Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Billy and the Cloneasaurus Wrap-up

So, you might be wondering what happened with the whole NaNo thing.  Remember?  I mentioned it earlier this month?  No?

Okay, well, anyway, you might be wondering about why I haven't posted an excerpt or a cover or anything on the blog, and if you clicked on the link above, you might've noticed there's no excerpt on my Nano page, either.

You might even be wondering why you've been staring at an embedded video of a brilliant cover version of Carmelita on the blog for the better part of the month instead of reading updates about my magnificent progress.  (And I do mean staring at the embed, apparently, instead of watching the video.  Only 46 hits?  What the fuck?  It's really good.  Seriously.  Make it a point to watch it sometime.)



About that...

Now, don't get me wrong, I did it, all right.  I got my winner's stamp and everything:

I won NaNoWriMo for the third time.  I'm batting a thousand, I guess.  And there's even a cover that already exists (thank you, internet!) because my title was an awesome reference to something else even awesomer:

It's just...

I hated it this year.  I hated how Billy and the Cloneasaurus turned out.  Hate-hate, too, not like, "Oh, I hate that dress on her."  It was sort of a combination of disappointment and disgust, because I had such high hopes for it.  This was to be, at one time, my grand, nihilistic, satirical masterpiece.  A scathing indictment of the modern world, a 1984 for 2011.  It was going to be great.  And it was great.

In my head.

As soon as I put my fingers to the keyboard it all turned to crap.  For one thing, there were no characters.  Every character was identical, and that was purposeful.  It was a world full of clones!  What could be a better satire of our modern society, where we're valued no differently than machines? 

And yet...

See, the thing about good stories is you like the characters, and you like seeing them interact.  Chewie, Han, or Lando are great on their own, just standing there.  But when Han starts arguing with Chewie, or Chewie starts choking Lando, it just becomes great.

And then there's Billy.  Purposefully frumpy, dumpy, middle-aged and balding, without a distinguishing characteristic in the world, because he's the perfect cog in the machine and would never make any noise.  And when he has his great epiphany, he, well, doesn't really change that much.  And the only people he has to bat this personality around with...are identical.  (Because they're clones, see.)  Change the characters, and the whole underlying metaphor of the book gets tossed.  Don't change the characters, stay true to the vision and the book sucks.

So, the book sucks.  I stayed loyal to my crappy vision.  It's done.  There was someone (I think it might've been Mark Twain) who once said, "Manuscripts don't burn."  Never in all my life have I felt more like testing the veracity of that phrase.

One last point of "interest."  My graph for this year:

You can compare it to last year's graph if you want.  But you know how you can tell I despised writing this book?  Because there are no peaks and valleys.  I just forced myself to write the bare minimum every day.  See on Day 15 how it seems there was a valley and then I made it up the next day?  Nope.  Just didn't update the wordcount until after midnight.  Then, at the end, when I could taste the breath of freedom from this awful, awful mistake, I stepped it up a little so I could finish.  Compared to the wild excitement and breathtaking grandeur of The Ghoul Archipelago this was a grueling tread up a slight incline.

So, sorry.  No excerpt.  Ever.  It's nigh unreadable.  Of course, remembering the mission statement of this blog, that might not mean anything sometime in the future when I'm a little less angry at Billy and his damned cloneasaurus.  Suffice it to say, they both died at the end.  They made roast beef sandwiches out of the cloneasaurus.

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