Announcing The Doppel Man, a serial novel

Finding yourself is not always a good thing…

The Doppel Man coverSo yesterday I was supposed to do this post, but I just barely got the day-late Writing Music Monday post out. But, theoretically at least, yesterday marked the launch of a new project to kick this writer’s ass into gear and get wordage out to the reading public.

I have begun a serial novel. You will be watching me as I write it, week by week, and you can read it free. Even this first draft goes out under a Free Culture license, and Wattpad, while it doesn’t do ePubs or other ebook files, still lets you read for free.

So, what is it?

Imagine if Elmore Leonard did a crime thriller that crossed alternate realities with his usual exploration of character and power hierarchies, and set it in early-’80s Los Angeles. At least, that’s what my starting intention is. We’ll have to wait and see how the story comes out.

My working back-of-the-book copy is:

1981 Los Angeles. A good place for a formerly bad man to work off some of his karmic debt.

At least, Lafayette hoped it was, since he couldn’t afford to go anywhere else just yet. But one day he came home only to be confronted by himself. Himself from a slightly different timeline, a different reality, one where he never turned from his original dark path.

And his other self, naturally, has trouble following about three steps behind.

I’m about halfway through writing the second chapter, and have an idea of where the third chapter starts off, and a very, very vague idea where things are at for various characters at the end. Past that, we’ll see what happens.

Sound a bit half-assed? Maybe it is, but this is how many literary classics were written, including Crime and Punishment and most of Dickens’s novels. So I’m going to try that out, see if I can get feedback from actual readers as I’m writing, and (hopefully) craft something worthwhile along the way.

(I took some inspiration, if anyone is curious, from the essay on serial novels in Literature and the Economics of Liberty, as well as Paul Cantor’s lecture on The Serialized Novel in the Nineteenth Century.)

The Doppel Man is the first in a planned series of ’80s-set noir thrillers called Neon Noir, but it also serves as a continuation of the world I first explored the the novella Spring That Never Came, which you can buy on Amazon or get free and legal from Feedbooks. It’s not a sequel, per se, but there are characters in common, and it takes place after and is influenced by that story.

Of course, I have other goals here as well. My willingness to finish a piece of writing, and then to actually have someone other than me read it, has been… not. This “put it out as you write it” project will, I hope, short-circuit that unhelpful tendency.

Also, next month is NaNoWriMo, a “contest” I have never completed successfully, and this year I intend to change that fact as well. That will be a daily serial posted to Wattpad, for all and sundry to read an critique. (And yes, I already know what the story is, something unrelated to Neon Noir.)

And finally, of course, I need readers. I have been less than prolific, and that needs to change. I need to put novels out, and get paid for doing so. I don’t need to be a megamillion bestseller, but I need more than the couple of dozen (wonderful) folks who have read and liked my work so far. I am hoping, hard, that this will up my number of loyal readers considerably. (And putting out new material on a regular basis should help with that.)

So, a bit rambly, but there you have it. The first chapter is live, another chapter is coming next Tuesday, and so the adventure is begun.

Happy reading, and I hope you enjoy!