Friday, July 19, 2013

An Explanation of Midnight in the Bowling Alley and Some Other Stuff

Well, it's finally happened. In a few days, I'll be posting the final live story of the first collection, titled Midnight at the Bowling Alley. It's taken a long time to write because of my struggle with depression and procrastination and blah blah blah excuses. Whatever. It's written, and it's being revised as we speak. As promised, this is the back story.

Midnight at the Bowling Alley represents a lot of things to me as a writer. Most obviously, it's my first story to deal with the idea of an afterlife. Much in the spirit of The Dead Astronauts and the approach I used with the question of the existence of a god, I wanted to leave the question open as to whether I was implying that the afterlife exists.

The storyline is simple enough. Oscar and Zeke are on their way to Zeke's mother's birthday party and Oscar has fallen asleep in the car. The opening scene is of Oscar waking from a nightmare he can't remember. They arrive at the bowling alley where the birthday party is. After the usual verbal abuse from Zeke's mom, Oscar decides to hang out alone the rest of the night, but he soon discovers that he may be stuck with Zeke's mom forever. The man at the snack bar says that there's no way out.

After putting The House on Bernard Street on hold, I realized that the verbal abuse that Warren's mother was able to deliver to Aaron in that novel was simply too priceless to shelf, so I've transferred a great deal of her into Zeke's mother.

I also realized that I often will write the same storyline over and over. I've decided to stray from the “man wants out of his own life, tries to get partner to go with him, ultimately goes alone” plot line that I find myself wrapping most of my short stories and novels in, and I've decided that this story should be based on the lack of possible escape rather than pending freedom.

The characters are pretty typical of my work, but as with my previous two stories, this is a horror piece. Horror is a genre where character-driven dramatic elements are scarce, and I think this tendency of mine to put my characters front and center and let the main battles play out inside them sets me apart from other modern indie authors. I'm not content to write a story for the sake of writing one. There's a lot of symbolism in everything I write, though admittedly, it has to be pointed out to me by those who read my work.

I suppose this story could be considered the final in a horror trilogy, though the stories themselves (Our Lives in Ruin, The Dirty Red Fingernails, Midnight at the Bowling Alley) have nothing in common as far as plot or characters go. The three stories before that could be seen as a relationship drama trilogy (Spin the Bottle, The Dead Astronauts, We All Come Home Eventually). The first two stories are mother-oriented and represent my first attempts at short fiction. Some elements of all these stories work, and some do not. I'll have to revise them all pretty heavily once I take them down so that I can put them into book form.

Once I've got books to sell, I plan to sell them a few different ways. Most obviously will be online via a website. However, I am insistent upon meeting the people buying my books, so I will likely try to put together a book tour. Who can say? I might do anything. This part will be discussed in a future blog about Antioch.

Now we come to something which may cause tables to be flipped like dominoes. I am likely finished with the “live” format altogether. I may finish The House on Bernard Street live, but after that, everything will be written in private and then sold as books. It's time I moved on to this phase of my career, though I will say that it has been fun watching the view counters rise on these stories as people read them. I've been giving my work away, however rough-draft it may be, and it has made me no money. I've seen that there are people in the world who are willing to read my work, and it's inspired me to believe that these same people might be willing to pay $1 to download an ebook or $12 to buy a printed book.

Don't let me down.

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