Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Long Con

After setting up for myself the impossible-sounding goal of writing a novel a month, I changed my mind this summer. Partially because I've just been way too busy with a number of more immediately pressing projects, but also because I've been chewing over exhortations from fans to write longer novels.

I know, I know, the whole point of this was to write pulp fiction, right? Short. Sweet. Punchy. In and out. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am, now go buy the next one. Classic dime novel headspace. Immediacy, action, results. But you know what? I'm going to give non-brevity a stab. Some of the short novels I've been working on all year are going to end up being long novels, doorstop-sized tomes that the kids of today seem to love. [Update, 12-30-2017: It didn't happen. Undomesticated is about the same length as my usual novels!]

One of those novels is The Tract of Blood, a sort-of sequel to The Moleskin Checklist. Another is the "great American werewolf novel" I've been hinting at since last winter. It's called Undomesticated, and concerns a Florida funeral home director who gradually becomes aware that werewolves, for lack of a better word, walk among us. But are they the classic horror-movie werewolves, or something more akin to zombies or... feral humans?

Of course, writing stupidly longer novels takes time. It took Ralph Ellison almost his entire lifespan to write two novels and they weren't even particularly large ones. And time is a luxury I scarcely remember these days, what with all the other little nothings I do that hopefully add up to something. But I've always held to the maxim that when you find you have bitten off more than you can chew, increase your effort and bite off even more.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I must go feed the cats.

- - Jeffrey Scott Holland, The Everglades, Florida, 10-29-2015.