Other, better folks than I have dealt with all that has happened over the past year — the political chaos that only thickens, the deaths of many generational idols, the whole bit. Me, I'm trying to stay focused. Here's some rundown on the what-it-is on my end:
I took a short break over the holiday week from the draft of the project and turned instead to the outline and the notes, as the plot mechanics in the second half of the book had changed drastically since I started. It's another example of how a story changes in the details when you actually begin writing it, and how those details feed back into the themes and construction, and in the end make it a better piece of work. I think I now have a better, if not totally iron, grasp on what is meant to happen and how, and to what end. I plan on spending January workingto push the first draft to completion.
The other thing I plan to do in January is finally kick off some marketing for this book, delayed for over a year by my attempts to find representation for it. No dice, but it wasn't the rejections alone that annoyed me; it was the glacial pace required to get an answer from agents. A guy could get old waiting for someone to say yes. So I'm putting it out there on my own once again, but using some modern promotional tools to drum up attention for it. More on that when those particular gears begin to turn.
I have no idea what I'm going to work on next. A lot of that is simple apprehension about the future — I think we're all in the same "what the hell now?" boat — but I have a few ideas which I will treat here in a non-spoiler-y way:
A resurrection of a much older idea I had, something I attempted to write when I was in my mid-twenties and which never did see completion because I didn't know what the hell I was doing at the time. Probably a good thing the manuscript didn't survive; I would have been royally unhappy with it. Now, at this point, I think I could do justice to the idea — and fuse it with a bunch of other things from current events. Pieces still missing with this, but far fewer of them than there have been in a long time, a sign it's accruing and coming near critical mass.
The idea I had been mulling before I started work on Always Outnumbered, namely The Palace of the Red Desert. Still pieces missing from that one, too, which was why I shelved it. Plans are on the table to come back to it when I can figure out what it's really meant to be — it's something that was inspired by Yasushi Inoue's Tun-huang, but I couldn't figure out how to make it do more than just live in the shadow of that work. It needed a life of its own.
I spent a fair amount of time working on Mercury, a blogging system that I will eventually be using to replace Movable Type. I've already replaced Movable Type on Ganriki.org (my anime blog), and user Mercury to power the blog that discusses the application itself. I'm still missing a few pieces that would allow me to make the leap over the fence, but we're getting there, if slowly.