So, I’ve finally got some interesting news worth posting about. Long story short, I have been hired to write at least one, perhaps two Young Adult book series. I’ve presented rough sketches of two stories to my publisher, both of which she liked very much. I’ve since continued to sketch them out, and if I may admit, am feeling pretty damn good about both ideas. One of them, most likely, will be a duology—a word I’m not sure the OED has canonized yet, but, we sling it around enough that they might as well. The other I’ve been able to break up into a trilogy more easily. Current plan is to spend the rest of this month doing some research (I should, y’know, probably read a YA book, so I’ve ordered The Hunger Games, which has come highly recommended even by established, adult-oriented writers) and getting all the prewriting work doing—scripting out longer, 2-5 page outlines of the narrative arc, creating character biographies, writing up some scene blocks, yadda yadda yadda.
Funny thing is, I never imagined my first major writing project would be a Young Adult book/series. If you’ve read anything by me, or know me at all, you know that I’m a Training Day kind of fella—I like the dark, the gritty, the gray. Most of the writing I’ve posted on this website shows as much, with the notable exception, and the only exception that comes to mind, being “The Lighthouse,” a father/son short story I wrote for my own father. Quite honestly, I’ve always maintained a bitter attitude towards the idea of “Young Adult fiction.” I felt it was insulting, and creating an unnecessary bridge between something like, say, the Goosebumps series or Boxcar Children or what have you and reading Star Wars/Star Trek novels or Lord of the Rings in middle school or high school. Though my mother insists otherwise, I don’t remember such a genre existing when I was young, and so my generation was forced to challenge ourselves as readers. But I’m always interested in tackling new challenges, and this Young Adult series provides me with just that—an opportunity to create the sort of fiction I feel, if Young Adults are going to subscribe to this section of the bookstore, ought to be reading. What I’d want to read if I was in their place. It also gives me the opportunity—and hold back your surprise at my sentimentality—to write something for my little sisters, Emily, Elizabeth, and Abigail. To create fiction I want them to read, that is appropriate for them to read (’cause they sure as hell shouldn’t be reading something like “Nazca City Blues” and what it is growing into).
At this stage, I obviously can’t say much about the stories. I hope to get the first book finished by the end of August. But rest assured, whatever the “Chris Holzworth” style and panache may be, it won’t be absent in these stories. It will very much retain my style, my voice, and my attitude. Just. With a lot less swearing, and perhaps less complex prose, heh.
Still, I’m excited. Friends and family are excited. This is a quirky arrangement, one in which I’m selling the rights to my works, but through negotiation my name will still appear on the cover. Honestly, I’m less interested in making any money from this (though I won’t complain about being paid to write these) and more interested in what it can do to help me get into an MFA program, which by December I will be farming out my writing samples to. Furthermore, I see it as an opportunity to get the hang of writing a longer work, constructing a cohesive narrative that spans 150-200 pages, and really just cutting my teeth as an author. It’s my foot in the door. It’s establishing my name. It’s helping strengthen my writing skills so that when the time comes, I can execute Nazca City Blues the novel more effectively—so that it can live up to the standards I want it to.
Naturally, I’ll keep any of y’all posted (as much as I can, at least). But for now, just know that—holy fuck! I’m writing a book! I’ve been hired to write a book! Craziness.