HIGH, Part 7

Welcome to the seventh and final part of How I Got Here. Our journey began in 1992 with a series of Arthur C. Clarke books and is about to end with my latest writing project.

Ah, the latest writing project! So it’s finally come to that, has it? All right, here we go. In late June of 2008, I got yet another idea for a book project. Not counting all those video editing books, I essentially had to my name two near and dear writing projects. First: the completely out-of-my-league, never-gonna-start-let-alone-finish, epic, two-brazillion word fantasy novel. Second: the funny “diet” book.

“Hmmm,” I thought to myself. People seem to like my writing style and humor. Perhaps that is my only superpower. “Hmmm,” this other book is really serious. I mean, I’d worked on maps, invented alphabets and languages, spun alternate histories, and created many, many megabytes worth of backstory. I had (what I thought, and still think) is a pretty cool idea. But the pace (or lack of it) was killing me.

“Hmmm,” I thought to myself. What if I dispensed with all that seriousness? What if I just went with the flow and combined some of my humor writing with some of my fantasy novel inklings? Because if the whole thing was supposed to be humorous, whole new worlds would open up to me. I could drop all the haughty pretense and just do … well, do whatever I wanted. If it didn’t have to be serious, I wouldn’t have to “waste” a lot of time on onerous backstory work. I could just write and be free. This sounded perfect.

The title of the book came to me immediately. (The title of the book will come to you all in good time.) The book itself began with an interesting idea. Have you ever seen the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? If you haven’t seen it, go see it. Like, right now. I’ll wait.

Insert Jeopardy theme music here. . .

Wasn’t that a great movie? In case you didn’t notice, it was a loose retelling of Homer’s Odyssey. I decided to do something similar. Except I took three completely different and unrelated stories and worked on retelling them in a traditional, stereotypical fantasy setting. Even better (or worse?) these three stories, if looked at as a contiguous whole, formed a fourth, complete overarching story.

This sounded like fun.

So I set to work on the details, and then a bit of backstory work. Of course, the stories require a setting, and that meant maps. And what’s a good fantasy story without some kind of crazy runes or ancient script. And you need some fake history to make it seem real. That means lands, and kings, and wars, and lots and lots of solid backstory and . . .

Aw crap. I’m doing it again. Can’t I just keep it simple for once?

So by January of 2009 I said, “Okay, enough’s enough. Start writing, stupid.” And I did. I wrote fairly regularly until mid February. I almost reached the 10,000 word mark in the manuscript when I hit a wall. The story was going nowhere. The writing was terrible. It wasn’t funny at all. Ugh.

Plus, I was spending just about every precious spare minute of free time on this blog. I began to get doubly discouraged. My now-sixteen year old goal of finally writing a real book was falling apart—again.

About a month later I rebooted things. Undaunted, I threw out basically everything I had before, except for the main characters and general setting. I disposed of the 3+1 story retelling idea and instead picked a completely different story as a model (for some reason I still wanted to stick with that approach). Then around a month later, I completely disposed of that as a completely original story began to take shape.

So I then spent the rest of April and all of May, June, and July on this new foundation. Posts here grew few and far between. One or two of you actually noticed. 🙂 Then at last, on August 1, 2009, I stepped back, looked at my large pile of notes and said, “That’s enough. Start writing, stupid.”

And I did. I wrote about a thousand words that first day. On the next day, five thousand. As of last night, the manuscript was up to 18,418 words. But it’s more than just that, because I think I have some good characters, a believable backstory, and a story arc that’s currently planned to span five books.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the humorous fantasy book. It’s not funny. And by that I don’t mean, “I’m trying to be funny and it isn’t.” You see, as I began typing, regular old distinctly non-goofy words just came out. Hmmm… okay, let’s just see what happens. I don’t want to force anything. That’s been a big problem for me in the past. So I’m just going to go with the flow. After all, what else can I do?

I know by now at least three of you want to know the title, the plot, and all that pertinent info. Unfortunately, I’m not at the ‘reveal’ point just yet. But fear not. I didn’t bring you all this far just to leave you high and dry, so I’ll give you the opening paragraph.

It’s an image, because I don’t want search engines grabbing it. And I’ve changed the main character names to just Bob and she to protect the innocent. I only hope you don’t have to wait years and years and years to see it published. But mostly because I don’t want to wait that long either.

So without further ado, click here. It’s not much, but let me know what you think.

15 Responses to “HIGH, Part 7”

Diane, Fit to the Finish said
September 11, 2009 at 5:52 am

I liked the first page a lot. It left me wondering what was coming next!

Shelley B said
September 11, 2009 at 5:53 am

It’s great, Charlie! I wanted to keep reading – so please keep writing! Let us know when we can pre-order on Amazon!

Michelle said
September 11, 2009 at 6:10 am

You have me hooked Charlie! Keep on writing and I’ll keep checking here to see when it’s closer to being published.

MarkL said
September 11, 2009 at 9:17 am

Wow… That’s frustrating… Now that I have read that, I want to keep going, to find out what’s happening… and I can’t…

Maybe it’s because I read the blog and have seen some of your writing style before, but that sample really did draw me in. Which is amazing for such a small amount of information.

Thanks for the sample. I am really looking forward to this now and if you don’t finish it we will all be disappointed 🙂

Quix said
September 11, 2009 at 2:27 pm

I like! Good luck with the rest. 😉

    Charlie said
    September 11, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Yeah, that’s the tricky part, ain’t it?

Sagan said
September 11, 2009 at 3:41 pm

You leave me wanting more! It’s enough to grab my attention.

Going with the flow is all you really CAN do. And sometimes its good to let the book sit quietly for a little while.

TexasDeb said
September 12, 2009 at 10:37 am

Dang it, Charlie! I was trusting in some sort of newsletter alert or something to let me know when you were posting again and here it is September and I missed most of your August. Yay for Lars and her AFA (all friends alert) that you were back at the keyboard again.

Anyway…. Happy for your umptyeth productive start, first page drew me right in, and I now join the others in wanting MORE. Stat!

AND yes I guess I WILL (*sigh!*) check in here ALL ON MY OWN since the feedy things don’t seem to want to cooperate with me being lazy and letting them TELL ME when you’ve posted again. Oh, voice activated post finder, where art thou?! I want that AND my jetpack. NOW.

Anonymous said
September 12, 2009 at 11:04 am

I’m routing for Bob. Hope he makes it out of his troubles. I’ll stay tuned.

bobbie said
September 13, 2009 at 8:21 am

Well you got me interested? Can’t wait to read more! Thanks for sharing .

OctoRhino said
September 17, 2009 at 9:49 pm


Your prettier sister said
September 22, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Hi Charlie! I like the first bit of your book, will I be lucky enough to read the rough draft before publishing again??

Anne (Happy Fun Pants) said
September 23, 2009 at 9:35 am

I have been meaning to write this for a long time as you are STILL on my Google Reader. 🙂

I liked what I read…and I hope you know that you *are* talented. I’d love to ask you some questions offline on how you got started and what specific steps you took to submit your stuff for book publishers if you have time. 🙂

SusanGL said
September 23, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Glad to be reading that which you are writing. I truly enjoy hearing your voice in your words. Keep it going. And enjoy it. That will show.

JohnGL said
September 24, 2009 at 7:20 am

It looks like you are going to release it for the Kindle. 🙂

You are one of the most talented and gifted people I know and I ask that you remember all of us little people when you (finally) strike it rich!