Wednesday, February 04, 2009


For those of you keeping track, (and who could care,) I've decided that my next project needs to be the old retired secret agent novel. (The last Matador novel, which some of you would rather see, will have to wait a bit. Not quite ripe in my mind yet, sorry.)

I did a rough scene a while back and posted it here. It will be altered somewhat, but that's the basic character I'm going to use.

Working title: Bristlecone.


Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

No no no, we want to see the _next_ Matador novel, not the _last_ Matador novel!

But the one about the retired agent sounded fun, too.

Brad said...

I'm with Tiel on this. The NEXT one, not last. Else, we'd have to ask Bobbe to pick up the thread....

But, after the little bit you posted while back, I am looking forward to the retired secret agent story.

Worg said...

Steve, I know you've written in a number of different genres. Is it true that there is no money in sci fi to speak of anymore, and that fantasy is far more lucrative?

Ever read Richard Morgan? He's got a new fantasy novel out. Good stuff so far. He seems to like attacking peoples' biases and preconceptions, and that's all good with me.

Menduir said...

Hmm ... from a technical standpoint, when writing a novel, do you start with characters and then find a plot for them? Or do you start with a story/plot/idea and then try to figure out who these people are?

Or do you come up with an idea for character or plot or whatever, think "That's so cool" and then go from there?

~ Jas.

Steve Perry said...

Jas --

Varies from project to project. Sometimes, it's a character, sometimes a story. Could be a setting, even a title -- done that for short stories several times.

Usually with my stuff, it's character. With some of the tie-in books, it'll be story or setting -- Death Star, for example, was all about what happened to the battle station between the time it was built and blown up.

Steve Perry said...

I just finished Morgan's latest, Steel Remains. He's a good writer. And he is pushing the boundries vis a vis sexual orientation in his work. I'm not sure that is the best marketing strategy for big sales, but it's a gutsy thing to do.

For those of you who haven't read his fantasy series, his male protagonist is openly gay (and graphically so) in a society that frowns on it to the point of execution in some places. His female protag is obviously lesbian, though there isn't any real expression of it in this book.

I touched on those themes in the Matador books, but I had it easier -- I postulated a future in which bisexuality was no big deal, and was less explicit in my descriptions compared to Morgan.

Steve Perry said...

As for the money, there's always some to be had, but it depends on so many factors.

Fantasy has had bigger a market share than SF for a long time, to judge by the number of books published. Piers Anthony was a great SF writer, but his lightweight fantasy novels all sold better.

If you are Neil Gaiman and your books not only sell well but they make movies out of 'em, you can live really high on the hog.

Down in the midlist where I live, you can make a decent living, but you have to keep the books coming, and I have noticed any real difference in the sales of my SF versus my fantasy.

That's pretty much true for other genres. Bestsellers make beaucoup money, midlisters don't.

Worg said...

I dunno man, I think Morgan may be a smarter marketer than that.

He's writing his own slash fiction. The genius of it. It hit me like a diamond bullet between the eyes.

Also, just let it be said that where I am, the statement "Fandom is one big clusterfuck" is no longer a metaphor.

I do not subscribe to any of that, BTW, not that you care, but I have no problem with people who do and I rather think that the people who are offended by it deserve to be offended. I think this is going to get Morgan even more notoriety and he's really to the point now where they can't turn his books down. Good for him, I say.

Steve Perry said...

In today's world, the bottom line in the publishing industry is ... the bottom line.

If Morgan's books tweak audiences enough so they want to read them, more power to him. But I didn't see that Steel hit the bestseller lists, and I suspect that people who are big fantasy fans and not so secure in their own sexuality are not in line waiting for the next one. There are a lot of people who don't like any kind of graphic sex in their fantasy, much less the homosexual variety.

He surely has the gay audience, but as a result, probably fewer of the straights.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if they didn't sell as well as other doorstop fantasies, and unless they make a profit, better believe the book companies will turn his books down. They aren't in business to make art, but money.

Worg said...

I didn't even hear about Steel until this week.

It's kind of funny how Morgan is a great writer, undeniably, but you kinda see his limitations and repeating themes. What's-his-face in Steel sitting on the beach watching his friend die. I keep expecting it to start with the "inenneininenneininennein" again and the Jimmy DeSoto.

Not that I care, you can never have too much of a good thing.

The manlovin though, there's been about enough of that already and I'm only a quarter of the way through. I wonder what other shibboleths he'll drag out of the closet next book.

There's that word again.

Michael Bourgon said...

woot! Steve, anything that's not someone else's licensed work is fine with me.while I did buy all the Matador novels, I believe that's because I buy all your novels, provided they're your IP. Just write another good novel, that's all we ask.

Steve Perry said...

Gotta love new-book-in-progress enthusiasm. Already got nearly three chapters done and it's running like a cheetah amped on speed.

That piece I posted here, redone, will show up about Chapter Four, I expect.

Hey, Moe, hey, Larry -- whoowhoowhoowhoowwhoo!

William Adams said...

Agree w/ Tiel and the others, _NEXT_, not last.

That said, I just finished Richard Morgan's novel _13_ (having read _Altered Carbon_ before that) and found it interesting and thought-provoking (though the female characterization could've been more reasonable / realistic IMO). Will have to look for his fantasy novel --- though I wonder what new is there to be said --- didn't Mercedes Lackey do the whole gay angst thing already?

The most interesting on-going series I've seen in contemporary fantasy is Steven Brust's Dragaera novels (which arguably are really science fiction since the mechanics of sorcery / witchcraft are explicitly spelled out as having an ultimately technological basis).

The best one-offs would be Megan Lindholm's _Cloven Hooves_ or Jane Yolen's _Briar Rose_.

Anyone have any reading suggestions while I'm waiting for Mr. Perry's next novel?


Worg said...

Man, I dunno if I can recommend "Steel" to people. "Sick as fuck" doesn't begin to cover it. I personally like it, but I get into sick brutality. I think probably a lot of people would be made very uncomfortable by some of this content.

Probably a lot of people would benefit from being made very uncomfortable.