Patrick E. McLean : Just what it says on the tin.

Having Had a Fire Lit Under My Ass…

Most of you probably know of the passing of my friend and collaborator PG Holyfield. A short, brutal battle with cancer has deprived us of his presence and his future creations. But that’s not all it has done. It has scared the shit out of me. And it has lit a fire under my ass. I’ve screwed around too long. Primarily because I was laboring under some really stupid assumptions.

  1. I could do everything.
  2. I had enough time.

Neither of these things are true. For anybody. We are all on borrowed time. Sure, sure, the birth of my son was a good excuse to slow up. Yeah, yeah, the vagaries of freelance work can throw you off. But I’ve used them as dodges and excuses too long.

I’ll share the full story of it later, but for now, just know that I am cranking. As the new progress meters will show.

A Life of Crime (Novels)

Year to date, I’ve written 167,000 words of fiction. For the last two months I’m averaging over 1000 words a day. My goal is another 110,000 words (new words, not rewrites or edits) before the end of the year. Which will bring my output to 270,000 words. What are these words about you ask? Crime.

I’m writing a series of crime novels and novellas. It is a departure from the kind of spec fic satire I have written before. I would place them squarely in the thriller genre. There’s a few reasons for this, none of them I fully understand. It’s a disingenuous asshole who says he or she is fully in charge of his or her talent. You show up and work. The muse gives what she gives. I just work here.

These are inspired by the Parker Novels by Richard Stark. I read all twenty-five of them. And I wanted more. They are crisply plotted and refreshingly non-sentimental. I can’t claim to have written a Parker, or even a pastiche thereof, but I’ve got a hell of a yarn going. And Stark/Westlake’s ability to alternate between comedic novels and gripping thrillers has inspired me as well.

My plan is to get five 30-50,000 word novellas in the can and launch them in quick succession. But since my first 50k novella has turned into a 70,000 word novel, I can’t fully claim control. (see also, you can’t push the muse around.)

My plan is to launch them like Netflix drops seasons of television. I got the idea from a post by Hugh Howey about the Liliana Nirvana Technique. My target for this is the end of the year. Maybe in time for Christmas.

Plans for How to Succeed in Evil

After that, I’m going to go back to ‘Evil. I’ve outlined a lovely story about a Batman type hero v. Edwin that is going to be just awesome. And my plan is to re edit the first book into three novellas (it is structured like that anyway) and relaunch them. I’ve got gobs and gobs of ideas for little stories that don’t fit in books and I think shorts, one after another, are the best thing to do with the series. What do you think?

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