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14566336 10153999468543511 1154056033295168157 o Michael James Welch · Author · added about 1 month ago
S.E. - I’m sure this is something Inkshares might’ve mentioned, but do any of the cuts lend themselves to being preserved for a sequel?  Could a character (and therefore their story) be completely excised from the 1st book and perhaps serve as the centerpiece of a 2nd book?  I ask because if I were faced with the prospect of them either being on the cutting room floor vs asked to hold off on telling their story...I know which one I would go with.

That said....I think that Avalon is going to end up asking me to ADD 10k words to my manuscript by the time I hand it in.   Good luck, either way!

It’s been a long time.

I haven’t had much to say, so I’ve laid off bombarding you with updates that contained no news. However, a few months back, I was told that Inkshares is ready to begin producing Disintegration.

I was overjoyed at the news, as it’s been quite a long road, but the road is yet longer. Alas. Inkshares has asked that I pare by 50,000 words the manuscript I submitted. This is no small feat. I managed to trim 20k by eliminating some character backstory and world-building, by sacrificing some parts that I felt were illuminating but weren’t essential to the overall plot. But another 30k remain to be pared. And that task is much more daunting.

Of course I’m in love with my own words, but I do realize that they’re not all golden and they’re not all necessary. That’s why the first cut was relatively easy. I want the story to be full and rich and chock with the kinds of connections and background that make it an epic, immersive experience, but the logistics don’t really allow that, since this is my first commercial book. The business of books asks "Who the hell is this?" of an unknown author, and "Why the hell is his book so long?"

Inkshares believes that my book will have wider appeal if it is narrower of width. That perhaps a skinny spine might entice a casual reader to pick it, on a whim, from a bookshelf ... where a fat one would not. I would like my book to be published, so I accede. Or, I am attempting to. It’s been slow going because I’m a full-time public school teacher and a graduate student and my "free" time is the time I spent looking at the backs of my eyelids.

But the book is coming. A version of it, anyway. A heavily abridged version that will, I hope, be a leaner, meaner, quicker, punchier version than my originally submitted draft. It’ll be such a rousing success, flying off bookshelves due to its striking black and red, and thin, spine, that the big, fat, unabridged version may well follow due to overwhelming demand.

A man can dream. And, while this man dreams, he is working on paring a novella’s worth of words from Disintegration so, like a boxer, the book meets its target weight and is ready to fight for science fiction supremacy.

Hey, gang. Long time no update. The reasons are two-fold: 

1) There hasn’t been much to say regarding the book.

2) I am bad at social media.

Regarding the first reason, I was recently told by Inkshares that there is a 50-book queue and my book is somewhere amidst. I don’t know precisely where, but I am hoping that it’s closer to the front than the back. What this means is that Disintegration not coming out soon. That bums me out and I hope it bums you out, too.

If you are bummed out, email hello@inkshares.com and tell them you want your MTV! No! You want your Disintegration!

However, if you’re over it by this point, I can’t feign shock.

I’m hoping you’re not.

I’d much rather you clamor and advocate for the book. So much of any book’s success on this site is based upon convincing Inkshares that there is money in a title. The way we do that is by selling copies. So, please, if you can think of any science fiction fan in your life looking for a deeply thoughtful, mature tale that unflinchingly confronts humanity’s foibles, direct them to Disintegration!

Don’t be over it; despite the glacial process, the book continues to elicit effusively positive feedback from a wide variety of readers, many of whom are not even regular sci-fi consumers. It warms my cockles to know that, despite the publish date being amorphous, the book still has such vast appeal.

At this rate, I may well wind up providing everyone a copy of the manuscript before the book goes to press. If you’d like to join the ranks of those reading what they’ve already purchased, pipe up and I’ll furnish you with a PDF, too!

As for the second point, I really wish I’d some social media skills because, had I that hustle, had I joined the right contest, had I done this thing or that thing differently from how things actually went, perhaps I could have joined the ranks of "fully funded" books. It’s a category that includes books that have sold equal or fewer copies than Disintegration, but instead received that golden ticket treatment and were swooped up to the Big Time.

I openly admit my envy. I want to see my book come to life. I want it to be seen and read and enjoyed, and any other wonderful possibilities that might arise from its publication.

Someday, they say. I eagerly await it.

Hey, everybody. It’s been about a month since I submitted the manuscript and wanted to dash off a quick note. I’ve yet to hear from the publisher, but when Disintegration’s moment comes up in the production queue, they’ll surely be in touch.

In the meantime, please check out Integration. Spend a little time in utopia before it all goes to hell. ;)

Yes, I’ve been quiet for a while. Didn’t feel like blowing you guys up with the same old "stuff is happening, *clickety clack*" even though I’ve been diligently at work.

I was awaiting the final round of feedback, and it was monstrously wonderful. Michael Haase provided it. He’s the author of The Madenss of Mr. Butler and an all around swell dude. Having incorporated many of his fine suggestions I can say ...

Bombs away!

That is: I’ve submitted the manuscript to Inkshares!

What does this mean? It means that I cannot tinker and putter any longer. It means that however long it takes Inkshares to copyedit it, for me to approve the changes, and then for them to send it to press is how long you’ll wait to have it in your hands. It means that it’s finally happening. This book that seemed like it might never exist is coming. It’s real. It’s happening.

And it feels wonderful.

Thanks to all of you for all you’ve done for me. I’m grateful.

Hey, everybody. I was browsing the interwebs this morning, looking for things to distract me from what I’m sure all Americans and probably everyone else in the world knows is happening today ... 

ARMAGEDDON!

No, no, just kidding. Kind of.

In my browsing, I came across a story about a child being born to three parents, and it made me think of James Holden, whom I know from The Expanse television show. The character, however, originated in the book Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (a pen name shared by two authors) and is referred to as "Jim."

But that’s not the only difference between the book and the series. I’m loath to admit I still haven’t gotten around to reading Leviathan Wakes (it’s next on my list), but I just discovered today that, in the book, Holden had a relationship with a fellow crew member of the Canterbury, just as he did in the show. Except, in the book, his lover is of Nigerian descent and, in the show, they whitewashed her into a blonde Scandinavian.

I’d say this boils my blood, but that would be melodramatic. I disappoints me, though, certainly. Significantly. For many reasons.

For one, a role that could and should have gone to a black actress was eliminated in favor of a white, blonde woman. For another, the depiction of an interracial relationship was eschewed, and I can’t help but think that it was a cynical choice, so not to alienate viewers who would have found it distasteful.

And, yes, I know that Holden and Naomi Nagata get involved and that the actress who portrays Naomi, Dominique Tipper, is of Dominican descent, so there’s an interracial relationship right there and you might be thinking "No harm, no foul" ... but Ms. Tipper is very many shades lighter than a Nigerian woman typically would be. Ms. Tipper is, to use a current term, "mixed race." I still can’t help but feel that the tone of Ms. Tipper’s complexion and the Anglo influence on her appearance was thought to be more palatable to these same audience members (whom I’m imagining, I realize; it’s all conjecture) who would have been less receptive to a dark-skinned woman with more "obviously" African features.

Now, maybe, if you’ve gotten this far, you’re wondering: "Why is this white guy all up in arms about this?"

There are a number of reasons, too many to list, but to relate it to my own book, I have a vast number of characters who do not have two white parents. While I’m over the moon to even be published (and I would be figuratively catapulted to Andromeda to have Disintegration made into a series), I would be livid if the roles of Carina, or any of her sisters, were given to a white woman. I’d also be upset if Anjali were given to anyone but an actress of Indian descent.

Essentially, I want all characters in all media to remain however they were written by whoever wrote them, because these characters’ ethnicities are an important part of them, as our own traits are important parts of any of us. Sure, these characters are imaginary, but they are real in our minds. They are probably even more real to their creators. And who among us would want to have our children remade by some stranger who’s decided our progeny isn’t white enough or pretty enough for consumption by the general public?

A person’s culture influences their lives, as does the way other people perceive them, and appearance is a big part of perception. And I don’t think anyone should have to change the way they look or the way they speak to try and please someone who takes issue with difference. Yet such people exist--those who wish only to see themselves reflected in their media--which is surely why a white woman was chosen over a Nigerian woman to play Ade, whose surname was "Tokunbo" in the book and "Nygaard" in the show.

Heaven forbid we show anyone what it looks like for a white man and a dark-skinned black woman to have a sexual relationship. In a Science Fiction show set in the far future, even! And what about the converse? Ha! Like the America that voted for the guy taking office today could handle that.

Thank goodness for Loving, at least.

And I am grateful, too, that the role of Naomi in The Expanse didn’t also get whitewashed. Ms. Tipper is absolutely marvelous in the role. I, for one, really enjoy for there to be a variety of humans from all over the world not only depicted in my fiction, but also participating in my daily life.

Hey, all. Happy New Year.

I hope that, despite the glut of bad news with which we were bombarded -- and the losses of more iconic people in one stretch than I can previously recall -- your 2016 was full of good news for you.

On the second to last day of 2016, I decided to draw again for the first time in about 14 years, barring those few things I’ve sketched out over that long stretch of time. It’s a work in progress, but I’m pleased with the result. To draw the four sisters from DisintegrationI derived inspiration from that famous, yearly series of photographs of four sisters that’s been floating around the Internet.

From left to right: Manon, Michele, Agnès, and Karin (Carina). If you click the image, you can see a less red version of it on my Instagram (please follow and like, and all that good social media whoring ;P ).

 

While I work on the cover for the book and incorporate the edits I’m receiving, I’ll be working, too, on visually realizing the characters through drawings. I’ve always thought Carina’s backstory would make a compelling graphic novel. That’s a back-burner project I’d love to someday bring to life.

The bulk of my time has been devoted to writing Integration and it’s surprising me how different a novel it is, and will be, from Disintegration. It’s so much more subtly science fiction. Not quite blink and you’ll miss it, but it’s much more rooted in (a close extrapolation of) contemporary life without the high-stakes drama of dystopic world war. It’s actually really nice to be able to describe the blue skies overhead. :D

I hope you enjoy this glimpse of the lovely ladies of the Derouard / Duvais family. If you would like to join those who are currently reading the book (and, I’m happy to report, really liking it), let me know and I’ll send you the epub of the manuscript that John Robin was kind enough to make for me.

To close, allow me to crib from one person that, thankfully, stuck with us through 2016:

Excelsior!

P.S. - Speaking of social media whoring, the facebook page for Disintegration has 69 likes. In the stilted English of my Russian cyborg Rozhenko: "Please to be the 70th" ... and beyond!

 

Chapter 24 is a pivotal one in which a lot of things go down, one of which is a huge, violent melee incited by Major Gardiner, one of the major (ahem) characters. Gardiner is thin and he goes a little crazy. I describe him as context for the following little bit, which I especially enjoyed reading:

“I need my mitts,” Macaluso said to no one in particular. He lumbered over to a teenaged boy who had climbed down from one of the transports.

“Get me my mitts,” Macaluso demanded.

The boy looked at him, unsure whether to mouth off or not.

“Don’t fuck with me, kid, or I’ll sick that skinny psycho on you. He’ll pull your head out through your asshole and then I’ll fucking punt it back onto your shoulders just for good measure.”

The boy’s eyes widened and and he scrambled back into the truck, procuring Macaluso’s mitts.

“Thanks, kid,” Macaluso said. “Good choice.”

Budapest is proving the ideal place to get some work done. I’ve made a lot of headway the past two days and am a mere handful of chapters away from finishing this revision of the manuscript.

Once done, I’ll deliver it to John Robin and Michael Haase and they’ll provide the last round of feedback. After that, it’s delivery time.

Hey, everyone. It’s a rainy day in Bilbao, which makes it a perfect morning to get some writing done. I leave for Barcelona in a few hours.

I’ve excised 19 pages worth of over-exposition. The manuscript is getting leaner, the pacing is much improved. I’m trusting myself that I’ve imparted the important bits and I’m trusting that you can infer my intentions, rather than explaining every minute detail to death.

Again, it’s a little hard to buckle down and work each day when I’m constantly on the move, but I’m chipping away. I expect this to be either the final or penultimate edit and I’m over 2/3 of the way through.

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