Hello, Rebels, and welcome back to my life.
So, one thing I wanted to do when I resurrected my daily vlog and started giving updates almost every day was to talk about my writing.
And then I started talking about life and philosophy and book reviews and stuff, and it’s all been great, but I realized that I totally stopped talking about writing—I mean the actual writing process, how I get from idea to finished book.
So I’m going to start reserving Fridays for talking about writing. And since it’s Friday today, today will be my first day of a weekly post about whatever I’ve done in the past week writing-wise.
So if you’ve been around you know that my writing has slowed down recently because I’ve been doing a lot more film projects and stuff. BUT I’m happy to announce that I’ve gotten back on the bandwagon. I’ve written every day for the last couple of weeks now, and all of it has been rewrites on sections of Rebel Yell, my next novel.
The reason I’ve had to rewrite, and why the novel isn’t already out to beta readers, is because I re-read the story and decided it was just much too simplistic.
For anyone who doesn’t already know, the story is about a guy named Steve, the lead singer of an indie rock band called Rebel Yell (hence the title). He’s offered a record deal by a big label, but first he has to ghostwrite an album of songs for their biggest act, a rock band called Hunger Strike fronted by lead singer Hayley Savage.
Steve takes the deal because he’s always wanted to sign with a big label, tour the world, all that good stuff, but at the same time he feels a little bit like he’s selling out. This is worsened by the fact that his lead guitarist, Tanya, has always thought they should independently record and distribute their stuff. She’s afraid of what the label will do to them if they make it mainstream—and she’s not wrong. Hayley Savage is also a big problem—like most big rockers, she’s heavily into drugs and alcohol, and between that and her naturally ethereal, eccentric personality, Steve finds her really hard to work with.
I want this book to deal with the issues of artists versus the artistic industries. I’m an indie artist, so obviously I lean a little bit in that direction, but I wanted to try and give an accurate portrayal of the whole picture. The reason I feel like it’s simplistic right now is that Hayley and the label are clearly bad, while Tanya is clearly good, and Steve is stuck somewhere in the middle trying to figure everything out.
While that makes for a compelling story in itself…it’s not an accurate representation of the story I’m trying to tell.
Simplistic good versus evil makes for great storytelling, and we’re able to learn a lot through stories that use that dichotomy, but it’s not how the world really works. There’s some good in even the most evil men, and some evil in even the best of us. In the case of this particular story, I’m definitely not setting out to make the point that artistic industries are evil. They’re not.
Even when they perpetuate inequality and systematize exploitation of some artists, it’s not because everyone there is oppressive and wants to squash the hope and dreams of artists. The problems with these industries come from a long evolution toward more profits and less creativity, which, yeah, has been instigated by some people who didn’t have the best intentions toward art, but was perpetuated by people who were just pulling their paychecks.
So it doesn’t work to have Lenny Bergner being some Snidley Whiplash twirling his mustache behind his desk while plotting to ruin Steve, or to have Hayley Savage be a bloodsucking sycophant trying to leech Steve’s creative energy. Because in reality, they’re just two people, one of them motivated by profit and the other by a loss of identity, and that’s what I’ve been going through and trying to rewrite into their characters.
In the end, Rebel Yell won’t be a blood-stirring fight of good versus evil like the Realm Keepers series, but I hope it will be true to real life and the struggles we all face as independent artists in whatever medium.
As soon as I’m done with this rewrite, I’ll be sending Rebel Yell out to beta readers and final revisions. BUT, if you just don’t want to wait any longer, I’ve finally made the hardcover available for pre-order!
Click on the book cover to pre-order it from Amazon. Please remember that this IS a pre-order, and you’ll be getting it in a few months time, in either July or August. I will be autographing all pre-orders at list price—afterwards, autographed copies will cost extra.
That’s my writing update for the week, Rebels. I hope you enjoyed it. And I’ll see you on Monday. Byyye.