The Next Big Thing: My Turn

And so I reach forth to summon my blog from the Beyond, where it has languished for too long in silent obscurity:

Earlier this month, the generally excellent Ellen Gregory tagged me in one of those blog things where people tag each other and stuff.  I had been searching through dusty tomes of arcane lore seeking powerful knowledge with which to resurrect my blog, but the tag thing promises to be much easier.

It’s called The Next Big Thing–a vehicle in which we are to answer ten questions regarding our current writing projects, such as…

1. What is the [working] title of your book?

A Place Cold and Far.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

It started with “The Valley of the Spring-Daughter”, a piece I wrote for a writing competition a couple years ago.  I later hatched a mad scheme to expand it as part of a collection of short stories set in the same world, which I originally intended to develop as a side-project while working on an eastern fantasy novel.

Recently I decided put the novel on the back-burner and focus on the story collection.  My novel is more ambitious than the collection, and I realized it would benefit from the experience I’d gain by revising several shorter pieces before returning to it.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Mythic fantasy.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I’ve never considered this question before.  I have no idea.  I’m going to go with my usual solution to every potential movie scenario, from the totally-should-exist Mecha-Rapunzel vs. The Earth to my long-standing idea for a disaster film in which a chunk of Antarctica breaks off and hurtles toward the East Coast of the United States…


starring Johnny Depp

directed by Tim Burton

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I actually don’t have one of those that covers the entire collection, so I’ll have to pick one up the next time there’s a sale.  I do have a synopsis for one of the stories, which I came up with when I first posted “The Valley of the Spring-Daughter” on my blog:

When a brutal and unnatural winter threatens his people, a lone warrior braves a forbidden valley to uncover the nature of their curse.

As part of the revision process, I’m sure I’ll come up with more, including one that covers the collection.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Barring any sort of unforeseen good fortune, I’m going to self-publish it.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I’m still writing the first draft, although I’m most of the way through the sixth and final story.  I’ve mostly been writing it during idle moments at school in a paper notebook I’ve been carrying with me the last few months.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I can’t think of any specific books off the top of my head, but it fits right alongside most anything inspired by Norse mythology.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

In addition to the previously-mentioned Norse mythology, I’ve drawn inspiration from snowy winters, viking metal bands, Norwegian landscapes, and history, even though the stories are works of fantasy and not historical in any way.

The Wild Cards anthology series inspired the book’s structure with its use of the mosaic novel format.  The individual stories in A Place Cold and Far are connected and use recurring characters to form a sort of overall narrative spanning a couple generations.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Well, I’ve been developing my current writing projects to fit as different pieces of a fictional universe that are informed by a consistent set of metaphysics.  A Place Cold and Far will be the first glimpse of that.

*     *     *

Thanks for the tag, Ellen 🙂

As part of The Next Big Thing, I’m to spread the meme zombie virus-like to other writers.  Most of my tribe has been infect–uhh…tagged already, but I know Judythe Morgan is available.  For good measure, I also tag Sheila Pierson.

*     *     *

Are you working on the Next Big Thing and haven’t been tagged yet?  Tell us about it.  If you’ve played already, contemplate this: if a zombie apocalypse were to break out tomorrow, what flavor of ice cream would you attempt to save?

31 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing: My Turn

  1. Tami Clayton

    I love the mosaic novel concept. I’d never heard that term before but I know I’ve read some novels that have used that structure. Your collection of short stories sound very interesting. Also, I’m diggin’ your movie idea. You should definitely write the screenplay for it. I’m crossing my fingers that Johnny Depp is available for it when the time comes.

    And I’d do just about anything to keep the zombies away from my beloved Mexican Mocha: coffee-chocolate ice cream with a hint of cinnamon. My strategy? The Gunbrella, of course. 🙂

    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      Thanks, Tami 🙂

      I’m sure once Johnny Depp hears that I’m finally working on the screenplay for Iceberg: the Movie, he’ll clear his schedule in anticipation of it 😉

      And I’m glad you have an ice cream rescue strategy in place.

  2. Ellen Gregory

    Glad you decided to play, Mike. Sometimes I wonder whether I’d do better to work on some shorts in lieu of my overly ambitious (for me) novel! Very much looking forward to your Norse myth inspired fantasy mosaic collection. Ticks all my boxes. 🙂

    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      Thanks for thinking of me when it came time for you to tag people 🙂

      It sounds like we’ve been in a similar place as far as our fiction is concerned. My novel is both more ambitious and twice as long as my story collection will be, so it seemed like a good idea, at least for me, to change focus and get more experience revising stuff in much smaller chunks. And I’m glad if the project manages to tick some boxes here and there 🙂

        1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

          I would think that being able to focus on the same project for a long time can be a good thing, though. Much better than getting distracted by whatever shiny new idea comes along in the meantime. I throw those into a notebook, so when it finally comes time to work on something new, I have a bunch of stuff to choose from.

          Having started my eastern fantasy project in late 2009, with no end in sight, I know it can be frustrating to have the same project go on for a long time. But at the same time, we’re also serving our apprenticeships as writings, which probably means any project is going to take longer than it otherwise would while we learn our craft and stuff.

          1. Ellen Gregory

            yes, er, but I do have staying power! I worked on my previous project for too long than I care to admit! I like to think much of my apprenticeship was served there… although I am now having to re-learn how to write a first draft. You can’t really learn that any other way than by tackling a new project, which has been quite an eye-opener! (Even though it ought to be obvious!)

  3. Judythe Morgan

    Thanks for the tag, Mike. Your next big thing is fascinating. I wasn’t familiar with the mosaic novel concept by name. Good luck with the project and getting Johnny Depp for the movie! I’d definitely pay to see that.

    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      I think I’ve only ever really heard the term “mosaic novel” in the context of that particular series, but I know of other books that have used it. You’re welcome for the tag, and I’m looking forward to reading your entry 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. sheilapierson

    Thanks for thinking of me 🙂 You know I’ve been ready to read your work for a long time, so I’m really looking forward to you publishing! Now, as for the ice cream, I would totally save chocolate mint ice cream!

    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      Well, I’m still a good way off from publishing anything because of school and everything, so I don’t recommend holding one’s breath…but I’m working on it 🙂

      Chocolate mint, huh? Sounds like a fine choice!

  5. Kirsten

    Glad to see you back out in the blogosphere–like rock ‘n’ roll, blogging never forgets. 😉

    A Place Cold and Far sounds terrific on all counts, in fact are you certain an iceberg couldn’t play an important role in that story? Johnny Depp seems to be everywhere, and I’d love to see a few new faces in showbiz!

    Ice cream … it’s got to be cookie dough.

    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      I might save the iceberg for if there’s a follow-up project 😉

      And cookie dough rocks. I’m not sure if it would be what I personally would save during a zombie apocalypse, but it would be a contender for sure.

  6. Karen McFarland

    I’m so glad that you reached forth to summon your blog from the Beyond, where it has languished for too long in silent obscurity. I was wondering where you’ve been Mike. Glad to see you! I love this title, “A Place Cold and Far.” And please DO NOT tag me dude. How is the classes going? Making any headway? I think it’s awesome that you write in-between the lull. I like your writer’s voice Mike. I know your books are going to be great! 🙂

    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      Hi, Karen…thanks for dropping by 🙂 How are you these days?

      School is going pretty great, although I’m still getting the hang of budgeting my time so I can work in social media activities with my studying and writing.

      Thanks for the compliment regarding my writer’s voice 🙂 I do hope that the voice in which I write my blog doesn’t create unreasonable expectations of what I’m trying to make my fiction voice like. They’re pretty different, although they definitely come from the same place.

    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      That would be awesome. Then I’d hop over to the next table and pick up a pack of back cover blurbs while I was at it.

      And I think that might be two for Mint Chocolate Chip, unless it’s not to be confused with Chocolate Mint. I’ve always been more of an Orange Sherbet guy, so I might be getting them mixed up.

  7. Kim Griffin

    Glad to see you back at the blog a bit, Mike! I love the title of your book and am not surprised, based on your writing, that it draws inspiration from winter and Norse mythology and vikings ~ it will be amazing, I’m sure.
    ~ Your casting choice really couldn’t be better, as I’m only slightly obsessed with Johnny Depp. Did I say obsessed?? I meant that I am a fan.. of course..

    As for ice cream, since others have the mint chocolate chip covered, I’m going with the Black Raspberry that is served at Friendly’s. I’ll be traveling there via wormholes to avoid any zombie contact.

    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving such a nice comment. Hopefully I can make blogging a quasi-regular thing again, even if it’s only once a week or so. I blame school for taking up so much of my time with all its knowledge-implantation procedures and everything.

      I don’t think I’ve ever sampled Black Raspberry ice cream before. I might have to fix that before the zombie apocalypse.

  8. Elizabeth Fais

    Love the logline Mike. Concise and compelling, as is the concept for your series. Don’t leave us hanging! You know you HAVE to finish writing it now. 😉 As for ice cream…I’d have to go for the German Chocolate Cake, protecting it from my assailants with a saber toothed spork!

    1. Mike Schulenberg Post author

      Hmm…mint chocolate or mint chocolate chip? I might have to experiment and see what the difference is. For Science!, of course 😉

      Thanks for dropping by and visiting The Valley of the Spring-Daughter 🙂


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