Asteroid Made of Dragons: First Read Impressions

Banana cover

I’m a little muddled honestly. I think it’s a stronger book than my last, but I don’t have the same feeling of certainty after the first read. Maybe because this book has a LOT more moving parts? I feel like it all works, the baseline mechanics of it all, and some scenes really shine, and the end really surprised me? It makes me deeply happy, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t what I expected it to be.

I think it may just be a matter of form. Riddle Box was a murder mystery and that structure is a joy to inhabit — AMOD follows a three-act structure with a meta-narrative frame and all sorts of weird  hyper-narrative threads that shoot off all sorts of places. I like them! I want them to be there! But I guess it’s hard to quite feel it all settle in my head quite yet. RB was a dark lance to the heart, AMOD is this strange spinning wind chime that looks different from every angle.

I’m also serving a lot of masters in this book – something that is giving me no undue amount of anxiety-knives in my spleen. As always, the book must deliver on its own merits – one episodic adventure served a la carte. But, I also want readers who’ve followed me from the first two books to find the threads and rewards there for them – BUT BUT this is a bigger debut for a larger audience with my new publisher, so I don’t want new readers to feel unwelcome or confused, I also need to introduce the world and my entire ethos in an exciting and palatable fashion, ALSO I need to set up some secrets and foreshadowing for things that will happen in later adventures ALSO ALSO AS WELL AS just frankly deliver on the fun of the premise.

I won’t say that this draft has succeeded on all of these fronts. I will say that it is in the process of getting there.

BULLETED LIST

  • The frame story really lands for me – not sure how betas and editor will feel, but I think it will be especially nice for readers of RB and still work thematically for new readers.
  • First act really cooks along – lots of fun, strong starts, distinct voice for each section. May also just be because it’s been the longest since I wrote this section, but I enjoyed first act the most.
  • Xenon is the best. Suck it, all you old characters. You bore me.
  • First Act feels a lot like Spell/Sword in the Jonas & Rime chapters – wacky battles and teen angst.
  • Second act feels lumpy. There’s a chapter that straight SUCKS. Just halting, charmless, and bad. All connective gristle. Lots of re-writing here and the whole second act – this is where the reader gets to spend time in Gilead, and I don’t want that to be wasted.
  • Third Act we’re back to ACTION, ticking clock, asteroid falling, all that – the mechanics and emotion all land fairly well, need to work through the rise and fall of some of the action sequences. There’s a sequence i’m calling ‘Rime Goes Boom’ that I need to muse over and play with, going to need feedback on that one to get it to sing properly.
  • Denouement makes me grin like a huge nerd, its the anime ending – I can already feel the wind of the next adventure blowing and it’s exciting and makes me happy, especially because the plan is to leave Aufero to its own devices for a while after AMOD.

So, a complicated reaction. Lots of work to be done. God I’m glad I’m not doing it alone.

If you aren’t already – follow the book’s progress on my Inkshares page – where you can BUY IT if you’d like, or just malinger in the shadows and watch it change and grow and get better and better until its too hot for you, just way the fuck out of your league.

Straydog Stammer

Coming back sometimes, flipping times like a rolodex

to my younger self, hammering away sans respect

to the idle box i’d be spamming and scratching

looking for fire with a match that wasn’t catching

stomp and stammer, praying for the manner

of device and craft, of thor’s fucking hammer

to break the wall of the world with my science

mjolnir’s breaking, now i got to try this

hustle and grease and the black knight’s deceased

trying to get more when the most is the least.

if i can just keep moving, keep rattling the wires

the solution will fall out, and my brain on the spires

now

i’m older and colder and Mulder and Scully

stomping on the ice, glass that i sully

with my whisper-gleams that i steal from the fabric

Hoppin and bopping and boosting the magic

easy to forget the eggs, the chicken and the box

which came first, doesn’t matter when the locks

you break are the locks you make

and the chains you snap are at the bottom of the lake

with the lady and the blade and the fool and his masquerade

while i’m sitting at tea with Death saying ‘pass the marmalade’

then

now

two mirrors looking back, and neither the wiser

my heart is a storm and my third eye’s a miser

but all that i have is two holes in my soul

punctured and engraved and bound in white gold

and sometimes they line, like a telescope made of pain

and all i can do is yammer and dance in the City of Rain

reaching back now, holding hands with a shadow

of me and me and my brain in the green window

hold on to me then, and i’ll hold on to you now

we can’t forget what and we never bow

thirteen devils singing on the mantel

five demons bound silver and vandal

flipping and flapping and laying down the lines

hoping and hopping that i don’t forget the rhymes

please forgive the memory still burns

sunlight and salt and what are the words?

i end this here, but howl all the same

straydog stammer remembers his name.