A bit about me and the process of getting this story written

Writing this novel has so far been a fascinating, frustrating, frightening, and, as I am only now seeing, absolutely liberating experience.

I originally started writing Fallout 101 in March of ’07, during my first year in college. At this time, it was called ‘Everyday Post Apocalyptic Story,’ and was inspired by a horrifying encounter with self realization that caused me to drop out of college. And while I won’t bore you with the details, the short of it is that I ended up sending my first chapter to Amazon in about November of ’07, asking them if they were interested in a serial novel on Kindle. A few weeks later, they got back to me with an affirmative reply.

If you have ever gotten a book published, or a piece of artwork commissioned, you know exactly how I felt reading that email. It was like the universe singing its song through me. (“Somebody actually thinks my writing is worth something!”) Over the course of the next year, I labored over my ‘book’, scrutinizing every word on every page… of all four chapters. I must have read those 10,000 words a hundred times over, watching as my sanity slowly slipped away, my emotions ricocheting between “This is good… People will want to read this!” and “Oh my God. This is a fat load of shit, and I am going to die under a bridge homeless and alone and too poor to be drunk when it happens.”

Inevitably, I scrapped the original story, which had involved a man and his son, who he carried through the ashen streets while trying to stay alive. (No, it wasn’t called “The Road”).Then I started over again. And again. Finally, the only thread of similarity between what was and what came to be manifested itself in the form of the world. I knew it was “post-apocalyptic,” I knew it was “2036-ish,” and I knew it was “sort of based on the technological singularity.” But the characters, the overall story arc, and the “objective” of the story would change completely.
I began work on the current version of Fallout 101 in September of ’08. In October, I got word from Amazon that they were ready to start publishing my writing. It had been a long time coming, but I was ready… I thought, anyways. Fortunately, it ended up taking them another couple of months to get everything going, which gave me enough time to finally get it together and (mostly) overcome my immense fear of creating something entertaining each week.

[And it is at this point that I am reminded of my goals for myself, set when I first began writing a few years ago. Such as “I am going to finish a book before I turn 20,” which became “Before I turn 21,” and which is now, “Duuude. If you ever finish this book, I am going to be soooo proud of you.”]

Finally, launch day came. I was quite thrilled: I could click over to Amazon.com, type in Fallout 101 in the search field and… there it was, mah’ beh-beh. Even more exciting was watching it jump from being ranked 80,000 in the store to rank 18 over the course of a single day. I thought I had finally made it. People were going to be reading my beloved story.

As it turns out though, I fucked the dog, and hard. I had heard of bad product launches ruining any potential that a product had, but now I was going to get to experience it—the chapters were in reverse order, and broken up by ancillary posts. Worse still, I had brilliantly named my most recent update “Interlude Pt. I,” rather than sticking with my “Chapter I, Chapter II, Chapter III” nomenclature that I had been using up to that point. Which meant that people were confused. One reader left the following comment on my website:

“I have been enjoying the story, but only in a rather weird and disconcerting way because I don't know whether I have been reading it in order or not. I like the character of Maria, and that is what keeps me going, and the world itself is intriguing. However, I have no idea what is really going on with the people in Genesys, and because everything there is so unfamiliar and confusing, I feel like I don't know if I've read it backwards or forwards. Maybe one thing I actually like about the book is that it is so unsettling that I can't figure out the chronology of what I am reading! But it is probably frustrating for others.”

This is exactly what every author trying to write a coherent novel wants to hear.

Interestingly, this is the only comment I have received that references the actual events of the storyline. Initially, I had thought that people would jump at the opportunity to talk to the author of the book they were reading, but the majority of the emails I’ve received have been in the vein of “Can you fix the chapter order?” etc.

And so I have been doing my best. I am not a webmaster; I am running this website on frenzied keyboard mashing and more than a little bit of prayer. But I must say that I have been delighted with everyone who has written to me; you have all been extremely patient with my online-ineptitude, and I would like to give you my heartiest thanks.

The funny thing is, I don’t actually know how many of you there are. As far as I know, I have thirty subscribers, ten of whom are actually reading the novel. But you know what? Even if that is the case, then Fallout 101 is still worth writing. And even if I only manage to capture the imagination of one of you, then you must be the one who I am writing this book for.

-Andrew Macauley (email: andrew.macauley@live.com)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your novel religiously. After reading The Host by Stephanie Meyer I became enthralled by post apocalyptic worlds. I enjoy the anticipation of getting the next chapter. As far as the confusion that some may have on the chapter order on the Kindle, not really a big problem. Just tell people to you to the article list. I am really enjoying your work, please keep writing.