Shelving a Non-Starter

Art by Ivan Solyaev

Art by Ivan Solyaev

It's never a fun thing realizing you're not up to an idea. I've had The Magician stuck in my head for quite some time. The problem is that I was never quite sure where I wanted to take it. The basic concept is this:

A robot goes out to the Crossroads to make a deal with a demon to become a magician.

It's one of those ideas that it's even hard to find artwork that plays off this concept.  The problem is that I've gone through multiple Magician novels, such as Peter Straub's Shadowland, Suzanne Clark's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus. Even watching several similarly themed movies, I found that one of the familiar tropes about these stories is a competition between non-believers and believers or between two old wizards who are bored with their lives. Wanting to avoid this, I went in search of other storylines.

There are many places to go, but the one I gravitated to was Lovecraftian Horror. Anyone who knows me knows I've recently become obsessed with this type of Horror, watching every movie I could get my hands on, even ordering Lovecraft product for my store and making an endcap out of it. I read books that were inspired by his type of writing, but eschewed the familiar Cthulhu Mythos to learn all I could about the fundamentals of that type of Horror. When I felt comfortable enough, I moved in to work on this project.

Unfortunately, I ran into the problem of how does a machine, a logical creation, deal with indescribable horrors. I couldn't answer this, the only thing I could do was shift the POV to a third party, a man - the equivalent of Watson to Holmes - that would be dealing with the abominations while the robot continues on. The only real scene I got pinned down for this would be in a small town library, where the librarian is slowly stalking them. Our heroes would be collecting volumes on old lore, with my POV character noticing whatever's under the librarian's skin shifts about restlessly. Could be genuinely creepy.

However, when I think about it, I can't help but compare it to Mr. Magoo.

So after a couple weeks of trying to force out words but not even completing the prologue, I'm going to put this story aside to percolate some more and, hopefully, I'll figure out these problems I've been stuck on, all the while either writing a new book or cleaning up the other two novels that are not yet shoppable.

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Justin D. Herd

Justin D. Herd is a purveyor of the weird and strange. He occasionally squawks at friends and family, but does so only under the cover of night. Okay, that's not true. He squawks in full daylight. Drinking games have been built around his peculiarities, but the truth of it is this: he is a loving husband, with two wonderful dem--children. One growls at things he likes, including pretty women. The other has started to learn hand-eye coordination. Neither had made it to the tender age of three. From there, things will only get more interesting. He spends most of his writing time either at a coffee shop or sitting at one of his many desks around his house. Any other place makes it nearly impossible for him to write. He uses horror movies and rock music to help get the juices flowing. His favorite authors are Jeremy Robert Johnson, Alan Campbell, Terry Pratchett, Justin Cronin, and Patrick Rothfuss. He consumes most of his books through audiobooks, but still loves his personal library and getting lost in the printed word.