I’m going to write this post very slowly and deliberately so I don’t gush.
Deep breath, and begin.
Last night I was in attendance as Neil Gaiman’s tour promoting the 10th anniversary edition of American Gods hit the Press Club here in DC. (Holy crap, guys, I got to see Neil Gaiman). The event was a metered affair, featuring a few readings, talking about his inspiration for writing the book, and taking submitted questions from the audience. (He totally announced his next book for the first time yesterday). I’ve never had a chance to listen to an author that I respect so much just talk about his inspirations and, to a lesser extent, his process. (He’s totally the bestest writer and I got a signed book and…)
Shut UP inner fanboy.
The goal of the event was largely to push purchases of American Gods, a goal I can understand and respect. To a certain extent almost everything that an author does in public is about driving sales. Hell, this blog is about driving sales, and I don’t even have anything yet to sell you (Steam Works, this summer, Hydra Publications). Especially since the event was a book tour event and not a convention event, it wasn’t really about connecting with authors and instilling inspiration. But it was.
See, here’s the thing. That gushing fanboy above? That’s me. That’s the me that has loved every exposure I’ve had to the talents of Neil Gaiman. That’s the me that is jealous that he can move so effortlessly from novels to short stories to comics to teleplays to music production to children’s books. Hell, he even mentioned he’s working on a musical. A musical! Have I ever told you about the musical I want to write? Now’s not the time, remind me later. In the end, I think Gaiman is who a lot of writers want to be like, that potentially unobtainable level of cross-media production and mastery. So something about just being there and being reminded that he’s a real person, yeah, it’s a geeky fanboy thing of me to say, but it does inspire me to push on with my writing.
And especially? Getting back to my novels.
I’ve moved towards short stories lately, which I think has really helped me grow as a writer. But it was at the cost of walking away from one of my favorite novels that I’ve started, Capsule. It’s really time to walk back again. And to even start looking beyond that. I know where the next few scenes of Capsule go, trust me, I’ve actually been thinking about it, even if I haven’t been talking about it. And I’ve been thinking about how to write a story around two characters my wife and I created, setting them in a steampunk world for a novel I’m currently calling Nickajack in my head (though there’s totally a book by that name, I know).
So. Yeah, there it is. What’s the lesson from last night? I’m not going to be Neil Gaiman.
Unless I work a hell of a lot harder.