Okay. The first draft of Lulu and the Constellations is in the bucket. Deep breath.
That was a non-figurative deep breath. When I went to bed last night, around 1:50 (that is, about five minutes after I put the last word down), I definitely felt like something had unpinched from my lungs. Maybe part of me was worried that I'd never finish this thing, and I had finally let out the half a breath I'd been holding for most of the year. At any rate, it was probably the most satisfying night's sleep I've had in months.
People have actually asked me actual questions on an actually frequent basis, so it's time for the ever-rare and always-treasured AFAQ:
So are you going to get it published now?
In the immortal and ever-applicable words of Q-Tip: Let's focus on appeal / before we get a deal / c'mon. I'm not being modest when I say this manuscript is in a fuck of a state—characters' voices are all over the place, motivations need shoring up, gun/mantelpiece continuity must be established, fat must be trimmed, parts of it are plain boring, there are at least three missing scenes, etc. etc. It's a done book, but it ain't a GOOD book, not yet; there's a lot of work needs doing before it will be.
Once I've rinsed all the suck out... Sure. Probably. After I've got the rest of the series at least mostly done.
Can I read it?
Here's the thing: I really want feedback on this thing, but I don't want to waste the time of the people who'll have the most useful things to say about it. Because I can SEE a lot of things that need fixing, and I won't learn anything if my beloved peeps spend all their time telling me about the really broken shit I'm already aware of. So I think I need to at least revise the most glaring structural and textural issues out of it before I show it to anybody. (Aside: You know the things they say about "technical debt," about how sometimes you have to make things harder for your future self if you want to keep moving when the going gets weird? It holds for book-length prose as well as software, I think.)
On the other hand, I've never done this before, so I might be making a huge mistake and sabotaging myself by holding it so close to my vest for so long. You guys all know things; any thoughts about this?
What's it about?
So, have you ever walked around a corner and had this sudden crawling feeling that you've been there before? Like a déjà vu of urban space?
It's about that. And loneliness, and friendship, and family secrets, and conspiracies, and homesickness, and music, and wanting to live your life amazed. But it all kicks off from that, the feeling that the walls between here and there have somehow suddenly thinned, and if you close your eyes and just jump, you might—
Did you say "series?"
Yeah, it's at a stop point, but it's not actually done. There's at least one and possibly two more books to go.
There's a zoom-out effect I'm looking for, but those thoughts are spoilery and maybe a little grandiose, and it might not work out quite like that anyway. We'll see!
In addition to being filling and stocking me up on lovely potassium, they gave me a great idea for a two-bit plot device in Lulu and the Second City. (You know, my side project. Think of it as an extremely low-stakes Buffy the Vampire Slayer, except that two thirds of the way through it turns into the Odyssey.) There are these makeshift golems that are terrorizing the high school, and in the process of trying to figure out what they're looking for and who sent 'em, Lulu, Ox, Brad, and Scary figure out that, instead of the name of YHWH, they're bound and animated by the banana stickers on their foreheads. "Peel and keeeeeel," says Scary.
I'm not sure why it's such a rich period for CoL right now. Maybe it's just that I'm waist-deep in the Pantheon right now, and the lighter atmosphere of CoL is what my brain's using to give itself some breathing room.