I'm Working on a Book

I wonder, if I talk about my novel “publicly” (as public as a blog nobody reads can be), will I gain motivation to work on it? Let’s find out!

So, the idea for Alec Martin came to me in a haze of annoyance. I read an urban fantasy book by a very well recommended author that I really enjoyed, up until the last few chapters where everything I thought it was building to was incorrect and I was pretty disappointed with it. I was already in a poor mood at the time, hoping to alleviate that by reading, so the ending being something I didn’t like upset me to a frankly silly degree. But from that disappointment, I said to myself, “What if I write my own book?” (Insert Bender reference here.) And as the ideas began, I started thinking they might actually be pretty decent. Or at least decent enough to satisfy me.

Urban fantasy as a genre has always been kind of absurd to me, and I mean that in both a complimentary and derogatory way; I have a strange relationship with the genre. From the early Holly Black books I devoured as a teen; to the classic Dresden Files I hold in, equally I think, both praise and contempt; to Richard Kadrey’s outstanding contributions to my funny little brain - I am in no way an outsider to the genre just trying to mock it. I love and hate these stories as I love and hate myself.

Then isn’t it a fitting tribute to make my own hero a floundering self-insert, both technically skilled and utterly inept at his heroism? A genderfluid neurotic mess trying to become so much more? A distractible fool with a heart of, well, probably some kind of tin?

My own traits and flaws could be passed through my brain’s new IRL-To-UF translation machine and come out the other side as silly character beats and supernatural powers. My own religious beliefs form the canvas of the fantastical, twisted enough for the fun of it: Gods walk the earth when they choose to, and Odin has taken Alec on as something of a warlock patron / mentor figure. (Alec doesn’t know yet that he’s a kind of demigod, the son of another god who made a pact with Odin to give him the god’s next child, but Odin does.)

Alec has some inherent powers: being able to see magic, a painstaking shapeshifting ritual, and a repertoire with spirits; but his main method of magic is song-based. He sings, sometimes adding material or somatic elements to his spells, and he usually uses whatever rock song vaguely fits and pops into his head. (Odin himself has a signature song - Deep Purple’s “King of Dreams”.) I’m not sure how I’m going to go about getting permission to put lyrical snippets from all these songs into the story, but that’s a fight I’m not going to worry about until I get to it.

In the first book, Alec is tasked with retrieving the head of Odin’s spear, Gungnir, from an antique art collector who thinks it’s some kind of ancient relic. While that seems rather straight forward, multiple things wind up complicating this task: Alec’s own personal feelings about a city he’d thought he’d seen the last of a long time ago; a potential love interest he keeps having horrible dates with; and the machinations of a very unwelcome and very powerful ex-boyfriend. Oh, and Alec finds out about his dad, and that he’s a demigod. It’s gonna get pretty nuts.

Of course, in the vein of the sometimes-reluctant heroes of the genre, I plan for Alec to span several books. I don’t have them all fully plotted yet, it’s far too early for that, but a Google Keep note holds some potential ideas for future books: getting stuck in a shapeshifted form and having to figure out how to fix it; dealing with a fascist vampire gang who uses a line from a Blue Oyster Cult song as their motto (“Night Makes Right”); Odin “loaning” Alec to the Welsh goddess the Morrigan for something; and one line that just says, “time travel?”. I think that’s probably something every author at least considers, isn’t it?

And that’s basically what I’ve got so far, without posting what bit of my first draft currently exists. (That’s reserved for, like, the one person I trust who’s shown interest yet.) I should go write more, in fact, but I’ll probably go to bed instead haha.