LITTLE PEOPLE, BIG GUNS, My Third Original Novel, Is Done
This is a little late, but here's some good news. My third original novel Little People, Big Guns is now finished.
It's actually been finished for a couple weeks now, but I wanted to run the last three chapters through the writing group, go through a backlog of older critiques I'd set aside due to real-life obligations, review the comments from a friend who'd read the whole thing in a couple days (it's around 28,000 words, which technically makes it a novella), and then finally give the whole thing a once-over before I sent it out. I've got a contact at a small bizarro press whom I'd pitched an earlier version of the story to at the World Horror Conference 2015, so I sent it his way and hoped for the best.
Okay, maybe I should actually describe the plot. A few years ago I read a news story claiming TV chef Gordon Ramsay's dwarf porn star double was found dead in a badger den. It turns out the story might not actually be true, but at that point the earliest version of the story, entitled "Badgers vs. Midgets," was born. Basically a little person (a whole lot people with the condition actually consider "midget" a slur) is killed by a predatory badger, the local law enforcement declines to investigate, and so the local little persons take matters into their own hands.
Unfortunately, as I learned from the gentleman at the pitch session, that would only work as the first act. What happens next? Fortunately I was quick-thinking and spun out a plot involving militant animal-rights activists and a bear-sized super-badger. As my writing-group cohort Katherine Mankiller would put it, "peak silliness" has been achieved. I spent the last year and a half banging it out and now it's in someone else's hands.
And although the story seems tasteless and exploitative, it's actually much more thoughtful. LPBG touches on issues like the abortion of fetuses with dwarfism, mobility issues little people face, people rubbing little persons' heads for good luck (Tyrion Lannister has something to say about that), etc.
And that might make it an awkward fit. It's too farcical for a book seriously exploring the issues people with this condition face, but it might be too thoughtful for straight-up exploitation. I might well have to independently publish it like I did with a bunch of my short stories. There aren't very many publishers of bizarro fiction (which is the literary equivalent of a cult movie--think Bigfoot Crank Stomp or Shatnerquest), so I might exhaust those fairly quickly. I'm going to pitch it Thursday through #Pitmad, but that hasn't gotten me a lot of luck with more mainstream fare.
And if it does get published, either from a small press or as an Amazon original, it'll probably be under a pseudonym. I want the "Matthew W. Quinn brand" associated with more highbrow content like The Thing in the Woods (a teen horror novel that ultimately becomes a tale of interstellar war--think Down The Bright Way with monsters), Bloody Talons (an oral history of an alien invasion a la World War Z), and Battle for the Wastelands (post-apocalyptic steampunk Western--think Dark Tower meets Game of Thrones). A lowbrow exploitation farce, even one with a heart, doesn't really fit.
(A lot of writers have different pseudonyms for different brands. Delilah S. Dawson's fantasy-western Shadow novels Wake of Vultures and Conspiracy of Ravens go out under Lila Bowen, while James R. Tuck's Lovecraftian Red Right Hand is published under Levi Black and Bryan Cohen's Cinderella Dreams of Fire is published under Casey Lane.)
And the planned sequel, should this one take off, gets even more farcical. It involves a hidden community of little people called the Shire under threat from a master criminal code-named Santa Claus who kidnaps members of the community to force them to work in a mine. And his muscle is a blue-eyed white-furred Bigfoot. Nope, not classy at all.
I'll keep you all posted once I get more information.