I’m happiest writing novels. I take a long time to get to the point and the length of a novel allows me time to develop my characters and discuss some things I want to talk about. I also like writing children’s books but I haven’t really gotten serious about that. Sometimes I pull out this kid’s book I’m writing and spend an hour trying to fruitlessly write rhyming couplets about an escaped lab rat and his many adorably earth-scorching peccadilloes. Nothing rhymes with ‘lasers.’
Right now I am actually writing a story for a smartphone app. (The website is not scheduled for development until December, I think.) Being a nerd who hangs out with other nerds in the silicon hills of Austin, I am frickin’ hip deep in computer programmers. You can’t throw a geek in this town without hitting another geek. Some of us came up with an idea for how to exploit smartphone technology to tell stories in a new and interesting way. So we’re trying it out.
I have been pinky-sworn to secrecy for another couple months while the code monkeys do their thing, so I can’t talk to much about it. Which is fine because this is the kind of thing that people think sounds really lame until you roll out with it. I’m really interested to see how the final product will turn out. Should be cool. Even if I’m the only one that ever downloads it.
Pain in the ass to write, though. Think about Fallout or World of Warcraft . Someone had to plot out all the adventures and come up with a million different ways for the story to turn out. Someone had to write the dialog. That’s what I’m doing these days and it’s crazy making. It’s tricky and it goes much slower than I would expect because I keep having to go back and rewrite bits so they makes sense with all the possibly plot variations.
I would like to try screenwriting at some point. I have some ideas that would really only work as a television show or in a movie. Plus, I lurvs me some time with the television. I like to think of all the time I spend staring at it as research for the day in which I actually do something creative in that media. Also, I’m dying for an excuse to hit all the film festivals they have here in Austin: Fantastic Fest, Austin Film Fest, and SXSW are just the headliners. There’s tons of film-related fun to be had without leaving the area.
Unfortunately, I have a backlog of projects to work on right now and I refuse to let myself mess with screenwriting until I get more comfortable writing novels. One thing at a time is what I’m telling myself.
A year or two ago, I wrote half a dozen short stories that are, apparently, awful. I’ve yet to have a publisher do more than turn up their noses and send me form letter rejections. J.J. Adams actually asked me to submit something for Lightspeed magazine and then rejected the first two stories I sent him. I didn’t send any more because I figured if he didn’t like those, he wouldn’t like the others. That’s how bad they are, I guess. But, hey, that’s why there are many forms of fiction. And if you don’t find one that suits you, you can do what I’m doing right now and make up a whole new one.