Today, I have the challenge to provide the backstory and goals for The Shrine War, my currant work in progress (WIP).
In May, 2016, I was asked my anthologist Fred Patten to provide a story for his upcoming collection, Dogs of War. After a lot of discussion, we decided I would write a tale about a band of kitsune defending their shrine from a band of invading inugami.
However, after I was done with the negotiations, I realized I knew nothing about Japan and very little about its mythology. I cannot tell you how many books I have purchased and read and the amount of info I have scoured in my desperate attempt to make The Shrine War as accurate as I could.
The story took me a total of three months and 24 days (or 116 days total) to complete the first draft. Fred accepted the story, but I had fallen so much in love with my characters that I went back to the story and expanded it with subtle changes. I had a number of people read the rough draft and make excellent comments and by the time I was finished with the expanded vision, it had turned into a 12,000 word novella.
|A possible cover design.|
At that point I decided to turn the work into a braided novel with three independent novellas that when read in order told a much greater story.
I started The Inugami in January, 2017. In this story, American Kelly Robbins moves to Tokyo to begin her studies at the Toyko University. Renting a small house, she learns that an inugami resides under the crawl space. I finished the 13,000 word story in April of this year and immediately dove into the third installment, Incident at a Japanese Inn where I bring all the characters together in the first two tales and wrap up all the loose ends.
I confess I'm having a difficult time with the third part of the novel as there are some characters that will meet an untimely end as they join together to battle a great evil and I am struggling to, quoting Stephen King, "kill my darlings."
Nonetheless, I have made a commitment to focus on the work for the month of October and submit it for review to a close group of friends in mid-November.
My goal? Simple. To have it published in 2019, and my hope is to obtain an agent for publishing through a traditional venture and not self-published as all my other work has been. Unfortunately, my first brush with an agent was very satisfactory as she behaved in a very unprofessional manner and once burnt, twice shy. Time will tell.