There will be no more Mycroft stories. A short explanation follows. It is not a very happy explanation, and maybe you want to go check out some cute puppies instead.
Basically every week since the second week of February, I’ve written a draft that more or less looks like this. I’m not writing any more Mycroft stories.
It’s not just a short-term thing, like oo, I’m out of batteries, or well I’m coming up with something more grand. Maybe when I started I’d have had that mindset of hang on, I need to fix this problem. Well, back then, it was less of a problem.
I don’t like stopping things I start. I certainly don’t like stopping writing fiction that I’ve started. It’s too easy, in this notepad era of my life, to start a story and just not finish. I spent twenty-seven years not finishing. I guess I figured that if I pushed, I could power through whatever was the problem and just keep going until I had something I loved and was proud of, the way I felt about One Stone, or at least, liked, and didn’t hate, like Immortal Engine, or was at least glad I finished, like the Sixth Age of Sand.
When I was working on One Stone, when I was sick and miserable and sad and listening to the worst moments of the lives around me, when I was attending funerals and moving house, I still got the work done because I wanted it done. I remember the worst feeling I had was in the mid-months of August, where I had finally accepted almost nobody was reading it, so it didn’t matter if I finished it or not, but I might as well. I remember being sad, because I felt my work didn’t matter.
Mycroft, I hate.
Mycroft was originally conceived during the period of time where I was trying to create non-targeted smut. That is, smutty books I could sell, for money, to be consumed by a larger audience. The original idea was a group of characters with distinctly different flavours of sexual dynamics, who were cool and rad and had fun and did adventures and solved mysteries, but also bonked like bunnies, because I liked the idea of heroic characters who had sex because sex was fun, not out of guilt or plot motivation. It went badly, as all those experiments did.
When I gave up on that effort to monetise my work, the notion sat in the drawer. Early this year, I toyed with the idea of bringing them back, and excising the sex. The big problem, of course, was that I don’t write and can’t write mysteries. I’d have to make do with very thin mysteries, and instead, rely on characterisation and the cathartic fun of righteous derring-do to make it work.
I don’t want to go into details about the complaints I’ve had in this series. My attempts to meet the moral standards of my readers, the aesthetic wants of my readers, to reconcile the idea of thief adventure with this era of doxxing and information leaks just don’t work. I found myself sitting down to plan out a mystery investigation where nothing bad ever happened to anyone, where nobody even seemed to be a bad person, where I couldn’t involve death, violence, suicide, theft of anything particularly valuable, invasion of privacy, disguise of identity, breaking any laws, and the police.
I hate that I tried to twist this idea until it fit instead of doing the sensible thing and giving up two months ago and writing a story about, I don’t know, dragons or something.
So hey, I give up. I hate my work, I hate these stories. They’re bad and anticlimactic. How can I make a climax when I can’t involve any tension? How do I involve a hacker character who explicitly can’t do any hacking, at all? What purpose does a driver serve when there will be no getaway chases? What about the fiery boxer locksmith – what’s she going to unlock that isn’t a violation of someone else’s stuff or space? How do I surprise people with information in the google era where people will just look up the story?
And what does it say about me, as a person, that the only things I seem to be able to create, consistently, are sex and violence, and moral values that it seems, are bad?
There is one miserable little footnote, though. Mycroft stories have gotten me more feedback than anything else I’ve written. Mostly negative, but y’know, there’s that. At least people are reading it. Maybe that is the way to structure the blog. A short story every month. Just about something I like.