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New Project: Rise of the Spider Goddess

A few weeks ago, I got an idea. I got a wonderful, terrible idea…

Almost twenty years ago, when I was a sophomore in college, I started writing the adventures of my D&D character after the end of a campaign. It was bad. Really bad. But it was this 50K novel that made me seriously consider the possibility of becoming an author.

I read an excerpt of this story as part of a fundraiser in January of last year, and people told me it made them laugh — both the story itself, and my editorial asides. A few people even said they were interested in hearing what happened next…

…you’re probably starting to see where this is going.

I’m thinking about publishing an annotated version of that 20-year-old book. The prose itself would be unedited. That’s right, every paragraph of purple prose, every time a character takes a drawn-out infodump, every adjective and adverb stacked up like a linguistic Jenga tower, it would all be there for your amusement.

My thinking on this is threefold.

  1. Giving my own bad fiction the MST3000 treatment could be entertaining.
  2. For writers, this could be a helpful tool, both to show that even “successful” authors had to start somewhere, and by highlighting my various mistakes so others will learn what not to do.
  3. Truly completist fans might get a kick out of having my very first book. Plus you’ll see a few ideas that showed up in later, published books.

It would probably be a $3.99 ebook. I’m dubious about a print edition, but we’ll see. I’d probably do the formatting like so:

“Time, as we understand it, is an illusion. It is not a line, but an intricate web in which all events are interlaced. Creation and destruction—they are one and the same.”

—Taken from the Journal of Averlon Lan’thar

Every book should open with a pseudo-deep and utterly
meaningless quote from a character we know nothing about.
Also, gratuitous apostrophe abuse should be punishable
by Taser.

I haven’t come up with an official title yet. A few ideas:

  • Rise of the Spider Goddess
  • Curse of a Fallen Goddess Drunken Muse
  • Godslayer and Prosekiller

What do you think? Does it sound like the kind of thing you’d be interested in checking out?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Comments

( 54 comments — Leave a comment )
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swan_tower
Sep. 10th, 2014 12:23 am (UTC)
Amusingly enough, I was thinking about doing something similar with one of my own failed novels. Except I don't have the excuse of it being my first try (that was Lies and Prophecy, in much earlier form) -- the book in question was my third.

I think all three points are valid, but especially #2. Most writing advice consists of talking about hypotheticals or brief excerpts from actual texts, usually high-quality ones . . . but it's really true that sometimes you learn more from the stuff that doesn't work. And you need a whole book to really see book-sized flaws; excerpts aren't enough.
jimhines
Sep. 10th, 2014 01:56 pm (UTC)
Great minds, and all that ;-)
tanithk
Sep. 10th, 2014 12:33 am (UTC)
Yes, actually, that would be both useful and fun. Of the the 3 titles, Rise of the Spider Goddess is way the best, in case you're looking for feedback.
zelda888
Sep. 10th, 2014 06:30 am (UTC)
Rise of the Curse of the Spider Goddess? Rise of the Curse of the Fallen Spider Goddess?
(no subject) - horace_hamster - Sep. 10th, 2014 07:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attilathepbnun - Sep. 11th, 2014 01:47 am (UTC) - Expand
andrian6
Sep. 10th, 2014 01:07 am (UTC)
Oh, it reminds me of college when the MST3K usenet folks would put Joel/Mike and the 'Bots into internet crank posts and/or Star Trek: Voyager press releases. I say go for it!
mtlawson
Sep. 10th, 2014 02:16 am (UTC)
Lolth would like to have a word with you.....
lady_ravenlocke
Sep. 10th, 2014 02:36 am (UTC)
Not sure which title I like best, since they all make me giggle, but an annotated book like this sounds like a FANTASTIC idea. As an aspiring author, it would be very helpful to see this sort of thing, particularly out of an author whose work I rather like.
finnyb
Sep. 10th, 2014 03:14 am (UTC)
I would buy that as soon as it appeared, in digital (as long as it appeared on Kobo), and in print if it did so in that format, as well!
jimhines
Sep. 10th, 2014 01:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And I'd plan on making it available for every e-format I could, including Kobo.
(no subject) - aulus_poliutos - Sep. 10th, 2014 02:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aulus_poliutos - Sep. 10th, 2014 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wintersillusion - Sep. 10th, 2014 03:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
dharawal
Sep. 10th, 2014 03:32 am (UTC)
Yes PLEATH, I would read the hell out of that.
celtic_catgirl
Sep. 10th, 2014 03:37 am (UTC)
I'd pay $4 for that.
jennreese
Sep. 10th, 2014 04:17 am (UTC)
Tobias Buckell did something similar with NASCENCE, only with short stories: http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/books/nascence/

I think it's a fun idea.
jimhines
Sep. 10th, 2014 01:54 pm (UTC)
I should ask him for a blurb for this one :-)
obzor_inolit
Sep. 10th, 2014 04:37 am (UTC)
Brilliant! Though I don't know how you would resist the temptation to make your old text a bit better (or maybe even purpler).
And the "sarcastic editor's commentaries" can be developed into some playful postmodernist thing...
zelda888
Sep. 10th, 2014 06:20 am (UTC)
I actually did something like that on a paper in college. We had to write a sonnet (17th C. literature course), and I was KEENLY aware that I SUCK at poetry.

So I footnoted the heck out of the thing-- notes from the point of view of an editor of my Compleat Workes 100 years later, who was trying to be circumspect about saying "this early effort SUCKS; believe me we'd leave it out if we could."

My professor seemed amused, and sent me off to read Nabokov's _Pale Fire_. Which... is not necessarily a compliment in the end...

Edited at 2014-09-10 06:27 am (UTC)
(no subject) - obzor_inolit - Sep. 10th, 2014 11:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Sep. 10th, 2014 01:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - baker_kitty - Sep. 10th, 2014 08:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Sep. 10th, 2014 01:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - obzor_inolit - Sep. 11th, 2014 08:49 am (UTC) - Expand
sillylilly_bird
Sep. 10th, 2014 05:08 am (UTC)
I'm in!
phantasm13
Sep. 10th, 2014 05:47 am (UTC)
Yes!


I don't know what you should call it, but I am definitely interested!!

Gives me hope since my first attempt at a novel was also about a RPG I played in.

I keep writing and one day I will get something good!!
rantinan
Sep. 10th, 2014 08:29 am (UTC)
Re: Yes!
Me too

Edited at 2014-09-10 08:30 am (UTC)
Re: Yes! - jimhines - Sep. 10th, 2014 01:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
rantinan
Sep. 10th, 2014 08:30 am (UTC)
*throws 5 bucks (adjusting for international exchange rates at screen)*
What you're basicly saying is, here, have a semester's worth of creative writing 101 for a very nominal amount.
I'm keen.
sylviamcivers
Sep. 11th, 2014 05:45 pm (UTC)
No, don't say that! The price might go up! *looks around uneasily*
bookzombie
Sep. 10th, 2014 09:26 am (UTC)
I'd read that for sure!
myste_uk
Sep. 10th, 2014 09:31 am (UTC)
I don't know what $4 is in real money (in my case, £), but I don't much care - this sounds like an awesome idea, and I'd totally buy it!

"Curse of a Fallen Goddess Drunken Muse" made me giggle most - all great titles though.
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