Monday, February 17, 2014

The Good Kind of Curse

I am on the edge of releasing my charity Sword & Sandals novel BLESS THE CHILD. 100% of the profits will be going toward the Hannah's Hope Fund in so doing I am hoping for both a good amount of press and funds to get to the charity for the sake of research etc, and of course I should like some good karma coming my way for the effort.
I've wondered at the what if? of my lead character and story actually becoming popular enough that a sequel is asked for. Do I want that?

Of course I do.

There is not a sequel planned as yet, it is a standalone novel, I've learned a lesson by having my first novel HEROES OF THE FALLEN end on a cliffhanger and its not something I wish to do again.

But again with the question. What If something is popular and you have to write to it? Robert E. Howard certainly had that problem with Conan the Cimmerian. Had Mr. Howard not suffered an untimely death there would have been a clamor for him to write more Conan stories and yet some scholars have suggested he wanted to leave the Barbarian behind and concentrate on his westerns. I for one enjoy the westerns but hunger for more tales of the Hyborian age over those of Breckenridge Elkins.

Farnsworth Wright, the editor of Weird Tales magazine turned down the notion of any one else writing Conan pastiches for his magazine after the famed authors death even though this would have been a continuing golden egg - it certainly was L. Sprague deCamp.

Other writers have had this conundrum too, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, another Conan! His Sherlock Holmes stories grew wildly popular once he went from novella to short story form until he reached a point of not being able to keep up with with the deadlines of what he deemed low brow entertainment.

I feel for his notion that it was not his best work, but it is what the people wanted. Several years after supposedly killing off Holmes, he had to bring him back. All in all it probably helped the Holmes stories to stay top notch, giving a break and letting people hunger for them rather than becoming routine and formulaic. It effectively increased Holmes immortality.
The Sherlock Holmes enduring popularity is the classic example of a good kind of curse for the writer - one that torments you BUT keeps you in demand, working and making a living.

Would that all of us writers could have that kind of commercial curse.

6 comments:

Angie said...

It could be a two edged sword for sure. Can't wait to read Bless the Child!

Keith West said...

Will this one be available in ebook?

David J. West said...

Thanks Angie, should be very very soon, it is finally completely done - just formatting and such is left for release.

Yes, Keith first and foremost, print soon to follow.

Charles Gramlich said...

Yeah, I could use a little of that curse right now. mostly seems no one cares if I write or don't.

Paul R. McNamee said...

Good luck with the launch!

David J. West said...

True that Charles. We just gotta keep plugging away.

Much appreciated Paul!