What's the definition of "insane optimist"? A first-time novelist.
But seriously, if a new fiction writer spent years taking workshops, being published by literary journals, and placing in competitions, then agents and publishers should give them consideration, right? Well, no.
To be clear, I'm talking about commercial publishing here, not the small regional presses printing books of a rare or experimental tone. In Canada, a system of government grants subsidizes these elevated outfits, and other countries promote their own artists and culture with similar programs. These firms have their own criteria and networks. What follows below doesn't, broadly speaking, apply to them.
Sol Fitzgerald is angry. A 24-year-old janitor at a private school, he's also an alcoholic. And he recently spent two years in prison for aggravated assault. All these characteristics and events are not his fault: they're the effects of sexual abuse he suffered from ages nine to twelve.
As a main character in my novel Crimes of Disrespect, Sol's bubbling hostilities and criminal record put him on the suspect-list early in the investigation of a double murder. By necessity, he looks into the incident, in which he himself had found two bodies in the quadrangle of Woodmore Academy, the elite high school where he works.
In The Only Good Indians, Stephen Graham Jones marries the horror genre with an indigenous slant to storytelling and theme. So, the book succeeds as a chilling horror story but also a meditation on respect and compassion for animals: I found it hard, emotionally, to read the character Lewis's initial killing of a young elk. That scene wasn't overdone, just unflinching in its details.
Here's a handful of other fiction elements that really work in The Only Good Indians: Standard third person point of view tells most of the story, but Jones's judicious use of second person viewpoint (narration with "you," not "he/she" or "I") for the elk-spirit was deliciously creepy:
This is my blog, welcome to it. Admission: over the years, I've probably had a half-dozen blogs; they've each lasted for three posts -- or perhaps six, at best.
But I will regularly write here. I will! It'll take more discipline than I had as a schoolchild; goofy, Hardy-Boys-obsessed kid that I was.
Part of the reason I've found a blog hard to maintain was my vlogging, which I was doing around 2018, under the channel title Write Ideas on YouTube: www.youtube.com/rbyoung.