I’m starting to doubt this book. As I approach the 100 page mark this is when things start getting fuzzy. I’m questioning the plot decisions I’ve made so far. I’m wondering what I was even thinking starting this book. And I’m wondering why I should even bother finishing it. I’m distracted by short stories and other novels I want to write and I’m wondering if there will even be a market for books by the time I finish it. None of this is new. I felt this way during the very first draft of Lunchbox Hero. I felt this way during the first page one rewrite. And the second page one rewrite. And the third. Etc. It will most likely happen again as I get near the halfway mark and then again as I approach the end. I don’t know what it is with 100 page chunks that do this do me but there you have it. This is when I have to plow through the concerns to get to the end and then look at the big picture objectively.

I do wonder about the market for PI fiction in the near future though. I started reading it during the early 1990s wave which has pretty much petered out by now. I’ve thought about instead, writing a standalone noir book like Duane Swierczynski or Victor Gischler or Sean Doolittle and trying to ride their new wave but that’s not where my heart is, not right now. I love PI fiction and I want to write and publish my own take on my favorite genre. That won’t ebb or flow with the market.

Either my book will be published because PI fiction has suddenly become vogue again or I will struggle to find a major publisher for it and then go to smaller houses like Poison Pen or Point Blank. If Dave White can get his act together and get his book revised properly maybe we can lead a new PI renaissance. We’ve already got guys like Harry Hunsicker and Michael Koryta out there on the front lines. If the book I’m currently writing won’t sell I’ll write another PI novel. Maybe it will feature the same PI, maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll have a better idea by then. But I can almost guarantee that the first book I publish will be a PI novel. Unless I get the Chick Lit novel done first, of course.

10 thoughts on “

  1. I’ve gone through similar doubts, and somehow you have to just find a way to push through. Short stories can be distracting, as can reading. Writing a novel involves generating so many ideas that it’s very easy to get excited with the newer ones in favour of the old.But writing a novel is a long term proposition, one that you just have to stick with. Follow the stuff that you love, and don’t worry about the new wave.I think you told me something similar just the other week. 🙂

  2. I think there’s always a market for good writing. And there’s nothing wrong with starting small – you can break very big later – look at Lyn Anderson (?) is it, who put out three books with a small publisher that just got scooped up by a large publisher as part of a 6-book deal? Someone more knowledgable on the business side of things can set that straight. I can’t find the news article in the Scotsman archives.

  3. I’m going to paraphrase something Martin Amis once said in an interview about the novel. (Okay, it was an interview with me, but I’m sure he’d said it a million times). “People have been saying the novel was dead since Don Quixote, yet there it is sitting up in bed the next morning, taking some soup.” I’ve got a file of rejection letters from 1995 from editors who said the female PI novel was over. You’ve got middle blues. Keep going. (True story: I’m listening to the “country” genre on shuffle and it just started playing “Hang In There, Superman.” A sign!)

  4. I don’t get that you’re writing for the money. God knows there’s not a lot of it, and there are easier ways to get it.Obviously, it’s the love of the words, and the love of the story. If it’s good, and I have no doubts that it will be, it will find a home, either as a published work, or as grist for the mill of the next book you write.There will always be room for good writing, and I doubt the PI genre is going away any time soon. Just power on through and you’ll be fine.

  5. Well, no, the P.I. genre is here to stay, and so is PWA, those very nice folks who gave me a Shamus. Bless them. Nobody’s been very nice to me since then, so I’m having a crisis, too. Not liking the editorial comments on my next one drove me to despair this morning. Not getting my latest story right after working on it for more than 2 months is another problem. And the novel I’m writing, well I’m bogging down at page 527, with another 200 pages to go. I’m in deeper shit than you, Bryon.

  6. Trends? The PI novel is a trend? I didn’t know. Honestly. Frankly, I’ve gotten so much done in my life because I was naive. It’s the way to go. Just a couple of weeks ago I learned that short story submissions are supposed to start half way down on the first page. No clue why. I always started at the top (or nearly so). I’ve published a half dozen of them in the last couple of years anyway. The thing is – keep your eyes on the writing, forget the trends, the rules, those things that distract you. Send out good material to enough places and someone’s bound to take it.

  7. LOL, Steven! Me, too. I start about a third of the way down. Looks better to me. They’re fools, those people who make up silly rules.

  8. Write what you enjoy, Bryon, without thought of publication. I know, I’m the world’s biggest hack, ghosting novels for people who can’t write anything bigger than a check, but I’ve never put my name on something I didn’t like.Fuck publication. If you write well, that will be enough, and if the story is good, you’ll find your audience.I haven’t sold more than 1200 copies of Beneath A Panamanian Moon, but am I proud of the novel? You bet your ass I am.Keep working.

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