The bell has rung, the candle’s lit and book is being read. Next week, the last chapter of my FNAFiction, Everything Is All Right, Part Two: Mike Schmidt and the Long Night goes up and the week after that, Part Three: Children of Mammon premieres. Faithful followers of this blog should know by now that I have been scrambling like mad to get this third installment completed “on-time.” I’m not used to working under a deadline, and it’s already nerve-wracking to me to have to publish some parts of an epic work before all of it is written. It doesn’t help that the last, oh, fifty pages of Part Three were actually the fourth or fifth segment I wrote for the whole series, well before I had really hashed out my protagonist’s personality, so it ALL has to be smoothed out with extensive rewriting.
What I’m saying is, this last leg of the book is actually work and has been for a couple of months now. And yeah, I know, EVERY book turns into work sooner or later, and it should, frankly. I’m not one of those people who insists that everyone should do unpleasant things because they ‘build character,’ but let’s face it: we do not grow in heart or mind solely from experiencing only those things that make us feel good. I have never put out a perfect book. I have always found something that could have used more work–typos, continuity errors, rough spots, missed opportunities…God, the list of my common errors is longer than any of my books and my books are stupid long.
So while I was up here editing and trying to think how best to blog about the trials and tribulations of editing without sounding like a whiny bitch (did I do it? I didn’t do it, did I?), I tapped over to Facebook for a second and there before my eyes is a post my father made on that self-same subject. I told him I was going to steal it for my blog because it said everything I wanted to say, only much, much better, and here it is:
I write for pleasure as, I suspect, most folks do who choose to give tangible form to the visions that take shape in our imaginations. My daughters—who have been doing this much longer and more successfully than I, and who have been endlessly encouraging—warned me that even so pleasurable an activity as I find this can become very like work from time to time… hard work even.
But that was for them. They work hard at their craft. Me? I anticipated no reward beyond the exercise of my brain and the liberation of my imagination. For me it would be all larks and daisies! Hah!
There is the story, I have discovered; and the tale demands that I tell it well. True, nobody knows the actors more intimately than I; but do the dialogue and behaviors I have related both revealed their character to the reader and precluded interpretations that make them into something they’re not? Does their world flow naturally and consistently from the themes and threads of their actions, or is it contrived and forced. And is it consistent throughout? Can the tendrils of the final resolution be traced (if only retrospectively) throughout. And lastly, have all the fun-to-write but superfluous digressions been scrupulously culled, dumped unmercifully into an odds and end notes file, bits-and-pieces for future stories that I’m probably never going to write? That I discover is where the work comes in.
And that is where I find myself: tidying up the grand resolution to an epic fantasy trilogy. And I must tell you, friends: this is work!
So thanks, Dad. And on the subject of things that are work, faithful followers may also have noticed that I’ve pretty much done nothing BUT blog about chapter updates for months now. Believe it or not, that’s really disappointing to me. I want to blog more. Well, okay, ‘want’ is a strong word, but I realize that I should be blogging more and saying more than just, “Yo, next chapter’s up, go read it.”
I’ve been struggling with this for some time, wanting to get more blogging in but, frankly, unsure what to write about that anyone would want to read. In the past, I’ve done what I think of as ‘seminars’, a long-running series with a focus in some way or another on the craft of writing. Should I be doing more of that? I could talk forever about how a character’s name influences his or her personality or how to write tentacles into sex scenes or the fine line between possible and plausible in a fantasy setting or…Or should I be doing LESS of that?
I hesitate to write too much about my personal life. Most of the time, I don’t do anything apart from writing or talking to other writers about writing anyway. But is that what readers want to know about? Should I do a series on my favorite movies? If I go on a road trip, do you really want to hear about it? Last week, I went to Build-A-Bear with my sisters. Want to see a photo of my kickass battle-mammoth? Would you like to see pictures of the two kittens we got stuck with after rescuing them around Halloween? Would you like to adopt the two kittens we got stuck with after rescuing them around Halloween? For the love of God and Gann, won’t SOMEONE take a kitten? Do you want to know how long I cried after getting a wheelchair for a Christmas present, not because I didn’t want it, but because I knew I needed it? For serious now, what do YOU want me to blog about? Because I want to do it more often, but I want to do it for YOU. If you left it up to me, I’d never blog at all. Contradiction in terms as it may be, I am an outrageous introvert when left to my own devices. There are things I don’t want to talk about, things I will not talk about, but mostly it’s just a question of not knowing what to say.
For tonight, I have only this to say: The next-to-last chapter of my Five Nights at Freddy’s fanfiction is up on fanfiction.net and again over at archiveofourown.org, so go check it out and enjoy this excerpt.
Ana watched the world outside the window, all black trees and black hills on a black sky. Her stomach growled once, indifferent to human suffering. She never had gotten her dinner.
Mike turned off on Circle Drive, the heart of downtown Mammon, and that was something too, wasn’t it? Of all the pizzerias, this was the only one that wasn’t set down in the middle of nowhere. George W.M. Reynolds Elementary, where Ana and David had gone, was just five blocks east; Elizabeth Gaskell Middle School and Blackwood High, ten blocks south. Once upon a time, it had been surrounded by the sorts of shops that catered to kids, but they were all gone now, leaving nothing but their empty shells and signboards without letters. She could see the ghosts of Pop-In Video and the Book Bin (New & Used!), victims of the changing times and their own outdated media, perhaps, but she could also see what had once been a Gamer’s Paradise, a Comic Corner, a Maybe’s Candies, and even the hulking remains of a Toy Barn, also dead and gone. And right in the middle, alone now in a vast, cracked ocean of asphalt, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, just the way she remembered it, except…
“It’s smaller,” Ana said unthinkingly as Mike pulled up and parked. Smaller than she remembered, she meant. It had seemed huge to her that day—a castle, a fortress, a kingdom unto itself. Now it was just a building. One she had only ever put one foot inside.
But Mike couldn’t hear her thoughts. He said, “That it is. Less than half the size of the Toybox. What’s that tell you?”
“Bigger isn’t always better?”
“Yeah, my wife used to say that before she met me,” said Mike with a rare smile. “But funnily enough, bigger is usually better when it comes to the restaurant biz. More seats means more paying customers, after all. So it is odd that Faust would have scaled back, especially since the Toybox’s success proved he could handle a business twice this size.” He cocked an eye at her. “Thoughts?”
“It wasn’t about the money for him.”
“You don’t sound like you like it, though.”
“If it’s not about the money, what’s that leave? And I don’t believe that either.” Mike shoved a hand through his hair and looked at the building—a frustrated, baffled, beaten-down stare. “Even after everything I’ve seen and heard…and done…I just don’t have a handle on that kid. That kid,” he repeated with a self-deprecating laugh. “He was fifty when the Stockyard opened. Hell, he’s over seventy now and I still see him in my head as that grinning little kid with the fucking mouse-ears on. Naw, it’s not about the money. Partly because he’s so fucking rich, he could shit out a failing restaurant every year for the rest of his life and still make money, but mostly because it was never about the money when it came to Freddy Fazbear. I honestly believe he thought of this place as his last chance to do what he only ever really wanted…entertain people with the best animatronics in the world.”
“His last chance? But this wasn’t the last Fazbear’s.”
“No. But that’s getting ahead of the story. Christ, this is a long story.”