Will This Book Sell? What Does it Say in Your Crystal Ball? by the lovely and talented Ms. Cheri Earl

Rather than hitting you with my 2012 writing goals right up front, let’s roll around in apocalyptic muck

and mire. Here’s my lead for this post:

Mayan Calendar Predicts the End of the World: December 21, 2012

That’s a tone setter for the new year, right? Of course right. I believe/predict/prophesy that 2012 AD
will be the year of the doomsday novel, a departure—sort of—from the dystopian and paranormal
novels of the last too many years. (And there was much rejoicing.) Heaven forbid we should write from
our hearts, focus on stories from our lived experience and other such rubbish. So let’s cast off any
delusions of contributing real art to the world and write the first apocalyptic novel of 2012, together.
Beginning right here on Throwing Up Words. An add-on doomsday novel. Carol, you should be good at
this . . .

A CAUTION TO THE CHICKEN LITTLES READING THIS POST (you know who you are): Let it be
known that the Mayans were not predicting when the world would end with the creation of
their Long Count calendar but only the date on which this particular calendar (one of many they
used, by the way) would run out. And that revelation can only mean one thing for the narcissists
among us: a longer shelf life for the new books coming out this year.

Let us write our first bit of prose for 2012. I’ll start us out since beginnings are, well, tricky. You’ve got to
get right into the heart of the conflict, and if at all possible give the promise of romance, too.

QUESTION: Anyone have a great title they’d like to throw away on this venture?

Untitled, But Imagine Something Truly Terrifying

“It was a dark and stormy night, December 21, 2012. Winter solstice.

“The flame of the kiwimelon-scented candle in April’s window flickered this way and that, its
shadows skittering across the walls and ceiling like so many blobby paramecia escaped from
their petri dishes at the Evil Scientists Lab down the block. April, dead asleep her auburn hair
and lip gloss splayed on her pillow, did not notice the shadows. She also did not notice Mark
the neighbor with deep blue eyes diving through her bedroom window to save her from the
mountain-size fireball hurtling toward her condo, the first of so many expensive condos to be
offered as burnt sacrifices—martyrs to the hungry Mayan gods.”

All right—I’ve started. Let’s see what sort of doomsday novel we can get out of this. Everyone has to
contribute a paragraph or two . . . which leads me to . . .

MY WRITING GOALS FOR 2012.

1. To get up at 6:15 a.m. and write every day except Sunday, even if for only 15 minutes, but
hopefully for 2 hours. Of course I’ll also have to get to bed by 10:00 p.m. Ouch.

2. To finish revising that one novel by the end of January (I started it in 1994, just FYI).

3. To add another 100 pages to that other “adult” novel by March, when Steve the Agent is coming into town for a retreat and if I don’t give him a manuscript soon I may not have an agent in 2013.

4. To read two novels, ones I’ve not read before, each month. I’m starting with Alan Bradley’s
Flavia de Luce novels for January. Ann tells me the first one is only so-so, but I’ve already bought
the first three—so I’m committed. By the way, Alan wrote his first novel ever when he was 70 or
72. Is that inspiring? Yes, it is.

5. To read To Kill a Mockingbird again because Harper Lee is my inspiration.

6. To reduce my teaching load by fall semester. Wallace Stegner said the one sure way to become
an ex-writer is to become a teacher. I love teaching, but he’s right—and I’m 52 years old,
people. Time’s a wasting.

7. To be courageous. I let every obligation, every temptation, every anxiety, every dirty dish or
linty carpet stand between me and writing. I will try to ignore the apocalypse I imagine will
come about if I put what is important to me, writing, first—or at least second—in 2012.

Happy writing, everyone, and Happy New Year!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Will This Book Sell? What Does it Say in Your Crystal Ball? by the lovely and talented Ms. Cheri Earl

  1. Yippee! This is my year. I have an apocalyptic book with a few agents. Thanks, Mayans! I really mean it this time.

  2. deborahhmoore

    Title: Why not something a bit ominous,over the top, and just a bit gauge like “When death devoured”

    I love the whole idea of playing off of the Mayan calendar fear. Perhaps I’ll write a novel for y2k…what do mean that it was in the past and wasn’t a big deal?

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