Blog Hop: The Next Big Thing

I got roped into participating in a blog hop, courtesy of the very talented Melanie, aka Ink Out Loud. If you haven’t read or subscribe to her blog, do so right now. She’s exactly the kind of young, gifted, go-getting writer and actress and all-around creative type that’s going places.

God, I hate go-getters.

At any rate, Melanie asked if I’d participate in this blog hop thingy, wherein I’d answer 10 questions in relation to my work-in-progress, and I’d agree to post my answers in a separate blog. Additionally, I am to keep this blog hop going by tagging five other bloggers/writers who are also in the midst of pulling their hair writing during NaNoWriMo.

(Regarding the tagging thing, there are so many great blogging writers I’m a fan of, so picking 5 isn’t as easy as it seems. So, instead, if you’re reading this, and you want to participate, let me know in the Comments section below, and I’ll send you the instructions on what do to. Okay?)

Alright, here goes me making an ass of myself. As always…


Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

1. What is the working title of your book?

There are several working titles for my book, depending on what mood I’m in when I’m writing. So far, “The Trouble With Superheroes,” “The Book of Daniel,” and “Crazy Like a Superhero” are the ones I’m considering.

PS: I hate coming up with titles.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Two main ideas converged: the first idea for the book came from a conversation I was having with my wife about working in a corporate (white-collar) setting, like we both do, and riffing on ideas on how to make working in the corporate world more absurb. I threw in an idea about superheroes working in a corporate setting, and suddenly the idea became a pretty amusing satire, sort of X-Men meets The Office, complete with workplace drama and people you hate working with/for.

The second idea is more personal. Having dealt with depression most of my adult life, I’m in a contemplative mood recently, and I’ve put a lot of thought into what it means to be something bigger and better to those you love. Being more heroic, so to speak. The novel is a rumination into this: an examination on what it means to be a hero, a superhero, and whether we have it in us to be that kind of person.

The protagonist is someone who’s clearly heroic, yet he’s emotionally and psychologically fragile. He’s got that inflated sense of self and that massive ego that comes from being a superhero, but he’s prone to fits of mania and depression that ultimately leave him in a state of psychological paralysis. His internal conflict, along with the external conflicts, are what he’s to face throughout the novel.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

I would think it falls somewhere between literary fiction and genre. I have much respect for genre, but I also feel there’s a lot of constraints to genre; it can feel somewhat formulaic, even if the formula’s guaranteed to work. I’m trying to write something that blends the demands of genre with the freedom of literary fiction.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Come back to me when my agent’s negotiated a film deal.

Honestly, I haven’t put any thought into this. The protagonist, and the supporting characters – his ex-wife, his best friend/sidekick, his arch-nemesis, are aged between their late-30s and early 40’s. Plus, the protagonist is more than your typical one-dimensional superhero; he’s undergoing an emotional and psychological breakdown, so an actor who can be both action-oriented and plumb into some internal dark territory is a must.

So maybe Robert Downey Jr. would be perfect in the lead role, but he’s already got that Iron Man/Tony Stark thing going, so no sense in him repeating himself.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I don’t think a one-sentence synopsis will give this novel the summary it deserves, but here goes:

A superhero comes to the bitter realization that he may be a hero to many, but a lousy person to others – especially his ex-wife – and his abrupt retirement sets off a series of events that culminates in a final confrontation with the one enemy he fears the most: himself.


6. If you plan to publish, will your book be self-published or published traditionally?

I haven’t put much thought into how the book will be published yet, just like I haven’t researched agents or publishers yet. I would prefer traditional publishing, whether it’s one of the big houses, or an independent publisher, but I’m very open to self-publishing.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’ve been in first-draft mode for a while, but I finally completed the bare bones draft (you can call it a first draft) this past June. Currently, I’m on the second or third draft, depending on what day it is.


8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

A few books come to mind. Watchmen, of course, as its quite possibly the finest graphic novel ever published, and an excellent examination on the significance of the superhero mythology. Kingdom Come is another one that comes to mind.

Lowboy is another, a remarkable novel about a sixteen-year-old boy who’s convinced that the world is coming to an end, and only he can save the world. The thing is, he’s a paranoid schizophrenic. There are some elements in my novel that I’ve picked up from Lowboy.

I’m a big fan of Junot Diaz and Michael Chabon; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay are two books I’ve had in mind while writing this novel.

Finally, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, simply for the reason that Gaiman is one of the few writers that can marry the demands of genre (horror, fantasy, sci/fi) with the breadth and scope of literary fiction, especially character development, along with a keen and wicked sense of humor and a love for pop culture.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

As I mentioned before, my wife’s been a catalyst; she’s not a writer, and frankly, sometimes my writing gets in the way of things, but she’s been as supportive as a spouse can be, even if she does find my need to write perplexing at times.

I’m also inspired by Super, a novel by a dear friend of mine named Aaron Dietz. His is an experimental and deeply hilarious take on becoming a superhero, and you should read it, only because I told you to do so. Seriously, read it. You won’t be disappointed.

I’ve been surrounded by many friends who are also writers. The immensely talented and very supportive Bud Smith, for example. I love his writing, and his approach to writing. His support for my writing, along with the support from other writing friends, have been very important and inspirational to me.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s got plenty for anyone to be interested in it: a love story (your classic boy-meets-girl, boy-and-girl-marry-then-divorce, boy-tries-to-win-girl-back), plenty of drama, conflict, and action, loads of satire, tons of humor and snappy dialogue – lots of pop culture riffing – and much to think about from a philosophical standpoint.


So there you have it. Hopefully I’ve piqued your interest. In the meantime, I’m going to continue gnashing my teeth and wrestling this WIP into something readable.

Thanks for reading.

17 thoughts on “Blog Hop: The Next Big Thing

  1. Hey Gus –
    Been following you since a little before NaNo…saw you name on the IWSG site. Really enjoy your stuff and have felt your pain this month. Great post the other day, and interesting answers to your WIP interview.

    My WIP is my NaNo book, about 66% done. Looks like I might be hitting the 50K (but the book will still need to be finished, as I’m only halfway through the planned outline).

    I’d be glad to do the hop. I have a few friends I’d like to point this way anyway.

    Good continued luck with Naners.

  2. Reblogged this on H.E. ELLIS and commented:
    I am elbows deep in writing Reapers With Fangs, the second book in the Reapers With Issues series, so I haven’t had much time for blogging. Here’s a blog post by blogfriend Gus, who besides having a kick ass name, is one hell of a writer. I see good things to come in his future. Make sure you take a moment to go check him out.

  3. Gus, I’d be happy to do the blog hop, if I can figure out how it all works 🙂 And I’ll go check out Melanie’s blog, though I’m with you–highly motivated and productive people are probably evil.

  4. Looks like a good read, ML! Monty should be careful–he seems in a good position to run afoul of the Ninja Librarian!

    Here’s a question for you–do you think that you are succeeding in getting your YA readers to your blog? I guess you have a better chance of that than I do, with my audience of 4th graders and their grandparents–neither one being noted for reading blogs. But I have fun, so. . .

    • Rebecca…just went over to check you out. Sounds like a great sequel!

      The question you pose has been tossed around the blogosphere left and right…how to attract our readers – our desired demographic – to our blogs? What I’ve figured out is that they’re only going to search for me once they really want something…info on me, or on my book, or to say “Hi” because they’ve become a fan. So I’ve got to give them that first. A little fame would help.

      My demo is 13 – 20…and what I do to be known, at least locally, is hit the bricks and do readings of my work…shorts, poems…at the local schools and library, meanwhile, pitching the book. You have the perfect venue to do it…you can be “The Reading Lady,” and set aside an hour a week at the Brary. Have business cards with your website. People will come, Ray…go the distance.

  5. Pingback: Next Big Thing – Blog Hop « duffybarkley

  6. ML, I can’t use my library for a regular reading (I’m a peon and don’t usually get to do that sort of thing, though my library is very supportive and stocks my bookmarks and lets me sell books there). But I reach out to the schools and have had great fun doing readings. My demo is more upper elementary (YA doesn’t have as much interest–the book would be good at that age, but lacks werewolves, vampires, and snogging, so there’s less interest).

    Ironically, my ability to visit and read at local schools is complicated by the fact that I’m on the school board–have to be careful there’s no sense of using that position, etc. I’m reaching out more to nearby school districts.

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