It’s one of those mindscrew days outside, where you look out your window and it’s clear and sunny and looks wonderful, and then you run out there in your boxer shorts, singing something from The Sound of Music, and it turns out it’s 29 degrees and you freeze solid within seconds. Goddamn nature.
Stuck inside, I’m going through my archives. As a writer, I long ago came to understand that 95% of what I write is total crap, 3% is mediocre and might be salvageable in some manner, and the remaining 2% is, if not genius, at least sellable. Still, going through archives is sobering. There’s some bad stuff in here. I’ve posted parts of failed novels before, and it’s fun. Kind of freeing. You release yourself from the notion that you might, someday, actually make a go of this thing!
One of the novels I’ve been leafing through is The King Worm, the never-published Avery Cates novel I wrote then regretted. It’s not that it’s a bad book on its own; it’s not. It’s good, I think. But ultimately it wasn’t the right direction for the series or the character, and I have my editor at Orbit (the fearsome Devi Pillai) to thank for making me see that.
So, let’s post two chapters: This is a moment in an alternate-universe Avery that never actually happened, but I enjoyed writing tremendously.
THE KING WORM
Chapters 15 & 16
XV. So, so much worse.
I opened my eyes, didn’t like what I saw, and closed them again. This didn’t improve my situation much, so I opened them again.