Prescience for the new year

I was in the middle of editing today (yeah, work for me doesn’t really stop for the holidays, but I enjoy it, so hey) when out popped a short story of my very own. I guess other writers who’ve dabbled with editing (or even while reading other’s work) would feel this occasionally, but I just wanted to write something *better* than what was in front of me.

I think I did. It’s a shortish short story entitled Prescience – a slipstream piece with a dark bent.

The other day I was prompted to explain how Clarion South affected me as a writer. My response to that was fairly lengthy, but the short answer is Clarion made me a polished and professional writer. The first draft of Prescience proved that to me today. Normally when I churn out a story so quickly, I think it’s the best thing ever and rush to submit it, with the inevitable rejection following. The other thing Clarion and the remainder of this year has given me, to some extent, is the patience (enforced patience) to work further on the story for several more drafts before it is sent out. With that in mind, I won’t be touching Prescience again for a while (a few days, maybe a week or two) to give me the distance to revise it properly. Right now, I think it’s spot on. A few days may give me a slightly more realistic opinion, or else prove I was right in the first instance. Either way, it’s all good.

I also picked up the news that the fine folks at Conjure (g’day Kate and Heather) have organised a novel pitch with Stephanie Smith at HarperCollins.

To date I’ve been focussing on my near-finished dark/supernatural action thriller novel, Harbinger (and it’s sequels), but time and again it’s been shown that except for Lothian’s recent call for horror novels, that sort of thing doesn’t get picked up in Australia. 2006 will see me change my tactics a little.

2006 will be my year of the novel. Scratch that, my year of the many novels (at least writing the dang things). The other thing Clarion proved to me was my proficiency. I surprised myself at how quickly I can turn out a decent quality novelette – in one night (the legendary debut of Yamabushi Kaidan!)

Harbinger will be one of two primary projects to be completed and sent for a) the next Lothian Books/Time Warner Australia mid-year call for horror novels, and/or b) to a number of UK and US publishers. Maybe even an agent or two, especially now I have a track record of some description.

However, 2006 for me will be the year of Yamabushi Kaidan! The heavy-hearted monk atop the Autumn mountain will be in for a series of epic adventures. First I’ve polished The Smoke Dragon and (now, in the middle of) The Ghost of Musashi (with giant toad!), with a strict schedule for the completion of the rest of his adventures – Yamabushi Kaidan and … the Snow Mother; The Black Ninja; The Iron Bear; The Twin Blades; The Arrows of Reiko; The Circle of Tears; and Salvation’s Last Stand.

The final installment could possibly be renamed ‘Yamabushi Kaidan: Destroy All Monsters!’ but Godzilla took that first! 😉

So what the hell am I talking about – The Adventures of Yamabushi Kaidan, of course! A serialised novel. Hopefully to be pitched at HarperCollins.

Aside from The Adventures of Yamabushi Kaidan and Harbinger, I’m hoping to work on novelisations of two of my best short stories – the now internationally published Sobek’s Tears, and the previously unpublished (although it’s with the WOTF crew) and significantly expanded Singing in Prague, which will be novelised under the working title Society of the Dreamer. There’s also my George RR Martin-esque stand-alone fantasy novel concept, The Battle of Iron Gate, plus the end to the Harbinger trilogy (and the even excellenter, if such a word exists, prequel).

Busy year mapped out. Even if I don’t complete all of these, just finishing one or two (Harbinger and Yamabushi Kaidan) will be a tremendous achievement in my book. It’s a damn good thing my editing commitments will be eased considerably early in the new year (once Australian Dark Fantasy & Horror is handed over).

I’ve enjoyed every second I’ve spent editing this year (although there has been a fair amount of blood, sweat, and more blood), but it will be good with a reduced load next year. I kinda like having my name on the covers of books, especially ones I’ve written myself.

Speaking of writing and blood and suchforth, I was invited to participate in a ‘Writing Horror Fiction’ panel at the next Swancon. I think that’s kinda cool, especially on top of Ju’s invite to do a ‘Comedy in Horror’ panel at Fandomedia last month. It seems I may yet make a name for myself. A nice sentiment on which to finish up the year.

Goodbye 2005, you’ll be missed.