‘Til Hell Won’t Have it!

Tomorrow–or midnight tonight, not sure which is strictly true–Angry Robot’s Open Door Submission Period begins. Are you ready?

I’m not sure if I am or not, but my submission packet is prepped and ready to go.  My first two chapters hit the 10,000 word limit (actually a bit over, but that’s okay, according to them), so I have to hope that there’s enough in those two chapters to make them want more.  I know they’re strong; my peers and beta readers liked them, as did a well-regarded editor in the field.  But that doesn’t mean that AR will.  So I’m nervous.

But this is the life I chose–and the oath I took at the end of VP, despite being non-binding, says I can’t duck from this.  It’s what I want.

I don’t write for me.  I mean, yes, I do it because I tell myself stories, and it’s fun to write them down.  But if I repeated the thing I see authors say all the time–that they write for themselves–I’d be lying.

I’m not after fame, though I wouldn’t say no to it.  And I’m not after riches–though that, too, I wouldn’t say no to.  But as a popular saying about my dayjob goes: If you get into [writing] for the money, you’re not smart enough to be a [writer]. So what am I after?  I want to make people happy.

When I was a kid, growing up in a household that was fragmenting apart, and then became a living hell, books were my escape.  And while I read fairly widely, the most amazing books were those that explored far-off worlds. Those books literally saved me, by showing me that life was not painful all the time, for all people.

But many of the books I loved as a kid have issues that don’t necessarily work for readers today.  Either they’re written from and starring mainly straight white men, or they’re mired in politics that no longer ring true to readers.

I want to write books that work for readers now, not to supplant the Old Masters of the SFF field, but add to them.

So I submit.  And I submit, and submit, and submit.  And while this book makes the rounds, I start work on the next one, the dark chapter of the trilogy, when things will get very dark for my poor heroes.

When this trilogy is done, the next book will begin. And then it, too, will make the rounds–until Hell won’t have it.

Published by Michael R. Johnston

Father of an eighth grader, high school English teacher, writer. Fifty years old and feeling almost every bit of it on some days, and not a bit of it on others. Based in Sacramento, California, USA

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