A few revision passes of The Monster in the Mirror have got that in a reasonable state. I’ll set it aside for a few more weeks before looking at it again. A short break in the meanwhile, with maybe some considering the character arcs from Glyphmaster, and listing other things in need of attention when I get to revising that. I might take a run at it before returning to The Monster in the Mirror.
Further ahead, there’s a couple of shorter pieces to revise at some point, and then I need to get back to Dwimmerfall. Probably a light revision of the first two parts before planning out the third. That will probably take some time.
While I do have a couple of other things planned beyond that (including the next in the series after The Monster in the Mirror), I do need to consider whether to carry on along my current path. Fantasy and Science Fiction are the genres to which I feel most attracted, but I’m not sure my writing style is really suited to them. I tend towards the sparse, and worry that I’m maybe not giving enough detail to satisfy readers. Maybe I’d be better suited to writing thrillers.
Not that my existing thrillers sell much better than my other stuff, but I’m wondering about focussing on those for a while. The first novel I wrote, The Paragon Protocols, was an espionage thriller, though I never published it. I’ve been meaning to go back to it at some point, and have been considering fixes recently, so maybe I’ll have a tinker with it.
It’s related to Allegiances, though only in setting rather particular characters, and I had rough plans for where the setting/series could go, but they’ve changed slightly. Originally I’d intended an espionage series that verged on super science, with a hint of the excesses of some of the Bond movies in that direction. But in writing Paragon Protocols I found myself grounding it more than intended, so the immediate planned sequel just felt too different to fix.
Not that it’s ultra-realistic spy stuff. It’s still more action movie territory. And it’d probably have a large cast that would weave in and out, rather than a fixed central character (I have plans for some of the characters from Allegiances, but haven’t got around to writing them yet).
Even without the shifting genre, I’ve been considering trying a more ongoing series. Not sure it quite fits my sensibilities, though. I might get tired writing the same characters over and over, so they’d need to be planned well to begin with, leaving enough space for them to grow.
Or not grow, simply be the fulcrum of the story. I’ve been reading some of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books recently, which I’ve enjoyed. Reacher doesn’t really change, serving as pretty much a plug-and-play protagonist who stumbles into plots. His backstory can be summed up in a few paragraphs, so just connect him with a reason to stay involved and you’ve got a protagonist with whom existing readers already have a bond. Cuts out the hassle of building it anew every time.
Even from cold, Reacher is easy enough to relate to. I’m reluctant to say due to lack of depth, but it obviously came to mind. The few times he has emotional reactions actually feel kind of odd.
Not that him being a cipher hurts the stories. The craft is good enough to hold the interest without requiring the central character to undergo any change. Which isn’t necessary for a story anyway, though it seems to be expected in novel length works. But if you’re writing a series, there’s only so much growth a character can really be exposed to before it becomes too repetitive.
This can be a problem for TV shows especially. Those where characters have to experience an emotional arc every episode, and learn something from it. That level of constant emotional turmoil can’t be healthy. Most such characters should probably be committed after a few years, to get them away from sadistic writers.
So I tend to doubt I’d be able to write a series with a single main protagonist. More of an ensemble piece might work.
Once I’ve cleared my current workload enough to be able to think properly about it, and not let my mind ramble as it has just now.
Not until next year, then.
Seasons greetings, if you’re into that kind of thing.