Right now, I am entering what I have just decided to call “The Space Between.” It’s the space between projects, that all-too-short time period between finishing one thing and beginning another. I finally finished the second chapter of One Less Hero, entitled “With A Little Help From My Friends,” and it has made it through my rather ridiculous editing process for the most part unscathed. All that is left is incorporating my edits into the final draft and then publishing the finished product. I’ve set a publication date of Monday, November 11, and I think I’m in a position to keep that deadline. It actually flows pretty well for a draft that contains various pieces from five very different drafts written over the last eight months.
[Note: Not all of the chapters are going to be like that one. I always knew what I wanted to happen in it, but I could never quite figure out exactly how I wanted it to happen. The final version is an amalgamation of several different ideas. Like I said above, I’m slightly amazed at how well it seems to flow considering how it came about. Of course, I could be completely biased and it might be a complete piece of crap that is all over the place thematically. I’ll leave that for the readers to decide.]
So Chapter 2 is finished, and it’s time for me to move onto my next endeavor. Unfortunately for my free time, I’ve already decided what that next endeavor will be. And the holiday season is the perfect time to be writing it.
Last year around this time, I had just moved to Nashville and I was living in a cheap hotel with cable and a spotty wireless connection. I was missing my family, and one of the things I did to fill that time (aside from watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory and Restaurant: Impossible—don’t judge) was writing. One Less Hero was one of the projects to come out of that hotel stay, and it heavily influenced a novelette I’m shopping around called It Starts and Ends with You. However, the story I focused on the most while I was actually staying in the hotel room was a Christmas-themed story that started with a retelling of Frosty the Snowman and made a sharp 90-degree turn after that. I’m very excited about it, mostly because a Christmas story is one of those things I never really thought I’d be writing. They always seem too sugary and tired and predictable, but this one is none of those things; it’s very much me. It’s also a little bit someone else, which is another reason why I’m excited to write it.
I’ve made no secret of my love of the work of Neil Gaiman. He’s one of my biggest inspirations as a writer, and I still constantly point anyone and everyone to this commencement speech and dare them not to be floored. The Christmas story I’m about to start working on again is probably the closest I will get to writing a Gaiman story. It’s a little bit real-world, a little bit fantasy, a little bit horror, a little bit heart-wrenching, and a little bit allegory. Gaiman himself has paid tribute to one of his favorite writers, fantasy staple Michael Moorcock, in numerous short stories over his writing career, so I feel no shame in doing the same.
Generally, the Space Between is a pretty short time period for me; sometimes it can be measured in minutes. I think I’m going to give myself a few days for this one, then dive in headfirst. And maybe, just maybe, I can actually finish this story before the holiday that inspired it arrives.