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Waffling on the next project again

Today is one of those days where I regret more than usual that this blog hasn't exploded in popularity.  If I had more readers, then I'd just put up a poll and have you guys tell me what to do.

Y'see, although I'm hard at work on my next manuscript, tentatively titled "There's Something Strange About Mr. Brickwell," I want to have another novel in the works concurrently.  Partly it's because "Brickwell" is going to be a relatively short book and I want to have something more substantial to go along with it, and partly it's because I'm more productive when I have another side project on deck to avoid burn-out.

When the year started, I thought my backup book would be the first of my Teresa Creegan stories.  And then I wondered whether I should get back into a rewrite / update of "Bill Roman Is Being Oppressed."  But now I'm getting bogged down by a third possible choice, which I'm currently calling "You're an Asshole."  (Originally I was going to call it "Don't Be a Dick," but believe it or not, I didn't realize until last year that Wil Wheaton has that phrase on lockdown.  Guess I'm not as much of a nerd as I thought.)

"You're an Asshole" has a bit in common with "Bill Roman."  The primary characters of each book are rotten human beings whose selfishness and cynicism leads them to awful antics.  They're both walking train wrecks who bring down everybody around them.  The difference is that "Bill Roman" is a satire about how, due to his wealth, that particular train wreck can get away with it - or even be misread as a demagogue.  "Asshole" on the other hand is about an everyday schlub who is held accountable for his actions and has to grow.  He does so through an unlikely friendship with a goofy life coach that's the butt of everyone's jokes.

My goal is for "Asshole" to be a character dramedy about friendship and self-actualization.  I've always thought about it as a novelization of the Internet.  Our cyber world is full of caustic rhetoric and inhuman thoughts that just float around like pollen.  And somehow, instead of looking at that and saying, "Wow, that's really fucked up.  Why do people even use the Internet?", it seems we've all just kind of gotten used to it.  The main character in "Asshole" is a surrogate for that kind of toxicity, and I hope to make a pretty funny story out his reluctant journey to adulthood.

Eventually I hope to write all of the books I've described so far, but the question is, which one do I work on first?  And that's where I'm getting lost.

See, the reason these three ideas in particular keep coming up for me lately - as opposed to the four dozen other premises I've been workshopping over the years - is because of Li'l Donny.  As our country becomes increasingly partisan and the alt-right keeps successfully bringing the national discourse down to an exchange of nonsense memes and outright hate, I keep wondering what I, as a writer, can do.  Do I take the lofty satirical approach of "Bill Roman" and hope that I can give people a strong bulkhead to use when making the argument against petty, thin-skinned oligarchs?  Do I create an anti-hero like Teresa Creegan that might inspire some people to rebel simply because of the stark relief she'd provide to genuine progressivism?

Or do I go for something a little bit gentler with "Asshole," which, ironically, has the most inflammatory title?  As I currently envision it, "Asshole" is not a hateful story.  In my head, it's incredibly positive, life-affirming, and hopeful.  It's a story of redemption and forgiveness, of tolerance and peace.  It's about the balance between the spiteful asshattery that we all want to indulge in when we're upset and the mindful rationalism we aspire to when we're at our best.

I honestly don't know what makes the most sense to write next.  I mean, I'm sure as hell not famous, so it kinda doesn't matter one way or the other - but even assuming just a handful of folks pay attention, what's the best message for me to put out there?

Sigh.  If only my imaginary fans were here to vote, I'd know what to do.  Whoever comments first gets to choose, I suppose.  Unless the book is already written by the time you read this.