Yesterday I flouted responsibility and didn’t write a single first draft word, instead going back (again, just can’t keep away from this one) to Codename: Fantasy Losers, which is no longer codenamed Fantasy Losers–or, indeed, anything! I’ve found a proper name for it, the breakthrough occurring (as usual) after I sat down with a nice fresh text file entitled ‘Possible Titles’ and did my usual ‘anything goes no matter how lame or embarrassing’ brainstorming schtick (because there’s no bad ideas when you’re brainstorming). What I realised is that what I wanted was a kind of anime/manga/gameish kind of name, something slightly odd, even ‘off’, but which made more sense the more one thought about it, and which would gain a deeper meaning and stronger identity as the reader progressed through the story.
And so, after a few non-starters, I stumbled upon a concept that, with a little refinement, ended up becoming:
So yes, Bright Battle Story: Tactics Heart. To be honest I was surprised there isn’t already an obscure Japanese SRPG called “Bright Battle Story/Saga/Soul” or “Tactics Heart” but nope, totally up for grabs! So I’m claiming it. Or them. Look, you know what I mean. In any case, going with the anime theme I then spent a very happy few hours making ‘eyecatches’ to insert between chapters:
Getting them to show clearly and nicely in greyscale was kind of a fun challenge. Anyway, after all that title-and-eyecatch faffery I felt more keen than ever about this project–and still do! It’s going to be a fun book, I haven’t even started writing it and I’m already enjoying myself far too much. My feeling is that although it won’t be overly long it’s not really a NaNovel, so I may start outlining soon and save Time Is But The Stream for NaNo (another one I can’t keep away from, every time I start writing notes I keep slipping into fun dialogue between the two main characters). And it’s more likely than not that I’ll have yet ANOTHER idea when November actually rolls around, so I don’t know, for now I’ll just keep writing lots of notes and try to focus long enough to finish the first draft of Against Darker Days. Resonance books, I have discovered/realised/decided, take a year to write. On and off. With breaks. Doing other things in-between. But a solid year. There’s too much in them to just storm through and call them done.
But anyway! Current plan is to have both Tactics Heart and TIBTS (seriously, thank goodness for that ‘but’) published before the end of the year, which will smoothly put me in the position of having ten books out, hurrah! It’s interesting with these two, I feel that TIBTS has some inherent appeal and may find an audience, but Tactics Heart is so niche and (let’s face it) odd that it could (eventually, in like a year or two) break out and be my biggest book or just sink into eternal obscurity, entertaining no one but myself. Either way I’m good, but I’m looking forward to seeing what happens. I think there is an audience for something that explores the conventions and interesting things about SRPGs and so on within the context of an underdog sports story, but it shouldn’t be a novel. It should be a webcomic. But! I can’t draw and can’t afford to pay someone to do it for me, so a novel it is. After it breaks out and becomes wildly popular, THEN I can have it adapted into a comic. And a cartoon! And then an actual game, ah, that’d be hilarious and awesome. (Hilawerisome.)
Is anyone else enjoying being an indie author as much as me? Sometimes I wonder, it doesn’t seem possible.