Friday, September 23, 2011

Deliver Us from Evil... Underway!

Yes, the first book of Deliver Us from Evil has actually appeared on FanFiction.Net!  Well, to be precise, the first book has been online since the 1st of August.  Somehow, I never got around to making an announcement ‘til now—my blushes, Watson.

So!  This first installment is titled Mortality.  Rating is T.  Genres are Crime/Friendship (there are several genres into which the story could fit, I think, but these two seemed to be the best).  The main characters are listed as Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Lestrade.

Hold the ball!  Lestrade?  Why is Lestrade one of the two stars?  It’s not a pre-Watson story!

Well, dear reader, we’ll get to that in a minute.

The summary is as follows:
Late 1890: a young gentleman hires Sherlock Holmes to investigate his step-uncle, Culverton Smith. As Holmes digs deeper, he finds links to a powerful old enemy—and must come face to face with his own mortality. The first part in a series.
However, I’m thinking of changing that summary in order to draw more interest—the first nine installments have garnered only 22 reviews.  That, m’dears, is the worst review ration I’ve received in a long time—compounded by the fact that I’m getting about 100 hits per chapter.  A big shout-out to MadameGiry25 for her faithful and constructive reviews—and to VHunter07 and RachelG, as well, for their enthusiastic encouragement in their reviews!

Now, every story should be able to be condensed into one sentence—this is called a storyline, and it’s vital to getting a novel from the laptop screen to the bookstore shelves.  Here’s the current storyline (though I’m also going to rework this):
Late 1890: A murder investigation tangles Sherlock Holmes and those around him in a conflict that has been years in the making with a powerful enemy.
So how about this for the FF.N summary:
In November 1890, a murder investigation sparks off a chain of events that will end at a Swiss waterfall. Scotland Yard and Watson struggle to stop Moriarty’s most devastating plan: the destruction of Sherlock Holmes. First in a series.
Sound good?  Now, how about this for the storyline:
Scotland Yard and Dr. John Watson struggle to prevent the goal of London’s greatest crime lord: the destruction of Sherlock Holmes.
So, let’s return to the little (forgive the irresistible pun) matter of Lestrade as one of the stars, and why he’s listed as one of the two main characters on FF.N.  Frankly, it’s all due to his “bulldog tenacity,” as Holmes so aptly puts it.  Lestrade committed himself early on in the story and has refused to stay off the stage since—he still doesn’t mind being the follower, but he’s pretty keen about seeing this mess through to the end.

The same can be said of Davy Wiggins, Holmes’s grown-up leader of the Baker Street Irregulars, but this young man is more than just tenacious—he’s positively fierce in his loyalty.

So where does Watson fit into all this?  I was asking myself that question for months, because he most definitely was not getting enough screen-time.  That wasn’t fair—after all, we wouldn’t have the Canon if not for Watson!  Of course, he’s had four scenes thus far in the FF.N version, but four scenes in eight chapters… yeah, a bit not good.  But with the way the story was shaping up, he didn’t seem to be absolutely necessary oftentimes, which was appalling.

Then inspiration struck.  Don’t ask me how exactly—even though it was only this past weekend, I’m no longer sure of how that lightbulb turned on in my brain.  It was the solution to both my dilemmas: that of less show than tell and less Watson.  Originally, about three weeks were glossed over.  No longer!  The train has left Paddington Station, and this author has just barely gotten aboard in time!

But I’m excited, and this turn of events should certainly excite you, dear reader!  One word: undercover.  Let’s just say that… we know Watson will go to the ends of the earth to find Holmes if he’s missing, right?

Last but not least, I had originally planned to get Mortality finished by Christmas and out on Kindle sometime this coming winter.  I say originally because my plans have changed since then, and my audience might have to wait a few months (or even a year!) longer than originally planned.  That’s because I may well try to get Deliver Us from Evil to a publisher.  AMM hasn’t made any sales this month, and sales in August were few and far between—i.e. self-publishing is not yet a viable means of making a living for myself.  (Kindle is currently my sole source of income.)  So I’m going to get Mortality finished and spit-polished and go through the torture of writing a query letter & proposal, etc. and see if I can sell an agent and/or acquisitions editor on the book.  If you know or know of any agents or publishers who would be interested in a Sherlockian pastiche, please let me know!

Weeell, that’s all for now, folks!  Please keep track of Mortality, and please let me know what you think of it!  A little encouragement would not be amiss.

MORT status: 13 out of 20+ complete.