I’m getting a bit excited about launching Nightlights. Usually, I spend some time everyday thinking about Matchbox Girls 2– I’m not officially working on it yet, but the idea of writing the sequel is so, uh, challenging that I can’t help myself. But the past few days, it’s barely crossed my mind.
OK, some of that may have been the holiday weekend. But today? I had actual butterflies. I have no idea why! It’s ridiculous! It’s not like a whole book is suddenly going to be out there for people to buy and read and my entire career will hang in the balance– no, that’s February. No, it’s just posting a thousand words or so. What do I have to be nervous of? There are reasonable upper and lower boundaries for what could happen and I’ve thought them through and none of them are worth getting hot and bothered over. I literally have no reason to be nervous.
But I am.
I assume at some point, maybe a couple of weeks into Nightlights, I’ll get back to posting more general-purpose writing posts. But currently it’s really all I’m thinking about. I write a scene in the morning, I do some editing in the afternoon, and I work on the website in the evening. In between, I read other people’s posts about their writing, posts about the current business of writing, and related miscellanea. Later this month, I should be getting a revision letter for Matchbox Girls, which will hopefully broaden my horizons some….
Anyhow, this evening I spent time writing up an Introduction page. It’s up at the top of the site and I’ll try to keep it current. But I thought I’d include the text of it here, because I’m lazy and it pads out the post. Plus, it explains a bit more about what I’m doing.
I’d like to let my stories speak for themselves, but a basic introduction might be in order.
I’m a writer. I prefer to write (and read) speculative fiction– fantasy and scifi. I have a novel called Matchbox Girls coming out in February 2012 from the small press Candlemark and Gleam. It reflects a lot of my interests, including angels, demons, faeries and monsters, as well as family, children, dogs and feminism. You’ll be able to find out more about Matchbox Girls elsewhere on this site.
I’ve also long been interested in the particular appeal of serial fiction. Mostly these days serial fiction shows up as, well, series. We’re coming up on Book 13 of The Dresden Files, and Book 5 of A Song of Ice and Fire and man, I’m addicted. As an audience, we always want to know what happens next and that anticipation is only heightened by a delay in finding out. It’s always seemed to me that the fever pitch of interest raised by an ongoing novel series or an ongoing TV series is never matched by the reaction to one-offs. And as a writer, that kind of interest looks awfully tasty.
I think these days, there are opportunities for old-fashioned serial fiction– serial fiction presented scene by scene or chapter by chapter, rather than book by book– to find a new niche. Newspapers are dying, but newsreaders are thriving. People are more and more accustomed to reading thousand-word blocks of text, often on tiny screens. There are multiple avenues for letting potential readers know of updates, without requiring them to remember to check the website. And there’s large and enthusiastic communities dedicated to discussing and enjoying fiction.
Nightlights is my attempt to fit into that niche. I think of it as bus-stop reading for your smartphone, or coffee-break reading in your office. It’s posted on a webcomic schedule, three times a week, and each entry is the equivalent of 3-5 printed pages. It’s been extensively planned out, and there should be no break in the posting schedule unless something catastrophic occurs. I expect it will run for a year or so, with some bonus material written by audience request upon conclusion of the main storyline.
So What Is It?
It’s a step into the fantastic, as everything I write is, although it’s grounded in realistic characters. While Matchbox Girls is classified as urban fantasy, Nightlights would end up as YA paranormal– the protagonists range between 15 and 17, you see, which seems to be the primary requirement of YA these days. Aren’t genres funny things? Anyhow, would you like a back-of-book blurb? Okay! Like most blurbs, it’s spoilery for the first story arc, so I’ll hide it here.[learn_more caption=”Nightlights Blurb”] Ajax’s miserable life takes a different path after he’s rescued from a nightmarish monster by a pretty girl with a sword. She’s a Nightlight, a kind of teenaged guardian angel, and she offers Ajax the chance to join them. His choice takes him to an otherworldly tower, where the walls talk and the sun never shines, and into a conflict as old as humanity.[/learn_more]
For those who don’t want a blurb, just a description, how about: action-filled character-driven fiction about modern teenage monster hunters with magic weapons.
Nightlights is not, in any way, actually related to my upcoming novel Matchbox Girls, except that they both spring from the same mind. However, it’s my hope that if you like one, you’ll also like the other.
And It’s Free?
Although Nightlights will stay available for free on this website (unless somebody offers me seven figures to take it down), I do plan on making it available in ebook format for those who don’t want to read it on a website. Every 12 or 13 scenes is loosely grouped into a story arc, and every month I’ll push a novelette containing those scenes to the ebook vendors. After the whole story is done, I’ll collect the novelettes into a proper novel, and send that to replace the novelettes. These ebooks will be not be free, but will be reasonably priced. I will be selling them less to turn a profit and more to make the story available in more avenues– but if any long-time readers want to buy copies, that would be delightful.
I may also put up a tip jar at some point, although I have to figure out how those work these days.
What’s All This Other Stuff?
Well, this site started out as my writing blog. I’m hoping to maintain my weekly posting habit. I’ll also be posting intermittently about Matchbox Girls and its sequel (although I’ll eventually have a site dedicated to supporting that series). If you don’t want to read anything but the fiction, there should be an RSS feed to the right on the main page to let you subscribe just to Nightlights. I won’t be offended, I promise. I’m also hoping to keep up a proper table of contents for Nightlights, with a sidebar making it easy to navigate between chapters, and proper Previous and Next links on single pages. If that works out, it should be easy to refer new readers to the story, and I hope you will!