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Machine Man

Blog May 2009

Mon 04
May
2009

Machine Man update

Machine Man Finlay wearing basket shoesSeriously: I’m making this story up as I go. I didn’t say that just to lower your expectations. It’s a work in progress. I haven’t plotted it out in advance. I write each page a few days before you see it.

I’d like to believe the reason I keep getting emails like, “Come on, tell me: how much of this have you written already?” is that people think Machine Man is so amazingly brilliant that no mere mortal could dream it up on the run. Unfortunately, I have to face the fact that you just think I’m shifty.

So look, I swear: it’s for real. I’ll show you the blank pages I haven’t written yet.

Anyway. Six weeks in, I’m thrilled. I like the story, I like checking the latest comments about each page, and 2,700 people have signed up for it. The unsubscription rate is 7%, meaning 93% of people who try it out via email stick with it, which I couldn’t be happier about. Well, I guess I could. 100% would be better. But maybe that 7% just changed email addresses. Or someone close to them died and they couldn’t handle any contact from the outside world for a while. You can’t rule that out.

Now some news:

  • Machine Man is going to be a book. You know, a real one. My Australian publisher, Scribe, decided there was no need to wait to find out whether the rest of the story—i.e. most of it—would be any good, and offered for print rights. That’s some pretty good blind faith right there. I’m touched but slightly afraid.

  • I did an interview on Machine Man for LiteraryMinded.

  • I’m enjoying this enough to see it though, so the end of the free feed is nigh. I’m thinking Chapter Ten; i.e. the last free page will be 43. That’s eight and a half weeks in, which seems about right. Actually, page 33 would have been a good place, story-wise, but I hadn’t gotten around to setting up PayPal. Soon, anyway, you’ll have the opportunity to pay $6.95 for the rest of the story. If it helps, you can think of me using that seven bucks to buy shoes for Fin. Look at her! Right now she has to walk around in baskets.

And a few thoughts:

  • My favorite chapter so far is Chapter Five, which contains my favorite page (20), which contains my favorite line (“Don’t do that thing.”). I realize this is something no self-respecting author should ever admit, but that line made me giggle like a child.

  • Biggest surprise was the reaction to page 23. I forgot that nobody but me knew that Lola was into prosthetics. I mean, really into them. And people liked this development. Which was great to discover, you sick bastards.

  • At the risk of disappointing you by revealing its very mundane origins: Page 21 is more or less the original idea I had for this story. I was walking along one day when I saw an unattractive man in a beautiful car; I had a notepad with me and wrote down: The cars are better than the drivers. I thought about this while waiting for the train, at which point I added: I want to be a train, which is essentially page 2. The rest follows naturally, I’m sure you’ll agree.

P.S. In case you’re worried about that picture, we don’t actually force Fin to dress from head to toe in pink and put on a tiara. We just can’t stop her.