Letting go

Leonid Pasternak, The Passion of Creation, 19th century.
Leonid Pasternak, The Passion of Creation, 19th century.

Sometimes you need a little booze and a lot of months between you and your writing before you can see it clearly.

Last night at a cookout, some friends told me what they liked and didn’t like about my scifi trilogy. It matched what I’d seen in reviews, and from sales: They liked the first book, but not the other two. With a couple of beers and a year or two since writing them, I could see why.

When I wrote 300 MILES TO GALVESTON, I decided I was writing a trilogy, for no other reason than “I feel like writing a trilogy.” It had nothing to do with whether or not the story merited three books.

I had a clear vision for the first book. Well, maybe that’s revisionist history… I had a focused passion for the story, even if I didn’t know where it was going. I wrote it in six weeks, and had that good feeling I got when I’d crafted a decent short story in college. I’d missed that in my life. I needed to feel that, again.

My friend Evan designed an elegant, clever cover, and I felt even better about it. Then it made $300 in the first month on Amazon, and I felt like an author.

When I started the second book, MISSIONARIES OF OMO, I was really into my self doubts about religion, which usually reflects doubts about myself more than God. I’m not getting into a theist/atheist thing. I’m fine with whatever you believe, as my own beliefs are rather fluid. Anyway, I used fiction in that book, and OYU’S TRIDENT, to explore those ideas, and while it fascinated me, it only resonated with a tiny minority of readers. Of course, how else could it go? Imagine starting a conversation with a stranger on the finer points of religious studies, when they didn’t even sign up for the class or ask you to teach it. Bo-ring.

If anyone gets to this blog post and wonders what happened to books two and three, I pulled them from Amazon, and republished the first book as a stand-alone, because that’s what it truly is. If you’d still like to read books two and three, just reach out to me through my contact page or in a comment on this post, and I’ll send you an ebook copy you can import to your Kindle, for free. I’d he happy to hear what you think, good or bad, and at this point could laugh along with you if it just doesn’t catch your fancy.

Update 4/15:

I’ve learned that Amazon just doesn’t forget… so even though I’d like to pull the last two books, they’ll remain listed for all eternity (even if they’re unavailable). So, I surrender. 🙂
The ebooks have been re-activated on Amazon, and will be free April 16-17:

I’m not sure what I’m going to write next, if anything. My western has stalled. I may just need to take a break. I know the writer’s discipline is to plow on, even if it’s tossed pages, but I just tossed 400 of them, and feel more like drinking coffee and staring out the window than writing, for a while.

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6 thoughts on “Letting go”

    1. Haha, doing that RIGHTNOW, Princess. Thanks.

      Rick Wiedeman (mobile) On Apr 12, 2015 4:09 PM, “Rick Wiedeman” wrote:

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  1. Good gravy… what on Earth did I miss at this cookout?

    You know, I read the books. I never commented on them because I didn’t feel like I could in any meaningful way. That said, whatever the relative quality of the individual volumes might be, you should not consider the second and third books an embarrassment. Those books are your writing – you wrote them, you finished them, and you put them out for the world to see. That’s an accomplishment, and I’d have let them stand.

    Hell, Steven King leaves “Dolores Claiborne” out there…

  2. 1) As part of that “tiny minority,” I’m glad I bought the hardcopy. You’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

    2) I’m still looking forward to the Western. My bet is that it will be playful with the tropes, and will include some unexpected material, as well. That’s what I see as the added value, the competitive advantage of the writer who’s not afraid to inject some theology into his sci-fi. Not everyone wants to read a steady stream of Louis L’Amour.

    3) Wasn’t “drinking coffee and staring out the window” essentially the job description for Nathaniel Hawthorne, and maybe Einstein, too, when they were doing their most important work?

  3. Thanks, man.

    I’ve learned that Amazon just doesn’t let go. Even if I withdraw the second and third ebooks (or the print version goes out of print), they remain on my author page and search results for all eternity, within their system. Amazon is forcing me to commit, when all I wanted was a friend with benefits. Damn.

    I’m republishing the sequels, and will just try to live and learn and not get to paralyzed by the past… which sounds like one of those barf-inducing life lessons we’re all supposed to get.

    I’ll put them up for free for a couple of days, and announce that here on the blog, soon.

    Then in three months I’ll panic and re-write book three, turning it INTO a Western. Yee haw, ichthian overlords!

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