Friday, January 15, 2010

that's a wrap, Mummy

As I finish up the latest novel (the one closest to the end), I look around at the various crossroads, and on most of the detours, it doesn't really make sense to remain "Scott Nicholson." Indeed, I've already submitted one novel under a pen name, and another book I'm working on is in a distinctly different genre. I am very grateful to have published some books and I have some loyal readers. There's nothing as humbling, nor as clear a reminder of why we do this, as when you get a note from someone that says "You're my new favorite author."

Scott Nicholson is a decent commodity and has published some solid work. He is not a bestseller, just a humble hack pouring his heart and lungs out on a keyboard. The word "horror" is on the spines of his six novels but he doesn't feel horrible at all. The books just happened to have some ghosts and creatures in them. They are about faith and love, things Nicholson believes in. He doesn't believe in ghosts and creatures. They contain some darkness. Nicholson has seen darkness. They have some redemption. is FICTION, after all.

After a flurry of study, research, and inquisition, I've been able to take a more remote look at what I write, how it is presented, and, on the marketing end, how it is categorized out there in the wider world. One thing the online booksellers really excel at is compiling search histories and customer track records and seeing which books you're clumped with. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'd never read the types of books I write, but I'm nowhere near my literary heroes. A lot of that comes to me, and how hard I work at it, and how much I want it. Boy, I love this job. Even though it's a part-time occupation, it's a full-time obsession. It is incredibly satisfying to be published. In the rank of things I wanted to do on this planet, that's probably in third, right after wife and kids (which are really tied for first, I suppose.)

But maybe Scott Nicholson needs to die. It won't be pretty, because I've known him long enough to know he won't go down without a fight. I may have to club him from behind with a shovel, or poison his coffee, or short-circuit his computer. He's got an incredible ego. He thinks what he has to say is important and that the world needs to hear it. Such people are dangerous and tend to persevere.

But if he were gone, I could convince myself to start fresh and never write a scary book. I could write about easy love and blind faith and sincere trust and happy endings. I'd have snappy, likable characters with indentifiable quirks. I'd create a series character. Two series characters, who quibbled over easy love.

But I suspect Scott Nicholson would slide out of his grave at night, dirt spilling from his rotted jacket as he sought his revenge. I'd go down a lot easier than he would.


  1. I disagree that Scott Nicholson should die. He's just waking...and new audiences will find him and cherish a good many of us do.

    I urge you to reconsider and allow the development of the dark fiction writer that is Scott to remain.

    If you want to play in other genres under a different name, consider this...when Picasso went through his various phases and styles... did he use another name? No...some liked it. Some didn't. For some reason, writers feel they have to change their names when they change genres. It's mental.

    Be who you are...a good writer...keep the the profile.

    Neil J.

  2. Scott,

    No matter what you write, I would want to read it because you are an amazing storyteller. While I do tend to prefer the dark and macabre, you are one of the few authors I would be willing to follow no matter what genre (except maybe harlequin romance). I also agree with the previous comment regarding pen names; I don't think you need to have one just to write a different genre. Whatever you write comes from Scott Nicholson.

    Just my two cents.


  3. Thanks, Neil and DI--the consideration is primarily practical and industry-driven, because it's harder to break back in once you have a certain presumed status (Author X will sell Y number of copies in Z genre). I don't blame the publishers. It makes perfect sense to me.

    But there's as much loss as gain, I suppose. Dean Koontz always hated using pen names but was forced by publishers, yet re-releases of those books do very well as Koontz titles. All the same umbrella. Heck, William Goldman is one of my favorites and about as diverse as it gets.

  4. Very interesting post.
    My husband is the fan in the family, but I find your writing posts resonate with me.
    I'll let him know what's up at Amazon.