Okay, let’s get the bad stuff over with first:
I forgot I even sent Gorgon With the Wind to a publisher who had a call for modern takes on classic stories. But I must have because I received a form rejection for it last week.
Rejection Total: 176+1 = 177
Okay, now the next bit, the meat and potatoes of this post, if you will. I finally finished the latest novel. Cats And Rats clocks in at over 61000 words and it is pulp fiction at its finest (worst?). I started it as part of National Novel Writing Month, an American thing that has penetrated into some sections of the Australian writing community. I tried to finish it during the month if November, but I failed dismally, missing by 8 days. I had 50k words done by Nov 30, but the next 12k and the first edit came after that. As is the norm, it will now be put away until I’ve forgotten about it and decide to edit it.
It started with a very simple premise – I drew a picture some time ago of a rat-man and decided to write about them. But the fantasy setting made them way too clichéd, and so I struggled. Then I worked out that it needed a modern setting, so an urban fantasy/horror story was born.
To give you an idea of where it initially went, the working title was ‘Crazy Cat Lady’, and a whole bunch of crazy cat ladies make an appearance, and they turned out to be very important. By the time the story was fully formed I had pipes and a forest and stupid cops. I had the beginning, I had a middle scene and I had the ending all formed, so I just started to write, hoping to get from the beginning to the end via my other scene without too much trouble.
I sort of thought it’d be a long novella (short novel?), around 40k words. The story was pretty flimsy at best, the characters didn’t really grow that much, and it was all by the numbers in what happened. But as I wrote it I realised that I had so much stuff in my head that it was going to be longer than I thought. Every chapter had something happen in it, it moves along at a not too bad pace and if the characters are 2-dimensional stereotypes, so be it. It’s the story and the ride.
This novel is, in fact, truly mediocre. But that’s okay, because I have read so much “professional” stuff that is truly mediocre, including from several multi-national huge publishing companies. So maybe mediocre is what they look for today. (Insert winking smiley here ;-)…)
Okay, here’s a brief excerpt:
“Please. I assure you, I am not crazy,” he tried.
Joseph saw a small, fur-covered, long-fingered hand grasp the edge of the stairwell. He opened his mouth but the words stuck in his throat. Instead, all he could do was point with a trembling finger. The lawnmower man shook his head and looked down with contempt.
With a speed that terrified Joseph three hands all reached up and grabbed the lawnmower man where they could, and then pulled down hard and just as fast. He lost his balance and tumbled from view in the blink of an eye, his scream ending with a very wet, echoing thud, the light from his torch switching off at the same time.
But it was only when the head arose from the darkness, sniffing at the air, that Joseph moved.
The small eyes set on him and narrowed, and he threw himself out of the door, then shoved it shut behind him. His trembling hands caused him to fumble too often and there was no need to guess just what the solid thing that slammed into the door from the inside was.