Monday, February 04, 2019

letting the cat out of the bag re: book projects

It's common wisdom among writers that you're not supposed to spill the beans about whatever project you're working on because this somehow jinxes the process. I recall opening up about Water from a Skull* when I was working on it, and I don't seem to remember suffering any ill karmic effects from talking about the project. That said, I can see why authors say it's unwise to discuss a work in progress: people start to pour in their unsolicited opinions, and it becomes hard for the artist to do his work. While I have no right to compare myself to a titan like George R. R. Martin, I'm sure he feels just this sort of pressure from "fans" who not-so-subtly hint that he needs to finish his A Song of Ice and Fire series before he keels over and dies. (Author Stephen R. Donaldson got the same sort of flak from "fans" worried that he might die before finishing his Final Chronicles of Thomas Covenant tetralogy.)

Anyway, let it be known that 2019 is The Year of the Book Project for yours truly, and the project I'm currently working on is similar in spirit to what I had done with Water from a Skull, i.e., it's a collection of my blog writing. In this case, it's a massive compendium of my movie reviews from 2019 to however far back in time these reviews go (title pending). This is a positively gargantuan project, and merely collecting the reviews has been a project in itself. Thus far, I've gone as far back as January of 2017, and I already have 99 files. Some of those files contain one-paragraph reviews, but most of the reviews run over two pages in length, which means I already have hundreds of pages of material to slog through. Over the years, I suspect I've written thousands of pages' worth of movie and book reviews, and I'll be including some of the latter in the collection.

What I'm likely to do is winnow away the reviews that I'm least proud of. I'm not sure how I'm going to do this yet, but I'll probably begin by creating a "sacred cow" list of reviews that absolutely must go into the compilation. Then, from the other end, I'll weed out reviews that, upon rereading, both make me cringe and seem unworthy of rewriting. That ought to eliminate quite a few reviews right there. Whatever reviews remain will be ranked according to my subjective assessment of their merit, and they'll be kept or discarded accordingly. By the time I'm actually ready to work on formatting the text for a print-on-demand PDF file, it'll be springtime. I'll finish reformatting by the end of summer, add illustrations for each chapter by the end of fall, create cover and spine designs by early winter and, I hope, have a final product ready for POD upload at some e-publisher (not sure where yet) by December. If I can get all this done before that month, that'll be great, but I'm not expecting to be done early. If anything, this project might bleed into 2020.

My second book project, which I might not even get to this year, will involve creating a self-study textbook of English grammar aimed at US college students and titled Dirty Grammar. The pedagogical approach will actually follow a fairly standard, unoriginal template, but the tone of the book will be utterly filthy and obscene, in the hopes that raunchy humor will make the lessons—ahem—easier to swallow. I want this book to become something of an underground hit, a kind of forbidden fruit, and there's a good chance I'm going to catch flak from PC-minded idiot scolds who object to associating good grammar with flying gobs of semen and dripping pussy juices. If this book becomes the hit that I hope it will, I might be able to reside in Korea without having to work at a Korean company (assuming the Korean government doesn't catch on and toss me out on my ear for being naughty). That, or I might be able to work part-time. Big dreams, I know, but we'll see how things go.

*I can't link to my book on CafePress anymore because, tragically, CafePress no longer produces publish-on-demand books. My book, along with thousands of others, was quietly taken down. Until I re-upload the book, then, it's going to languish in e-publishing limbo.


John Mac said...

You are one of the best reviewers I've read, so good luck with that project.

As to your second project it's sounds funny as hell. Unfortunately you target audience appears to have lost all sense of humor. I think you are right about the potential PC landmines. Still, I think it is a worthwhile effort...sort of an underground effort to resist the scolds and get woke in a good way.

All the best!

Kevin Kim said...

Muchas Jerry Garcias, John.