What a long, strange trip it’s been!

My apologies for the lack of updates. Life has been busy for my wife and me as we have been purchasing our first home. My job is going great, and there’s a lot of responsibility there with leading a large group of researchers and students.

I plan to get back to work on writing. Actually, an email from a fan named James started me back up into the editing process for the 57k words currently in Shadows of Our Fathers (feel free to thank James :D). In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting the first three chapters of the draft, as they become “ready”, and you can feel free to comment on them. Believe it or not, I take comments very seriously. I’m still learning my craft, and suggestions I find on Goodreads, Amazon, and other places often find their way into me honing my skills. For this reason, Book 3 of the Primal Patterns is going to be different–as are the other two books I’ve started for the Winter Phenomenon series and the book tentatively titled Our Criminal Future.

Why different? Well, it’s been pretty obvious that the way I had been going about writing was flawed. Even after paying for deep story edits of my book, Lucifer’s Odyssey was fatally flawed by lack of description, internal thought processes, and direction that held back and ultimately thwarted readers from being engaged in the series. The reviews and comments on sites like Goodreads, Amazon, and other places bear this out. The upvoted Amazon reviews that every reader sees (and ultimately result in fewer people purchasing the book or entering the series) have killed almost any chance of the series gaining traction, and the premise of the series (an alternate history of Lucifer and Jehovah) was perhaps too controversial to even be attempted in a first book, before any reader could trust me to deliver a good story. And the truth is that I probably wasn’t ready, as a writer, to bring that story the light it deserved and needed in order for it to have a chance to become more popular. I have zero friends who have finished the book (even friends who loved Zelazny and sci-fi). Even my wife can’t complete the first book. And this means that there has been no one I could really trust to help me become a better writer, so that I can write this kind of epic story properly.

So, I put down Shadows of Our Fathers and focused on other stories. Some of the shorter stories like Elves and Goblins: Perspectives of a Father’s Rebellion were not only attempts to highlight social issues like segregation and universal healthcare, but they were also my attempts at applying what I had learned from comments on Lucifer’s Odyssey, The Goblin Rebellion, and Angels and Demons. Other stories like the one in the Pride Collection were more emotion, expression, description and an attempt at a more understandable story that might reach audiences better. This continued into Hallow’s Ween to try to connect with readers better–though at this point, all of them have stalled as far as sales. But despite these setbacks, I appreciate the comments and harsh words because they help me realize that what I’m doing right now is not good enough. For those who have enjoyed the work I’ve done so far, don’t worry. I’ll keep working at it. I enjoy writing too much to ultimately quit it. My other career requires a lot of technical writing and that has been it’s own reward, but fiction is something I’m very passionate about. I love story telling. I just know that I’m not where I need to be in my fiction-writing ability.

The downside of that rationale is that I realize I have done readers somewhat of a disservice by putting out Lucifer’s Odyssey and The Goblin Rebellion before they were ultimately finished–before my skills as an author had been honed properly. The thousands of dollars I had put into editing and artwork were not enough to save those inadequacies and that’s a truly sobering thought–that no one, even someone who specializes in fixing authors, can save the work but myself at this point. Which means that, ultimately, I will probably have to redo most of Lucifer’s Odyssey or simply move on to other projects. The compromise at this point is to complete at least the first trilogy of the Primal Patterns to give readers some closure.

Of all the stages of the writing process, editing is by far the most arduous. You’ve put your ideas out on a medium, and like taking an idea out of Plato’s Forms, the implementation is flawed because you, the instrument, are flawed. And because you are the instrument of that realization of the idea, you are hopelessly inept at seeing and fixing the flaws. You almost have to have another expert come by and fix your instrument–the mechanism for which you bring idea to reality–or, and more likely in my case, you have to learn how to fix your own process of realization.

Anyway, I’m back to editing right now. The next step will be continuing the story of the Primal Patterns, closing up the trilogy, and moving on to a different story–hopefully one that has some chance of reaching a broader audience.

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About Rex Jameson
Rex Jameson is the author of two novels Lucifer’s Odyssey and The Goblin Rebellion and half a dozen short stories. An avid history buff and an unabashed nerd with an appetite for science fiction and fantasy, he loves to create complex speculative fiction with layered characters. He earned a PhD in Computer Science at Vanderbilt University and researches distributed artificial intelligence in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. Rex and his wife Jenny live in Pittsburgh where they enjoy hosting family and friends.

2 Responses to What a long, strange trip it’s been!

  1. Lisa says:

    I’m not sure why you are so down on yourself as an author, but I found Lucifer’s odyssey to be great!! I loved the writing, the ideas, and especially how you threw in sarcasm and light banter right in with the more serious parts. This book was really well done and kept me engaged and reading. Finished it in two days. I really hope you continue writing. I want to see how the series ends. You’re a great author! Keep up the good work. I loved your book!

    • Rex Jameson says:

      Has anyone told you lately that you’re awesome? No? Well, they should :D! Thanks for the compliments, Lisa!

      I am working on the next book. I just take comments/critiques/reviews very seriously as I think they’ll help me become a better author. There were a few things about Lucifer’s Odyssey that seemed to cause frustration for many readers: not enough internal thoughts, the “tonal” differences (which people who complain about this universally hated Sariel–whom is actually one of my favorite characters), and the fact that the immortals just sort of go about killing millions without feeling as much remorse as they think a human would. I don’t want to go too far in the wrong direction, but the first chapter of the Goblin Rebellion set the direction the series has been taking in the third book as well. Routan has a good bit of internal dialogue, and for better or worse, the 2nd book is a bit more serious. That was a result of a few things: Sariel growing up because he has so many responsibilities now, the trials the two brothers go through and what happens to people they love, and the physical and mental exhaustion of the primary characters.

      The third book is a bit more meta than either of the other two. Shadows of our Fathers is about the repercussions of both our mentors and the people we try hard not to emulate. Sariel is very central to the third book, but he’s also trying hard to be responsible. Humor’s there too, and he can’t change his innate silliness, but he’s a lot more careful with his life and those of his loved ones (well, except for one glaring blind spot with Kisha). Unlike the 2nd book, where the characters are so busy thwarting obvious threats in the Elven Realm and an army on their doorsteps, the 3rd book has the main characters immersed in too much time on their hands (especially Kisha and Sariel) and combined with demon traditions, they get into and cause a lot of trouble. The third book has more humor but also tragedy and a lot of hope. In that way, it should mirror the first book in tone and feel at the end.

      I don’t want to give away too much though ;D! Just know that I am still working on it, but because it has so many layers of meaning, it’s taking a bit more time to plan (and I’m a bit busy in real life). I’ve also been making progress on the Winter Phenomenon, and am in the process of a rewrite of that work. It’s a much more human story, and I think people will connect with it a lot.

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