I am so, so glad that I’m starting this blog now, instead of a few weeks (months?) ago when I was having a meltdown about “author branding.” I mean, I’m not even finished with the book yet – worrying about my “brand” would be putting the cart about a mile before the horse. There’ll be plenty of time for meltdowns later.
Anyway, if my revision progress chart is any indication, I’ll soon be done with draft 1.1 of what I’m currently calling Unlucky Creatures. Since I’ll probably be talking about it a lot here – I’m pretty sure my Facebook friends are getting sick of my periodic rewriting freakouts – I might as well give you a rough idea of what it’s about.
Unlucky Creatures is a story about a punk show in Brooklyn on Halloween a few years ago, with chapters alternating between three protagonists. The first is Lora, a twenty-year-old widow with a passion for old films who wants nothing more than to enjoy the Halloween show; unfortunately, she’d plagued by memories of her late fiance and his sudden death a year and a half earlier. The second protagonist is Laz, a young man who wakes up on a park bench with no memory of who or where he is. Following the instructions of a mysterious note in one of his pockets brings him to a small group of people who will also be attending the Halloween show. The people claim to be his friends, but Laz has the odd feeling that they know what’s going on but refuse to tell him. The third protagonist is Jack, an aging punk singer who leads the Halloween show’s main band, The Pandemonium Shadow Show. Jack is doing his best to hold the band together and keep his eyes focused on the future, but a confrontation with an otherworldly man in a yellow suit makes him wonder again why his former best friend and co-founder of the band, Spark, left the band ten years earlier and disappeared. All three protagonists, who encounter each other at various points throughout the day, are forced to confront the memories and mistakes they are running from and find a way to reconcile the present with the past. (Punks, ghosts, teleportation, other worlds, doppelgangers, a girl dressed as a cat, head injuries, mysterious pills, property destruction, trans-dimensional dickitry, stagedives, waltzing, and agents of despair also enter the mix. And then everything catches on fire.)
As the last two sentences might indicate, things tend to get a little wild in this book, so I’ve spent a lot of draft 1.1 trying to smooth out everything that works and ditch everything that doesn’t. Also, there were some major structural problems that some kind friends pointed out to me, so there’s been a lot of rewriting too. This is actually my fourth draft so far (the previous ones were the handwritten 0.1, typed up with small changes 0.2, and the oh my gods this has so many problems 1.0) and probably the first one with any really substantial changes; a lot of revising for 1.0 was just removing the bracketed meltdowns where I spilled all my self-doubt and loathing onto the page so I could get it out of my head and get on with the writing. So I’m really looking forward to finishing it and getting the chance to make another pass through the whole draft.
Well, that’s enough rambling for one post. If you made it to this point, thank you. Time to get back to work.