Farewell to 2018.

Ah, 2018. I expected great things from you, but (as this tends to go), got mostly disappointment. Instead of being the year of me shooting up into the stars, you ended up being the year of me cleaning and tying up loose ends. Despite being exhausting though, this isn’t bad in and of itself. Dealing with clutter is a necessity, even when it takes a whole year.

Other than wishing everyone a happy new year (and other holidays), I can’t say much. I had temporarily paused working on the next-next book in order to fine tune the outline, and will likely resume writing within a couple days. Brotherhood of the Worm is still in editing, so no hassling potential agents yet. Though who knows.

All in all, rest time. Hopefully soon to become full speed writing time.

Stay brutal.
M. T. Miller

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More Book News, Some Writing Notes

Today was eye-opening for me. Granted, it was a lesson I thought I’d learned long ago, but no matter. Something like this is worth relearning.

Believe it or not, there is a reason for my infrequent updates. I have already started work on my next-next book, and am about 9k words in. I’ve also had my least productive day in a while: after clearing up my schedule to write like mad, I’ve only managed to produce some 1.1k of usable material within the last 24 hours. This is beyond bad, and annoys the hell out of me. Oh, I’ve had slower days before, but never slow dedicated days.

But as night fell and I prepared to lay my laptop to rest, I reread what I wrote and thought, “hey, this is pretty damn good.” Even better, I seem to have tossed a couple nifty hooks in there that may, with proper planning, develop into something I can make great use of somewhere down the line. I admit, most of the time I felt like throwing up, even started doubting my capacity to keep doing this for a living, but once that unpleasant, slow part of the text was over and done with, I snapped right back to normal. Eager to continue and give it my all.

Giving up the fight, any fight, is a dead end in every sense. Conflict and tension aren’t things to shy away from or fear. It is only through facing adversity that we grow in strength and reach greater heights.

Incidentally, the main character of my upcoming Culling series has also learned this lesson. In fact, he has internalized it, and in doing so became… estranged from his own humanity. The best (and easiest) parallel might be drawn between him and another, infinitely more famous monster hunter: one Geralt of Rivia.

A good while ago, before I ever got around to reading the man’s work, I ran across an interesting quote by Mr. Andzej Sapkowski. It went something like, “This world doesn’t need a hero. It needs a professional.” Edgy, catchy, and to the point, yes? It would be, if it were applicable to the character of Geralt, his protagonist.

But no matter how many times he insists otherwise, the eponymous Witcher  is no professional. He is an idealist at the very least, and many people (myself included) would argue about him being every bit the hero that his own creator insists he isn’t. Aside from some early installment weirdness of him starting a fight in which he decapitates a man only to get the king’s attention, nearly every decision he has ever made was more moral than utilitarian. And by the point where Ciri enters the picture, he loses his last drop of venom.

I am not here to argue the quality of Mr. Sapkowski’s books. The success of his work speaks for itself. But what I am here to do, is assess that in a world overrun by monsters and filled with difficult choices, a man making decisions based on values and emotions is likely to get killed. He may be superhuman. He may be led by fate. But I will tell you what he is not. He is no professional.

Getting tossed into a meat grinder tends to do one of two things: it either breaks a person or makes them stronger. Sometimes it does both, which is also excellent story fodder. Bottom line, human beings, not normally wanting to go through that experience, tend to minimize their daily amount of unpleasantness. But what happens when said unpleasantness cannot be avoided? When there is so much of it that a market has sprung around dealing with it, so regular, saner people don’t have to?

You get your professional, of course. Your person whose job consists out of happily jumping into the meat grinder, again and again, for money, services, pleasure. But what kind of person would that be? Who would agree to get broken/stronger, again and again and again? Moreover, who would they become with time and endless repetition?

The answer is simpler than you’d expect: they’d become the main character of The Culling series. A cold, calculated killer who lives for his work, who always picks the most efficient option, and whose displays of affection are few and far between. Granted, not all monster hunters are the same (that would be boring), but I particularly wrote this man to fully embody what I think a human would become after a lifetime of horror scenarios.

“But where is the story in that?” I hear you ask. A protagonist who fears nothing isn’t all that exciting, I agree. This is why I have a multitude of characters, one of which is not only the most normal person in Brotherhood of the Worm, but also has the highest number of POV chapters. It is through her wide, terrified eyes that I will let you see the monster hunter. It is through her questions and assumptions that I will let you learn his story (or what little of it he is willing to share). And it is through her struggle that I aim to make the monster hunter’s fight your own.

This is all incredibly vague, yes, and perhaps even a little bit pretentious. I get that. It comes with the territory of immersing oneself into a world crafted from nothing but one’s thoughts. Creation is never an exact science, but neither is it completely a work of passion. Rather, I believe the best stories are made by the careful tempering of an intense fire. Balance is key. So I will stop myself now.

TL; DR: Brotherhood of the Worm will have several main characters, two of which will provide points of view. One of them would be considered extremely sociopathic by polite society’s standards, so I have the other one there to balance him out.

A cathartic rant if there ever was one. Funniest thing is, it consists of almost as many words as I wrote into the manuscript today. This is why I rarely update.

Stay brutal.
M. T. Miller

Book News – Name and Some Setting Details

Alright. This will be kind of touchy.

So my upcoming book will (surprisingly) be the first in a new series. The series will be called The Culling, while the book’s work title is Brotherhood of the Worm. Both may be changed with time, though for the moment I see no reason to do so.

The Culling takes place in a fictionalized version of 18th century Europe, where various kinds of monsters roam free, and the eponymous organization employs mercenary-like hunters to deal with them. What I essentially plan is to have a bunch of mostly stand-alone novels, all centering around a single hunter, which will slowly reveal more about the world and keep moving the metaplot forward. For now I’m not set about the number of books, but the more successful I am with selling it, the more I will be willing to expand. As always, the keypoints and ending have been planed in advance.

Like I said, the setting was crafted to resemble the Enlightenment period, but the introduction of threatening inhuman creatures had altered the world’s history so radically that it only resembles ours. The calendar is different. Religion is different. The countries, despite being made to evoke existing ones at that point in history, are different. And then we have the Culling organization; a superpower in their own right, playing the dangerous game of balancing effectiveness with political neutrality.

I will start the series by focusing on a single country: Teutonia, an equivalent of Prussia or Austria. Brotherhood of the Worm takes place solely on Teutonia’s soil, and the majority of characters have German-sounding names. Foreigners do appear, but most of them are hunters. The Culling may not care about one’s background, but the same cannot be said about sovereign nations.

As for the monsters themselves, I will only reveal what is currently known in the first book: nothing. No one knows what they are, why they are impossible to fully exterminate, or what makes them so inherently hostile to other forms of life. They come in all shapes and sizes: humanoids, beast-like creatures, parasites, humongous monstrosities (think dragons, the Tarrasque, etc.), and even things like ghosts, though the last one would be significantly difficult to explain. Most are animalistic. Some are intelligent. All are very alien, and human-monster communication almost never happens, though it is unknown if that is due to their inability to communicate or through conscious intent.

Aaaaand I’ve kind of reached the point where I should stop. Given that I structure each book so that the reader keeps learning more and more as they go along, I don’t think spilling more about the world would be the way to go. For that knowledge, one would have to actually sit back and read.

Until the next time, when I plan on saying a few very, very vague words about my main character, and why he is likely to be a divisive figure. Assuming that anyone ever reads the book. Heh.

Stay brutal.
M. T. Miller

More News, Some Plans

Hello, friends.

It’s been a while. Life has been turbulent, and the ruffles I aimed to iron out during this year have turned out more persistent than expected. Thankfully, I am done with nearly everything by now. I should have a solid half years’ worth of free time, and with some luck I may end up getting more. But let’s not count our chickens before they hatch.

The initial beta impressions for my next book are in, and everyone seems to love it. This of course doesn’t guarantee a thing, but it does mean that this year was not a wasted one. Hopefully the work will turn out more marketable than the Nameless Chronicle, but who knows. As I think I’ve said before, the success of this upcoming book will determine the next couple years of my life. Should it fare well, I will be able to fully commit to my craft. If not, I guess it’ll be nine-to-five time for a while.

As for the book, I will likely start breaking silence soon. I won’t give up the plot, but I suppose I will spare some news about the themes, setting, characters, etc.

I will hopefully also start writing the next book soon. I’ve plotted it out, so all I will need to do is get into the right mindset. I’ll keep you posted.

Stay brutal.
M. T. Miller

Actual News for Once

It lives! It being me in this case.

Hey, all. Finally done with the beta draft of my next work. It’s being distributed to the initial readers as I’m typing this.

If everything goes well, I should have it ready for editing in about a month. Yes, I won’t have a release this year. And yeah, it sucks.

Sorry.

I’m already getting busy with making preliminary notes for the next book in that series. If I don’t score it big with a publisher (as I likely won’t), you will most likely be able to expect both books to be out by mid 2019. If I do luck out, then they’ll likely be out much later, but I’d be able to transition into writing full time, meaning I’d be able to produce work much, much faster.

So there’s that.

Now I’m off to put my brain on ice, because when said ice melts, it’ll be time for another sprint.

Stay brutal.
M. T. Miller

Kinda Alive, Kinda News

Finally got an update. I’m finished with the meat of the story, so now I am to start reading from the beginning and implement a whole slew of changes, tweaks, and checks I’ve written down during the making of this first draft.

In other news, the whole trad publishing thing is looking less and less enticing, but I will still likely give it a shot, as least until I have another book ready. We’ll see.

Stay brutal.
M. T. Miller

An Update of Sorts

Hello, friends.

I did want to wait until I at least had the initial draft, but so much time had passed since my last post that I concluded it was time for another.

My next book currently sits at about 95k words. I think I am getting close to the endgame, but one can never be certain. All in all, I currently expect this initial draft to end up at about 120k, but this doesn’t mean much. After revising, giving it to beta readers and implementing another round of changes, then doing the same with my editor, I have no idea how long it will end up being.

All I can do is follow my outline, listen to criticism, and not be lazy. As I’ve said before, I aim for this book to be my best yet.

If I manage my time and energy correctly, I expect to have the manuscript done by the initial half of September. After that I will tinker with it, and implement some changes and details I’ve come up with during the writing itself. I am considering adding something else to the work, but that idea will for now have to wait.

Until then, stay brutal.
M. T. Miller