You Don’t Know What You’ll Write Until You Write It

Or: don’t name the car until you’ve bought it.

I won’t be working on that Otherkin project this year. In my post on the subject a few months back, I said that I wanted to write about it in some fictionalized form, and that’s still true. But I don’t yet know how I should. Should there be genre elements? Should it be a semi-fictional memoir? Short form? Long form? Until I can answer those questions to my satisfaction, I can’t make any progress on it. It’s just not ready.

More importantly, there are other projects that are farther along, things I can start immediately.

Authors vary on what they publicly announce. John Scalzi won’t say anything about a project until it’s nearly finished or close to publication. Elizabeth Bear has tallies of every manuscript she’s actively working on (though those could just be things she’s under deadline for). George R. R. Martin. . . I can’t imagine what torture you endure having that much public pressure to finish something.

I think I’ll just write about projects that I’m actually putting words to paper (or screen) on. I certainly won’t be promising or strongly indicating I’ll be writing this or that particular thing, unless I’m under deadline, and even then I should keep it to myself until I’m nearly done. I love transparency, especially from creators whose work I admire, but transparency doesn’t mean making writerly prognostication. Truth is, I just don’t know what I’ll write until it’s done.


Among Otherkin

I like to think my fiction isn’t as self-confessional as other writers’ (I mean, I didn’t write Misery, for better or worse), but there’s way too much of me in what I write that my flaws and quirks are close to the surface. Oh, you’re a neo-pagan now, Erik? You should get on that post-apocalyptic fantasy with wiccan-inspired supernatural entities. Oh, you’re a big string theory nut? Wrap a story around that and no one will notice. (Except you, dear reader. Whoops!) Oh, you like koans? Sorry, your readers don’t.

Well, it’s all fuel for the fire.

One log that refuses to burn, however, is my prior involvement, and continuing fascination, with the Otherkin community. One step above Furries on the geek subculture hierarchy, Otherkin believe that they are non-human souls — such as elves, trolls, and vampires — animating human bodies.