish the book, find a publisher or publish it myself, and get it printed up for sale. Forget sending out galley copies to people to try and get them to write an introduction. I just know from experience that 5 months is not nearly as much time as you think it is.
So, anyway, we'll see. I'm also working on a total redraft of the Oracle at Hammerstein
, and should have the new Chapter 1 up on YankTheChain by Wednesday, December 4th.
Eric | link
03:50 A.M., Thursday, November 21st, 2002
I had a nightmare last night. From what I remember, there were these two girls who were trying to resurrect this dead god, who was lying half-formed on the floor. Apparently I was travelling with a couple ghosts, because the girls coaxed the ghosts into being absorbed into the god, to aid in the resurrection. Then the girls grabbed their own mother, and through a net over her and started beating her to death with what seemed like the flat end of a machete, while the mother screamed and begged for her life. Apparently, they were killing the mother so that they could get her ghost and use it to help resurrect the god. Their father was sitting there and I asked him, "are they going to kill you, too?" to which they responded, "that's what he's here for."
Soon enough the mother's ghost appeared, an evil-looking zombie-like ghost like something out of the Evil Dead 2, and she was staring at us from outside, through a glass door. I realized that they would be sure to sacrifice me too, once they finished with their Dad, and I started trying to sneak out another door. They noticed and started in after me, and that was about when I woke up.
I couldn't begin to tell you what it means.
Eric | link
04:13 A.M., Wednesday, November 20th, 2002
I'm knee deap in Oracle rewrite notes. I'm basically rewriting the whole thing.
The current draft of the Oracle at Hammerstein, at 45,000 words (200+ pages) is the longest project I've currently worked on. And I realized that for me to finish it as I was going, I would need at least 70,000 more words. A 500 page book is pretty long, though I always think of Wallace and Pynchon and Delilo, all of whom I count among my favorites, and all of whom are known for 1000+ page texts. Somewhere inside I still think any decent work of literature must be at least 300 pages long, though I know psychologically there are many notable works that are shorter (even much shorter). Philip Roth's first long work, which won him the National fucking Book Award, was the novella Goodbye, Columbus
Some of the flaws with the first draft with the first draft of the Oracle at Hammerstein
(and they are many and egregious):
- I find that the narrative is unnecissarily didactic. I think this is a bad habit I picked up from Neil Gaimen (who is a fine writer, but all too often allows himself repetative didacticism).
- Indeed, there is much too much Gaimen influence in the work, and it almost seems to be turning into Mexican Gods
(ie a Mexican version of Gaimen's novel, American Gods
- which, as I observed when I first read it, has a notable lack of Mexican mythology for a book about this continent's dieties - in fact the lack of Mesoamerican material in Gaimen's work is one of my biggest gripes with it; Gaimen likes to think of himself as this European ex-patriot exploring American ideas, yet his work is so incredibly Euro-centric. But I digress; this sounds like it should be an essay of it's own and not an aside about my own work.)
- The characters fail to flesh out. Only Ren Conrad, and briefly in the second chapter, Peter Marx, really seem fully formed in the work. For a novel about characters with no plot to speak of, the characters are far too one-dimensional and sketch-like. Slim Jake was going to become three dimension in the unwritten chapters 12 and 13 - titled "The New Adventures of Fiorello LaGuardia" and "Stephanie Says", if anyone's curious - but that it would take 200 pages for one of the major characters to become three dimensional is unacceptable. I need to think the characters through much more clearly before commiting them to paper.
These are the major flaws. The more I consider the rewrite, the further and further away it becomes from this draft, and may ultimately bear little resemblance to it, though use mostly the same characters.
What the draft allowed me to prove to myself is that I can write 5000 words or so a week, if I put my mind to it, which means I can actually finish a novel in a decent amount of time. I've never seen myself as one of these writers who works on a novel for 10 years. I have a lot more novels to write after this one and I'm already iching to get onto the next one.
I think what I'm going to do is write the new first chapter with an eye towards using it as a stand-alone short story. I already know what it's going to be about, and it should set the precedent for a new standard of quality for the rest of the redraft.
That's my hope anyway. We'll see if I succeed or not.
Eric | link
02:53 A.M., Tuesday, November 19th, 2002
Just saw the first part of the Mark Twain documentary on PBS. Pretty good. My only critique is that they whizzed through the first 50 years of his life in this half, so that the next one could cover the last 25. But in doing so they washed over most of his adventures on the Mississippi, and as a western prospetor and of his childhood in Missouri, in order to concentrate on his writing life. But those early adventures spawned so many of his books, including stuff like Roughing It, Innocents Abroad and Life on the Mississippi, that it seems a shame to pass over them so quickly, especially since the period that he was most prolific was the period where he had the least adventures - when he was married with children and living a life of ease in his Connecticutt manor.
Really, I think to do Twain properly it should have been 3 episodes, rather than two, each covering about a 25 year span.
Eric | link
01:29 A.M., Monday, November 18th, 2002
I quit smoking out of spite.
You see my roommate decided to stop buying cigarettes, and so every couple of hours he'd come into my room and ask for one. Then his girlfriend would come home and he'd hit her up, and I'd hit him up for the cigarettes I felt owed and he would get them from her, and she'd be the one to suffer.
So I stopped buying cigarettes. Mostly to see the look on his face when he comes into my room and asks me for a smoke, and I say I quit, and he realizes he has no one to get cigarettes from most of the day.
I just started nic fitting. It hurts, but goddamn it, you should have seen his face.
Eric | link