Gene Doucetteis creating Creating Fiction
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In addition to seeing all the new fiction, with this tier you'll get, one or two times a month, something I'm calling meta-commentary. If you want to know how I came up with a name, or why I designed a city/religion/planetary system a certain way, this is where you'll find that.
Gene Doucette here. I’m a SF/F novelist—sometimes either/or, sometimes both at once, depending on the book.
In fantasy, I'm best-known for the Immortal novels, and novellas. It’s a fairly large collection of series books revolving around the life and times of one oft-drunk immortal man.
The science fiction is a little more complicated. I have two books (the Fixer series) about guy who can see a rolling five seconds into the future. I call it complicated because there has been some crossover between this series and the Immortal universe, which just means when it comes to branding my novels as either science fiction or fantasy, I suck. (Also, non-trivially, there is no magic in my fantasy books, so crossover isn’t a huge problem.) I also have a standalone science fiction book called Unfiction, which is technically six genres in one book. Again, I suck at branding.
The two other science fiction books currently under my name are The Spaceship Next Door, and its sequel, The Frequency of Aliens. TSND was picked up by John Joseph Adams Books (an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and republished in 2018. It’s easily my most successful novel, and also the most likely explanation for how you’ve heard of me before, if you’ve heard of me before.
So that’s who I am, but not why I’m here on Patreon. I’m here because I have an idea.
About this Patreon
I’d like to create my own planet.
I came to this realization sometime after I invented the Massachusetts town of Sorrow Falls for The Spaceship Next Door. I love Annie Collins and everyone else from Sorrow Falls, but I think I had more fun creating the relevant pieces of the town’s history than I did any other part of the novel.
I want to do more of that, but on a much larger scale, and not just for a couple of books: as many as I feel like writing. I’m looking to create an enduring planet, solar system, and corner-of-the-universe all my own.
But doing that requires a tremendous amount of pre-work. I have no problem with doing all of that—I’m very much looking forward to it—but I learned long ago that I’m almost entirely incapable of writing things without an audience.
I have always been this way. I’ve started more journals than I can count, and not one goes deeper than a day or two before I give up. Example: in high school, when my English teacher made journaling our homework, assignment completion included handing in those journals so she could provide feedback. Every one of my entries was addressed to her, my one reader. It was the only way I’d ever finish the assignments.
Likewise, I don’t outline any of my fiction ahead of time. (In the vernacular, I’m a pantser and not a plotter. These are reductive, and unreasonably binary, but there you go.)This is in part because I am terrible about writing anything where I know that much about the ending already, and in part because—as with journaling—nobody will ever read the outline.
So I can’t outline, if I want to finish it. But what I can do is establish the background, in great detail, and worry later about what plots fit within that background. In other words, I can go about writing stories by the seat of my pants (hence: pantser) all I want, while working within the already-built playground of this created universe.
That solves the outline problem. But inventing an entire planet will necessitate a whole bunch of writing, a lot of which may never end up getting read. I already know if I’m writing something, and I’m the only one who’s ever going to read it, it’s not getting written.
And that’s one reason why we're here. I want to create a planet, but I need readers or it won’t happen.
Another reason? Time and money.
Taking on a project this large is that it will eat up a lot of my time that I would otherwise have to spend on the 'publish-or-die' ethos that's a reality in the life of an indie author.
Right now, I’m balancing two writing careers at once: that of an indie/self-published author, and that of a traditionally published author. The latter means bringing manuscripts to a publisher once a year, tops. The former (the publish-or-die indie approach) means putting out a new novel two or three times a year. There isn’t a lot of freedom built into that calendar for long-term world-building on a relaxed schedule, especially since I’m also holding down a full-time job.
So another reason for doing this is to defray the cost of not publishing, not right away, not before I’ve made the new planet as rich as it has to be. I have a plot in my head already. It’s between three and seven books long. The difference in total books will come down to how much I can fill in about the planet before I start writing the story. Likewise, I'll be able to write those books faster if I've done a lot of world-building ahead of time.
What I’m offering to first tier patrons is between 2-4 new entries per month (let’s say 250-500 words each, but they’ll probably come out longer, much like this introduction) on some aspect of the planet. Second tier, I'll write 1-2 times a month (or more) short meta-commentary on what I wrote and why.
The higher tiers will be for fans of my writing, in general. I'll share sample chapters, and advance review copies of new books before they're published.
I'm not doing this to raise a specific amount of money per month. I may, in the future, introduce short-term fund-raising events, but for now, I'm just looking to defray the cost of living, while I work on this project. Beyond that? Well, here's some hypothetical financials.
- $1000-$2000 per month: a little breathing room. I can probably write more meta-commentary essays in addition to the monthly fiction
- $4000 per month: I can't quit my day job, but market fluctuations will no longer be existential threats
- $10000 per month: I can quit my day job (probably) and write a LOT more often
If 'quit the day job' is in reach, that'd be fantastic. I don't expect to get there any time soon, but I'm looking forward to being proven wrong.