Of Caribbean Gothic and Observing One’s Own Life from the Outside

“People build something that works. Then circumstances change, and they have to tinker with it to make it continue to work, and they are so busy tinkering that they cannot see that a much better idea would be to build a whole new system to deal with the new circumstances. But to an outsider, the idea is obvious.” ~ Monstrous Regiment, by Terry Pratchett

I’m stable enough to start writing full time again. This doesn’t mean that I’m healed or cured or anything that fun—my illnesses are chronic, so we just have to learn to live with each other. By stable, I mean that I understand my ailments enough to know how much I can push and for how long. That’s as good as it gets (for now). There are days when my feet and hands hurt so much that I can barely concentrate. The same goes for the left side of my back, and my stomach.

But the pain no longer takes me by surprise. I’ve learned to identify the signs, to ready myself for the nasty kicks. When the pain is bad, but not quite killing me yet, I watch television in bed with my Piano Man, do house cleaning, blog, play with my books, complain, and do other fun things that don’t take tons of brain power. I use my good days for editing, rewriting, and for doing other bits that require concentration.

During one of my really good days—while battling with two storylines that didn’t seem to like each other much—I realized something: at the moment, my immune system and I don’t have enough consecutive good days to deal with the stress involved in independent publishing. So I started revising the novel I wanted to self-publish next year, in order to make it as agent worthy as I possibly could. The more I worked on it, the more I knew that I didn’t want to change anything about it. I got frustrated. After lots of arguing with myself, I set the novel aside and reread some Pratchett. I laughed really hard when I got to the quote at the beginning of this post. I took the words as a sign from my Knight Writer.

So yesterday, I asked Facebook friends to choose between Caribbean Gothic, Mythical Circus and Mythical Realities. I didn’t say why—but since I have super brilliant friends, they deduced that I was talking about stories to be written. The winning choice (by a rather healthy margin) was Caribbean Gothic. I had three ideas for new novels in my head. But like any word-mother, who loves all her children equally, I couldn’t pick one. Thank you for the help, my Wicked Luvs.

I shall start putting pen to paper (all right, fingertips to keyboard) on the morning of the 28th. I haven’t met all the characters yet. But I know the story’s beginning, two of the main conflicts, and most of the ending. And yes, I know the setting—a Dominican Republic (real and imagined) bursting with wonders, beauties and horrors.

There will probably certainly be mangoes, wild witchery, fighting, loving, and furious dancing.

Hard Times Require Furious Dancingdetail from the cover of Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, by Alice Walker

33 thoughts on “Of Caribbean Gothic and Observing One’s Own Life from the Outside”

  1. Thank you Magaly, I finally have something to look forward too after all that has gone on the past few months.

    I can’t wait to read what I am sure will be yet another masterpiece from my Wickedly Awesome Writer Friend.

    • I think after the last few months (in our lives and the world), we both need something new and wicked fun to look forward to. I plan to enjoy the process very much. It has been a while since I create a long work from beginning to end.

    • No novel is agent-worthy when it first leaves the writer’s head. I swear. We love our babies dearly, but they do not make much sense to the outside world. ^^

      • Diandra, is not the quality of work or anything like that. It’s the way the novel is written. I wrote it with a definite purpose in mind, and in order to present it, I would have to make some changes that I don’t quite care for. I want to have the chance, in the future, to do with it what I first imagined I would do… if that makes any sense.

    • Rosemary, perhaps agent-appropriate would have been a better phrase. I wrote that particular novel as an experiment, but I wouldn’t be able to follow through with what I intended when I wrote it. Not the way things are right now. So I want to wait for when I can. When the time comes, I sale as is… and continue with my original idea.

  2. I’m with Rosemary on this one, maybe your novel is agent-worthy. Could you perhaps try agents with the novel you planned to self-publish, before or as you work on the new one. I know very well the stress of both independent and traditional publishing. All the best…xx

    • In order to make this novel work on its one, I would have to make some drastic changes. I don’t want to. At least not if I don’t have to. I rather wait and do what I plan to do with it from the beginning. If the time comes when that seems impossible, then we’ll see then… As things are right now, nothing keeps me from working on something else first.

    • That would have been grand if I wanted to change it. But I don’t want to, lol! But be sure that when the time comes, those co-readers will get more than a nudge. *cough, cough, cough*

  3. Maybe that someone wears boots right(?) and maybe the most scarlet of lipsticks ever created, maybe it isn’t lipstick, it’s the blood of a storm petrel… I’m excited, my muse may be waking up 😉

  4. New story time ! Yea! So incredibly pleased that you’re feeling up to word-birthing 😄 The Novel will see the light of day when it’s time. Hoping that time is sooner than later 😉

    • I’ve waited long enough, I think. I don’t see things getting neither better nor worse for some time, so I shall work with what I have. The idea of creating something new, from beginning to end, provides a much needed energy boost.

  5. I so love all of your work but, for some reason, this particular idea has my heart quickening with gleeful anticipation. Maybe it is because the backdrop is part of who you are and how you got to be the fabulous witchy woman we know you to be. In any case, I know it will be a wonder! I hope there will be Dominican Cake!

    • I feel the same way about the “gleeful anticipation” bit. The research alone is keeping me energized. Things have changed since I left the Dominican Republic, so a lot of the landscape will be crafted out of the memories, imagination and Google, lol! The whole thing feels like a visit to DR. Seeing the places I used to love in my mind makes me happy, but seeing (and accepting) the changes is bittersweet. I’m rather curious to see how it will translate into the novel. Regardless of how this might happen, there must be Dominican Cake. 😀

  6. This is awesome, Magaly! (Not the being too sick to do everything you want part, of course) I love having a new book to look forward to, especially on this subject, by this witchy author. Can’t wait to read it.

  7. That’s a good quote and it can be applied to many things.

    I tend to overthink and get so worried that I make things more complicated than what they need to be.

    Starting fresh and keeping it simple almost always brings me better results.

    Looking forward to whatever you come up with next!

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