May 03, 2011

Giveaway: Party Like it's 1889!

Hello my fellow readers!
Today I bring to you, 1889 Labs, an independent Canadian Publisher that declared May to be a crazy giveaway month! Each week, there will be a $10 Amazon voucher and a paperback up for grabs. By commenting on that weeks' posts, readers enter the giveaway.

I'm hosting the week from May 1st to May 7th and I'll be giving away a copy of the book Typhoon by MCM - simply by commenting on the post.
Also, commenters will be entered on the wider week giveaway for the Amazon voucher and paperback.

SUMMING UP: Comment on this post to enter on an e-book giveaway and be entered for the wider Amazon Voucher + paperback giveaway!
Also, they have other stuff up for grabs, including A KINDLE, yes guys! So you should really go check it out, clicking on the logo here:

I also present you with a guest post by MCM, which brings us some insight on Typhoon and how it's been worked on for quite some time now.
Summary for Typhoon: Kani isn’t Tundra. Tundra is a dustrunner: a ruthless space pirate, flying dangerous missions in low Earth orbit, risking the lives of millions of people below. Kani is just a regular teenager, and she wants absolutely nothing to do with that. Unfortunately, she has no choice.Now, thrown into a world of deception and betrayal, Kani must fight to keep herself alive as she’s hunted by law enforcement, spies, mobsters, and even her so-called teammates, none of whom want to see her survive another day. All she needs to do is make one fatal mistake: tell them who she really is.


Ten years ago this week, I was knee-deep in a project that almost ruined my life. 

I'd quit my job a few months before, giving up my family's stability and predictability, all for a chance to follow an irrational ambition: making an animated series about space pirates, to be distributed exclusively on the web. It was called "Dustrunners", and it was going to be awesome.

This was before YouTube, before internet video really existed in any meaningful way, and at a time when advertising could bring in hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars a month, against a budget of tens of thousands per episode. Undaunted, we produced scripts, character designs, 3D models and all kinds of media in anticipation of a spectacular September premiere. But a few weeks before launch, disaster struck: almost none of the animators were delivering on time, and it was increasingly clear we were going to run out of money before we could fix the problem. Many desperate moves later, Dustrunners died a quiet and lonely death.

A lot of writers talk about the projects they keep in the drawer, waiting for the right moment to shine. I put my project out there, and it cost me a boatload of cash, and almost a decade of agonizing recovery. Some people want their ideas to shine, but I wanted mine to SUFFER for what it had done. Sure, it had been managed badly, but it was the project's fault for being so damn interesting that it blinded me to reality. I didn't just want to put it in a drawer, I wanted to draw and quarter it, and put its head on a pike over my front door.

Skip ahead a few years. I had a popular animated series playing worldwide, a handful of books out in the world, and a strong desire to try something crazy and new. The idea was called "livewriting", which is essentially improv literature, live on the web. In the space of three days, I would write a complete novel, using ideas from the audience at key moments. Utter madness, and almost certainly doomed to failure. I just needed to pick a subject. I didn't want to use one of my newer ideas, because I really loved them and couldn't bear to see them fail. It had to be something disposable. Something rich, yet unimportant.

Something I wanted to see suffer.

I had reservations about digging up this particular grave. Sure, it was a throwaway project, but it was also weighed down by so much hate that I was afraid I might not be able to stop myself from torpedoing the thing, just to get even. If stories are like children, this was the kid that burned down the house and killed the cat and opened all the bottles in the hotel minibar but didn't drink a thing: no punishment could be severe enough. I didn't want to see it flourish, I wanted to see it fail, which was a funny sentiment, considering I was planning to invest so much in it.

I knew I had to update the original concept. Writing for a series is different than writing a novel: the problems have to be complex, but compact enough to unravel in an orderly manner. I set out to create an outline based on the old pilot episode, trying to re-imagine things as much as possible. In the process, a lot of my own problems from the last decade seeped into the characters' lives without permission. Money troubles, tension at home and at work, a kind of crazy paranoia that comes from being on the verge of a meltdown all the time. The battle scars were showing, and rather than dampen them, I let them breathe. It was like therapy, only my intention wasn't to be cured, it was to document my state of mind.

But then something strange happened. Slowly, a little bit every day, I started to find myself enjoying Dustrunners again. I stopped myself a few times to remember how much I hated it, but by the time the livewriting was due to start, I was genuinely excited again. I was more excited than I'd been in years. My brain wanted to see it fail, but my heart was wishing it would fly.

In the end, the livewriting was a major success, and the resulting work, "Typhoon", has become one of my favourite books. The sequel, "Polarity", was livewritten late last year, and the third in the series, "Macedon", is getting the same treatment this fall. The funny thing is I never could have written this story in 2001. I had to have an idea, hate the idea, discard it forever, and then bring it back before it could properly live. The story — like me — had to climb back from the brink before it was ready to stand on its own. And it was that journey that has made it worth hearing at all. 


Author bio: MCM is the author of books like 'The Vector', 'The App', 'Fission Chips' and the livewritten novels 'Typhoon' and 'Arkady and Kain'. He also made the anti-DRM fable 'The Pig and the Box', which has been translated into 18 languages and read by millions of people across the globe. In his spare time, he creates series like the award-winning 'RollBots', because TV needs some lovin' too.