Follow Your Muse

Monday night, I was emptying the dishwasher when I had an errant vision of an old man stuck in a diner during a zombie outbreak. In a matter of moments, the whole story unraveled in my head as Everett Hart told me his story. I had just finished the first draft of a short story that I'd been tapped to write for an anthology coming out, I think, around this spring/summer. I was intent to dive back into my sci-fi novel, already in progress and put on hold for a month while I wrote for the anthology, and had spent the better part of the day trying to get myself situated again in that world. And then Everett Hart showed up, and he had a story to tell.

Yesterday, I finished Everett's story. Well, the first draft at any rate. Let Go is currently out to a couple beta readers, one of whom already wrote back to tell me it's great and that he liked it a lot (Thank you, David!). It still needs some polishing and editing, and I'm curious to see what the feedback is going to be like as I move onto the second draft in a short while.

At the moment, it's an 8500 word piece. I like it. Quite a bit, actually. The story itself is a bit of a change of pace for me; it's a quiet horror story, far less bombastic than some of my recent stuff. The zombies are really ancillary to the whole thing, although their inclusion marks my first foray into the zombie genre. It's a far cry from Consumption, in terms of violence and bloodletting, and is much more reflective, if not completely gentle at all times.

The words came surprisingly easy, which can be both a burden and a fairly good problem to have. Not all those words are keepers, obviously... Once I let it rest for a bit and have properly detached myself from the work, I'll be able to be a bit more clinical and give it a proper second pass before turning it over to my editor.

I feel, though, that this is one of those stories I wouldn't have been able to write at any other time. There was an urgency to it needing to be told, and I was in some particular spots emotionally that helped compel me through this. I had to follow this particular muse immediately. If I would have waited until my current WIP was finished, I think the story would have been remarkably different, and perhaps would have risked my needing to tell it at all. Had I waited, Let Go may have simply been let go of. Muses can be funny like that.

I'll have more to say on this later, I'm sure. Keep an eye out for news as things take on a more permanent shape. The release date is still very much TBA, but hopefully there won't be too long of a wait. And if you want to check out the story a bit earlier than everyone else, as soon as it's ready and the ebook is finalized, but before it goes on sale, might I suggest signing up to this mailing list for an advanced copy?

Now to rediscover my sea legs and get back to work on...well, you'll see. Eventually.

Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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