Blog Hop: The Next Big Thing

Prospector, by ToOliver2, Flickr

NaNoWri Month is drawing to a close and as luck would have it, a blog hop on Works-In-Progress fell into my lap just in time to brag about Monty. 

To be sure, over the course of my NaNo ramblings this month you’ve seen me write about the antics of Gus Sanchez, of Out Where the Buses Don’t Run. Great site and scads of talent in that guy, so do yourself a favor and give that link a click. His stuff is not for the faint-of-heart, though, and I suggest a working knowledge of “street” when journeying over. Well, he passed along this hop, called:

The Next Big Thing.

Yes, The Next Big Thing. Dang, that’s a lot of pressure! Me? My book? The Next Big Thing? But guess what? It’s true. For Gus, too. And the five people I’ll be tagging at the end of this post as well. And you. You are writing The Next Big Thing as sure as you’re reading this.

How can we all be creating the next big thing? Well, maybe we aren’t, but why not me…or you…or all the others? After all, somebody is writing those books…selling novels…making a name for themselves, and that could very well be any of us. So I choose to believe it is me, with this story.

And plus I just damn-well want it so bad.

While developing these characters and story line, there was an unshakable belief in what I was writing. Don’t ask me why…it was just a feeling. I toiled and sweat and cursed and cried over them like never before, watched them grow, nurtured them, carried them through the tough times, buried the dead. They are great characters, and ones that others will want to know and love.

But please don’t get me wrong. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes…my WIP is, at this point, a crappy first draft. SHI-TAY. You hear me? It deserves the toilet and isn’t worth the virtual paper it’s written on. 

But in all that mess I see boatloads of promise. 

I see its potential and where it can go, of who Monty Tucker is and the life before him, and I’m going to pursue that with complete abandon. Clean it up with intense edits and revisions. It will be The Next Big Thing, and I’m honored to introduce Monty and share the inspiration behind his creation. 

1. What is the working title of your book? 

For now, it’s Monty Tucker and the Lost Mine of Jacob Snively, which is all but settled, although I never truly decide until the work is finished. An unexpected aspect to the plot may have some bearing on the final title, which will come after many, many revisions. It’s the very last thing I do to any story…name it. The name has to fit its personality.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book? 

Writer’s Digest has a great weekly prompt board that I used to frequent when under the delusion that I had more free time. The prompts are a wonderful source of inspiration and WD offers a great forum for experimentation if you’re willing to try new things and put your work up for scrutiny. I was. 

Monty began as a 500-word short called, The Legend of Monty Tucker, and was an experiment in dialect, set in the late 1800’s. It has evolved immensely. In the short, Monty was a gambler and the kid, never named, was his companion, with the two riding off to Starvation Butte to find Jacob Snively’s lost gold mine. I liked the premise, the setting, and saw where the dialect did and didn’t work, so it was a successful test that I wanted to take further. 

The name, Montgomery Tucker, was a keeper, so I gave it to the kid and decided to make him the hero of the story rather than merely the narrator. His mother was originally a prostitute who died in childbirth, and the kid was raised by Lavinnia, the madam of the bordello, which was fine for the short story, but didn’t pass muster for a YA book, so I made a few changes and improved Monty’s parentage. Lavinnia’s past is still the same (hey, I’m going for some historical reality), but now she’s the aunt and her days of turning tricks are long behind her. She’s gone legitimate and runs the four-star hotel and restaurant in town. The villain, Sam Blackburn is still the same, and the gambler has become Monty’s mentor.

3. What genre does your book fall under? 

Labels. Dang. Hate them. Of course, the main tag to put on Monty is Young Adult and usually that would be sufficient, but nowadays, people want the Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species of your book. So with that in mind, it could best be described as a Young Adult Historical Fantasy Adventure. 

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

Goodness…I haven’t even gone there with this one, and yes, I have with other stories, like who will play ME in my biopic. But seriously…really? I don’t even know actors in that age group. I’d want new faces, that’s a must, to grow from thirteen to eighteen with the planned series. As far as the older actors…no, I haven’t given it a thought. 

Don’t think that I would mind in the least, this becoming a movie. Input on actors at that time would definitely be negotiated into the deal, if possible, but if the characters are written well enough and Hollywood understands their essences, they’ll find the perfect actor for each.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

Crikey! Those killer one-sentence synopses…they get me every time. It is so hard for me to say little about anything, but here goes:

The promise of a lost gold mine and riches untold sends Monty Tucker, a young orphan in the 1870’s, on a thrilling and dangerous adventure to find the treasure – racing against the villainous banker, Sam Blackburn – and in the process, unlocking the dark secrets of his native-American heritage and the role he’s destined to play as leader to his people. 

6. If you plan to publish, will your book be self-published or published traditionally?

Following the advice of Anne Rice, I’m going to first exhaust all traditional outlets before turning to self-publishing. Yes, there are many wonderful self-published authors out there, some of them you, but I’d like try the traditional route of agent, editor, published piece.

I realize that the publishing world is changing on a daily basis, with so many things to consider, self-publishing being one of them. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Monty is my piece for NaNoWriMo, so it’s pretty much only taken the month, with some exceptions. Like I said, it had its origins in a short story, which established a loose plot and some of the characters, but the story begged for more attention.

Soon after writing the short, I set it aside and kept plucking away at it…aimlessly wandering. I wrote almost two chapters of it, keeping the premise close to that of the short story, and didn’t like it. None of that survived the cut. I knew that the boy needed to be the hero, and that’s when I learned of NaNoWriMo. It was a mere month away.

So I outlined the whole book with all the major plot points, and set up scenes within the chapters to clue me into when I should add plot twists, introduce characters, put conflict, add fun, add danger and all the other literary gravy. Once that was done, it gave the story direction and purpose…the words were almost knocking each other out of the way to get into the action.  

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I hate comparisons, but this story has many elements of a typical hero’s journey. Before starting this, I had been working on a long piece of fiction, called Hero, which had a messianic character as its protagonist. I’m keeping that research and applying it here.

The movie, Cowboys and Aliens is similar to this, as I’m taking a less-industrialized time period that we think we know all about and adding a “what if?” of a fantastical nature.

Monty also draws from the wild west tales of the James Gang and taming-of-America fables like Pecos Bill and Johnny Appleseed. But the story is a typical, yet not so typical, hero’s quest.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

The WD prompt aside, I’ve gotten lots of support to expand this short from people in my writing circle. They know who they are, and I appreciate their confidence in me. But I’m also inspired by something deeper, found in my spiritual values and religious education.

Monty very much has shades of the Moses story – the Deliverer – then later, hints of Jesus. He surrounds himself with a few close friends, but has an extended group of twelve that follow, direct, or assist him. He gives of himself to his own detriment. I can’t help but wonder if those aspects would be nonexistent if not for my strong beliefs.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

This book is not your mama’s Little House on the Prairie. There is no Half-pint with buck teeth and anachronistic braces. It’s a lot of action, a little mystery, and a heckuva helping of imagination. You won’t be disappointed. It is the next big thing…and you read about it here, first!

And now…TAG…these people are “it.” 

There are five talents whom I’ve had the good fortune of crossing paths with – many just recently – but have been impressed to the extent that I’d like to introduce them to you, if you don’t know them already. They will be posting about their WIP’s next Wednesday, December 5, on their blogs linked below:

1. Demetria Foster Gray: 

This woman is incredible. I met her through occasional comments on other blogs and just liked the way she operated. Her attitude is rosy and welcoming and her blog, Shaken But Not Stirred, is an excellent venue for Women’s Empowerment. What am I doing hanging around there? Like I said, she’s just plain cool, and plus, we men can learn a lot once we get over the stigma that “this is a woman’s site.” When I visit her blog, I make sure my ears and eyes are open for business. Hop over there anytime, but especially next week when she will be spotlighting her own WIP, and while over, sign up for her e-newsletter, Sexy, Savvy Growth.

2. Jeff Hargett: 

A fellow on a mission, Jeff is well into the revision process of his novel, The Bonding, which is the first installment of the Strands of Pattern series. Check out his site here to learn more about how this 48 year-old grandfather of three pulls it all together, creating not only The Bonding, but forging ahead with two more novels in the works. Wow! I need roller skates to keep up with him.

3. Nancy LaRonda Johnson: 

Nancy is a welcome addition to my blogroll, only finding out about her in the last week. Her website, Writer’s Mark, is quite refreshing and different, with daily writing prompts offered to kick-start our brains when the creative juices dry up. She writes speculative Christian, one of my favorite genres, so I’m anxious to learn more about her. Make sure to check her out, too…those prompts sound great!

4. Roxanne Ravenel: 

Roxanne has been my go-to gal during the NaNoWriMo, and an excellent example of perseverence to get it DONE. A consummate pro, she’s already completed her NaNo novel (is that redundant?), Love Me Not, which I’ll let her discuss next week. I can’t wait to hear all about it. You can find her musings over at Mindful Banter, where she posts great tips on Tuesdays and writing resources on Thursdays. 

My favorite day is Storyteller Saturdays, when I grab a cuppa joe, plop on my bed, and enjoy the morning with one of my favorite authors, reading about or listening to much-needed advice on the craft. The importance of music to better our writing skills is reiterated time and again on her site, and I agree whole-heartedly. Roxanne is definitely one to follow…and one to look for as The Next Big Thing.

And last, but surely not least,

5. Eureka: 

Like Cher and Madonna (gawd, that dates me…okay, Rhianna and Shikira), the one-word name of Eureka is all that’s necessary, appropriately describing the pleasant surprise one gets after reading anything over at Eureka Wrote. An excellent wordsmith, this past year Eureka has been posting weekly exercises that really get one into the writing frenzy, and also finished a creative memoir, A Tent Called Simba, for the NaNoWriMo. 

See? With writing buddies like these, how can I possibly go astray? Make sure to give them all a holler. I’ll catch up with you after about 2,090 words with a final update on this crazy month of November.  Until then…




23 thoughts on “Blog Hop: The Next Big Thing

  1. Great collection of blogs chosen for the hop. I love all them folks and their sites. Your book sounds so good. I like that it's a different twist than a lot of YA books floating around out there. Pure adventure. Can't wait.

  2. Great info on this new book! It's the first I've heard about a completed NaNoWriMo book, and it's worth the read and inspiring. It's good to hear of about different topics and genres this way, and the book sounds intriguing.I tried NaNo for the first time this year, but quickly learned my book topic needed too much research or I'd probably be way off in the story without the research. Hopefully I'll try again next time.

  3. And now my mission includes the Next Big Thing! This should prove interesting…I think it's cool that a short story grew to become a novel and then a series. I've heard others say their books were spawned by shorts, but I've yet to have that happen for me. "Young Adult Historical Fantasy Adventure" Yeah, that kinda narrows it down a bit. And I really like your working title: "Monty Tucker and the Lost Mine of Jacob Snively." The title has an Indiana Jones feel, but with attitude of a different flavor. Here's to hopes of major success for you with it.

  4. It was great learning all about your WIP. Can't tell you how impressed I am with your dedication and commitment to your NaNo project on your very first attempt. You've introduced me to some bloggers I don't know. I look forward to meeting them.

  5. Aren't they great? Truly the next big things in the literary world. You, too. I can't wait for your book to come out. It sounds positively delightful…hints of Love Potion #9 mixed with Arsenic & Old Lace.Monty is pure adventure. A good and wholesome romp without the gratuitous sex. And my characters have tans. Thanks, J. :o)

  6. Thanks, Nancy. Can't wait to visit you next week!There are tons of things I'll have to go back and research to make Monty work. Sometimes I had to stop and fact-check if it was imperative to the story. Other things, I'll make work, even if someone has to invent the prototype of something! That's the great thing about fiction!

  7. It will be interesting, Jeff, and I'm looking forward to reading all about it.Indiana Jones…you hit the nail on the head! When I was trying to come up with something to compare Monty to, all I could think of was cowboys…never dawned on me the similarities to Indy. And told old school, just like that. Adventure with a realistic supernatural element, like the ark. I think it has great bones and now needs some major fine-tuning.

  8. Thanks, Roxanne. With role models like you to fashion myself after…to look over on my buddy list and see your progress …it kept me going. Congrats on completing NaNo!!!

  9. Mike, all kidding aside, I really believe you will be…The Next Big Thing. Truly. The few pieces of fiction I've read of yours has been outstanding in my opinion. Also, it's always good to get a "behind the scenes" viewpoint of a person's manuscript. Thanks for sharing yours. And thanks for the blog hop nod. I'll see you next week when it's my turn to spill the naked truth about my WIP.One more thing, looks like you rocked Mork & Mindy (NaNoWriMo)!!! Congrats on your word count. That means I can now stop with all the back flips. Woo Hoo!

  10. Yeah, I get it. Cheers Mike.I agree with Demetria on the behind the scenes tour. It's really something to hear you rave about your book. With passion like that, you really could self-publish, you know. I hope you'll be posting chapter one some time soon.

  11. Mike,I am proud of you for finishing the month and the book. I admire your commitment, passion and I hope you have found your niche. I also love that you have a plan for Monty. Great Job!

  12. Thanks, Demetria – Send me the chiropractic bill…I'd be glad to pay it – those back flips were just the thing that put me over the top.I am looking forward to learning the naked truth about your WIP…you write erotica? LOL. :o) Thanks for stopping!

  13. Heck…from what I understand of the publishing world, one has to really get out there and promote, whether published traditionally or through self, so I'll be beating the bricks either way. Can't wait to hear about that tent called Simba. Finally, I'll get to "travel" to Africa. Hey…wouldn't that be neat? A tent that carries you wherever you want to go…like the tarsus on Dr. Who. Let me get my notepad…inspiration strikes.

  14. Thanks for passing this off, Gus. If there's one thing that I love to do, it's talk about myself. :o)I hope that others pop by your place…it's one of my favorite sites, and I love your voice. And your story, too…I'm a big flawed superhero fan.Folks – CHECK HIM OUT. You won't be disappointed!

  15. Rob, I was thisclose to approaching you to see if you wanted to participate in this, but Nancy's speculative Christian WIP won out…I just love that genre and wanted to know more about it. However, I've been following you on the journey with your story, and it sounds like you're really whipping it into shape. Can't wait to see it in its completion. :o)

  16. Looks like you have finished above the word count! Yay! I'm *almost* there. I think I'll cross the finish line…I loved your overall thoughts on your NaNo project! I'm not ready to share mine yet, but I will. soon. I want to finish it, first, then I'll post my Next Big Thing. I've been tagged in several memes and need to catch up. Really. Far. Behind. But trying to catch up!

  17. Mike,I don’t blame you for choosing Nancy. I would have chosen her too, she has a great site and wonderful ability to teach, inspire and create great fiction. No worries, I appreciate being considered.I love how you framed these questions and your answers are insightful and brilliantly insightful. Every writer should know the answers to these questions before even putting a word onto a computer screen. I did notice that Egg and Julie had similar themes this week. I wonder if you guys are collaborating behind the scenes of is this a signal from the galactic conscience telling me that I need to answer them. Either way, I think I will attempt to tackle them next week.

  18. Hello,I like your site, and I hope you don't mind me hopping along for a ride.I too, love the WD prompts. It's been too long since I was there, but it's a great place to write.Best of Luck with MTatLMoJS. I hope you post some snippets. I like the premise and the mashup of genres. We need more westerny stories out there.Joe

  19. I comment people who actually take the time to write a novel, which I did once. I have since abandoned my rough draft because I just find more interest in working on my art projects, and blogging about those. Perhaps one day I will resurrect it, but one of the reasons I have not because it does not fit into a particular genre, and not exactly an action packed story. I think writing it was crucial, though, because it helped me determine if I wanted to write novels or not. I am sort of thinking not, at the moment anyway. Anyway, I am getting a jump start on the A to Z Challenge, and commenting on people who are below me on the list. I hope you have fun during the challenge.


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