Rant on order and queries

The part of query guidelines that always gets my brains turned inside out is when the demand is made to indicate the market. How am I supposed to know the market? I'm even loath to consider it part of my job as writer. When I can put a stamp on my manuscript, like "science fantasy" or something along those lines, I'm already humongously content with myself.

I don't wake up with the need to fill a certain niche, not even when it's a hot niche. I get ideas for stories, not ideas for things to sell. My brain soaks up words and then spits them out in some sort of order, mainly to the Cow Watcher's beat.

I know that this attitude (is it merely an attitude?) hurts my work's saleability tremendously, I know. It sucks. I get that a lot of writers have this ability or skill (or aptitude?) to take a story idea and then spin it in a totally different direction if that's where the market is going. I even picture it working like that for me in a handful of years. Okay, more like both handfuls with perhaps some help from the feet. See, there's a long list of projects I have been dragging along since ... ever, and I can't concentrate on new stuff until at least one of those dungeon-crawling monsters is out.

Why? Don't you know that every writer has The One that stays in the drawer for years but comes haunting? Or don't you get new ideas for new stories then?

That's the sad part: aaaaaall the time. But the Dungeon-Crawlers are vicious beasts, and Cow Watcher won't let me forget. Can't really blame the sucker, because CW and the DCs share the dark recesses. But whenever I seriously work on something new, it's like having John Cleese's BBC Announcer stuck in my head. "We interrupt this programme..." or "And now for something completely different." Come to think of it, a disproportionate amount of criticism voiced by the Inners sounds like Monty Python. Another favourite is the "Oh, get on with it already!"(1)

So, why can't I concentrate on new stuff? Simple: Cow Watcher won't let me be. Even at night I wake up with CW whispering to me: KILL KING MARGOR AND THAT SOLVES THAT NO?, or, THE HORSES COME ALIVE TO THE ROAR OF THUNDER (I know: wtf, right?), or, THE PROBLEM YOU HAVE WITH CYBERPUNK INVOLVING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCES AND ALIENS IS THAT BOTH SERVE AS HOLY GRAIL AND NO STORY CAN HAVE 2 HOLY GRAILS (like, dude! Let me sleep already!),
And then there's those moments I really hate: WHY DOESN'T HE KILL HER WHEN HE HAS THE CHANCE?, with Cow Watcher laughing at little imbecile me, shaking its head and making me want to weep because it is sooooooo obvious a plot problem that undermines any inkling of logic, which I totally glossed over in the months if not years, the gazillion times I've gone over the draft to add, rewrite, reshuffle, and if I can't figure out a reason why Evil Guy doesn't kill the Heroine that one singular moment he can, I'll have to rewrite like 700 pages. And then I'm set for a night of no sleep and a lot of tossing about.

Most of those whispers get scribbled down by the light of my mobile or simply in the dark, and end up looking sort of looking like this:

And all my notes are like that. Some scribbled, some typed, some with little pictures or very expressive exclamation marks. Some not legible at all come morning (writing in the dark can do that), others don't make sense in first light (or ever). But they make sense to Cow Watcher, and I keep them about as talismans against the powers of the Master of the Dungeon-Crawlers.

No, order and categories get my brains twisted inside out alright. For years I've been trying to compile a Companion to the Barynn project, first to keep track of names and dates but then also of affiliations and alliances and historical background, and even there I break my teeth on categorization. I have a deep-rooted problem with categories. I understand why some people find them more important than others, going from economic ease to finding yourself at the short end of an -ism. But I don't *get* them. It's weird, because categories are simply a stronger form than labels, and I use labels all the time. It's like having all these little labels lying about, but all the boxes are missing. I guess that psych test test(2) that detected schizoid tendencies wasn't that far off the bat, hmm?

It works something like this:
Let's say, you have this nice box with 24 colour pencils and after using them with fervour and panache, you need to put them back into the box. And since parental units always complain about order and discipline, let's try to put them in some order (see, already compromising here and not saying: exactly as they were. We're not super-extra-rigid on discipline and order, okay?)

So, "easy" you think, right?

From white, over yellow, over orange, to red, purple, blue, to finally black. D'oh, where do I put my greens?

Okay, start over.

From white, to yellow, over orange to red, to brown, and... Green?

Zeus! Don't try this at home, you'll be at it all night!

The most helpful invention would be a 3D box for colour pencils. Multi-layered matrix of colours. Seriously, I would be drowning in my own tears.

(1) I blame the lonesome mornings spent at my father's, when everybody was still asleep and simply had to entertain myself (from somewhere 6am till 10am) with VCR or a commodore64. Lots of mornings were spent with the Holy Grail. Lots. Obviously too many lots.
(2) as in, helping out a friend's brother who was devising a test for his university thesis in psychology, so a test of a test


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