Welcome to my worlds!

I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Choosing what novel to write: an interlude

When I started this series of blogs, I thought that by the time I reached the final post, I'd have, you know, figured out what book I'm going to write next. And, I'm really, really leaning toward one of them. But, whenever I sit down to announce my choice, I find myself still not quite there.

These are some of the criteria for my choice:

1. Excitement. How passionate am I about the idea? How energized to I feel thinking about it?

2. Importance. Do I actually have something important to say? This can actually be very much in conflict with excitement. It's easy to get excited about a cool, grand idea that's ultimately kind of pointless and hollow. On the other hand, you can feel like you have something important to say, and dread the thought of putting it to paper, because you know you're going to get it wrong, and the big, vital thing you're going to say is going to seem small, or obvious, or else get misunderstood and twisted until people think you've said the exact opposite of what you meant to say.

3. Will it sell? I won't lie to you. I've had some real duds economically. I personally prefer Greatshadow to Bitterwood by a pretty wide margin. But, Bitterwood has outsold Greatshadow by a huge, huge margin. I like writing quirky, funny novels that don't take themselves too seriously. But, so far, the reading public seems more willing to shell out dough for my more serious ideas over my goofier ones, even if my goofier ideas are, in my opinion, better executed and more in line with my world view. Maybe I should go with an idea that isn't introduced to potential readers as "really weird."

4. Will it help me grow artistically? I've never wanted to build a career writing the same books again and again. I try to do something I've never done before with every book I write. But, at this point, I've written a dozen novels. Figuring out what I haven't tried before is tougher than it was six books back.

I could try something really radical. Like, why do I only write one book at a time? Maybe I could structure my writing schedule in such a way that I could be writing two books at once by interchanging writing days.

The thought's intriguing, but I suspect I won't go there. I value my sanity.

I've already discussed how these pros and cons apply to the books under consideration in my previous posts, but I thought it would be nice to consolidate all my thoughts here. It wasn't my intention to leave people hanging. In writer time, once I start my next book, I'll be living with it for probably half a year. I know I'm not starting it until June. So, I'm not yet at any sort of real deadline to force me into a choice. But, the calendar pages keep on flipping. Hopefully, next post, a decision.

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