At the end of my last Grimsbury post, I wondered out loud about what Grimsbury would ultimately be. Fiction? An RPG? Something else entirely? I think I’ve come up with the answer. To get to it, I’m going to have to tell a small story.
Once Upon a Time
Two years ago, I started a novel. I was at my girlfriend’s place, bored or sad or wistful or all of them combined, and I said out loud that I wished I were writing another novel. She, as many people who are not inside of a writer’s head are able to do, spoke common sense. “Then why don’t you write one?”
I’m a bundle of insecurities. Sometimes. Most times. It’s hard to get past the point of “oh, but what if I mess up, what if it’s not good enough?” I have to work to remember that revising is a thing. A good thing. Something that takes the dreck and makes it more. That day, I let go of my fears and started writing.
Urban fantasy. Book about a man who’s dead, a ghost. Where ghosts are the combined memories that a dead person is able to hold onto as they cross over. A book where this ghost could kill other ghosts. Erase their memories, erase them. Permadead. I also wanted it to be about this man’s family, about the punk scene he’d been part of, about the nature of memories and belief. Something with a sense of place, of culture, of realness. And I wanted a different mythology. Not the usual gods and legends. I wanted bone spirits, memory ghosts, magic.
Anyway, fast-forward a year or so, and the first draft is done. Fast-forward another year or so, and I’ve done next to no revisions on that draft. In going back, I’ve found a tire fire. A dumpster heap of a book. Something that would take a monumental effort to salvage.
Maybe that’s not all true, but it’s how I feel looking at it.
When I typed out those ideas above, they sang to me. Memory ghosts. Bone spirits. Family and belief. A sense of place.
That brings us back to Grimsbury.
I like the ideas that I came up with for that novel, even if the execution makes me shudder to look at. I like what’s been happening with Grimsbury so far. It has that sense of place for me. It speaks to me. It feels like somewhere in the American South. Someplace with roots and history. Where people remember grudges, where family matters, and where being an outsider is a real thing.
I was sitting, trying to figure out what Grimsbury would become, and some of the ideas from that novel draft slipped into my mind. I saw the memory ghosts moving around Oldtown. Heard the bone spirits clicking and clattering in the dark spaces around Grimsbury. I could feel the lines of power and magic coming from the trailer park. I smelled the stink of burning blue rock coming from unexpected (and totally expected) homes.
Grimsbury is going to be a fiction project, at least at first. I like the idea of a property with multiple uses. It’s likely there’ll be an RPG arm of this eventually. But fiction is where things are going to start.
That leads to a whole other set of questions. Questions about length of story, how the stories will link, or won’t, etc. Makes me happy to think about. I also know that how I present this stuff to the public will be a bit different for this project. I want to eventually pitch a book (or books) to an agent, try and get a traditional publishing deal. This is as good a place to start as any. That means that I’ll share the shorter fiction with Patreon supporters, but the longer form stuff will stay with me, as a lot of agents won’t look at something that’s been published already, in any form. That’s not a hard and fast rule, but it’s common enough.
For your part, you’ve seen some of Grimsbury. You’ve seen the connections. What kinds of stories do you want to see told? Which questions from last week are most interesting to you? Let me know!