– the care and feeding of a sequel
What makes a writer? It’s not the fact that you are forever considered weird by people who don’t <cough> have that urge, it’s not that you have a published book and can now write it on your resumé, it’s not even the right to brag at dinner parties when people ask you what you do.
It’s simple. You write. On those days (and there will be many) when the words seem to dry up like laundry on low-humidity days, when the white space of the paper laughs at your audacity, when you’re sick and you’re tired of having to rake the coals of your imagination over the fires of your neuroses, you simply… write a sentence. And another. Trust me, they do add up after a while.
So in the interests of preserving my questionable sanity while I sit here praying for the miracles to happen, while the weather is dire and cold and I have nothing else to distract me except Facebook and YouTube, I have been researching and writing sketches for Quantum Demonology, The Sequel.
I thought that would never happen. I though that story as it stands is perfectly rounded, finished and tied with a satin bow. Until I caught the loophole staring me in the face in the last chapter. I can’t tell you why it’s there any more than I can tell you why I wrote the entire story.
I just did.
But at the time and even today, I wondered whether this would be a fluke idea. Would this be it – would I get one good story idea in my life as a writer and then languish a career away by beating a thoroughly dead horse to Amazon and beyond?
Some long time ago, I had a strange and disturbing dream that basically gave me the skeleton of the plot in the QD sequel on a platter, including the antagonist’s name. As writers do, I wrote it down in one of my ever-present notebooks. And then – also as writers do – I promptly forgot about it. The time wasn’t right, the moment not yet, the idea too much of an embryo to survive in the wilds of my imagination.
But all this time later, that cauldron of creativity bubbles away. Since I don’t have anything else to distract me (apart from a massive backlog of overdue reviews, which sounds suspiciously like work, that curse of the thinking classes), since I sit in the Waiting Room for the crazy train to depart, I might as well… be a writer. And write.
Or research, which is also a great excuse not to write. I have a few key locations in place, I have a cast of characters, I even have a new one to fall in love with, as all writers must. I have bookmarks of real estate sites for some of the locations, and I’ve even pinned a few to Google Earth so I can at least get the geography right. I have, as I said, a skeleton of a plot. Actually, it would be more correct to state I have two femurs, a ribcage and a shoulder bone with which to construct it. I’ll locate the rest of those 202 bones as I go.
Only now, the ante is up. Anyone who loves and reads the original book will want to continue their immersion into the world of Dev and his attitude problem. Certain expectations must be met, certain conditions fulfilled, all of them combined adding up to a textbook case of action paralysis that never plagued me during the first draft of Quantum Demonology, because back then, it was just for fun, three readers and the Resident Buttkicker I lived with and read to at the time who never did find out how that story ended.
Tell me my life depends on my prose and my muse will clam up faster than an oyster in New Orleans. Tell me it’s just a game, just for fun, what-the-hey, just give me what you’ve got and do whatever you have fun with, and my muse plants his toothsome derrière in my windowsill to breathe fire on my page, and curls up behind me at night. (We single gals take our thrills where we find them!)
So I’ll just pretend… it’s you and it’s me here. No expectations, no heavy-handed reputation to live up to, just a little fun and games.
Now, let me take you away… to the nighttime cesspits of Hollywood, the sidewalks of New York and a house in Ditmas Park, to a world of extremes, to another writer with too much to prove and an aging rock star who needs a reboot, to a drummer who wants to sell his soul and a woman in mortal peril. Next, let me tell you about the monster who unites them all…
See you there?