The other day I was thinking of the three books we’re publishing this year, and the history behind them. As some of you may know, both Hearers of the Constant Hum and Automated Daydreaming have been published before, and the stories of how they came to be couldn’t be any more different.
Over the next week or so, I will serialize the history of Hearers of the Constant Hum in the form of bite-sized posts. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the experience, or possibly even become inspired by the many things that inspired me while writing this novel!
So, where to start? Unlike Hearers itself, which starts in medias res, let’s be bold and tell this story from the beginning…
In the years leading up to the novel, I was an active member within the weird fiction and bizarro fiction circles, having published several novellas (including the bizarro western Doom Magnetic! and the truly unclassifiable The Brothers Crunk), as well as countless short stories.
In December of 2012, I was invited to participate in a pitch session for a weird fiction publisher. The session was unique, to say the least. It involved around 50 writers in total, pitching an unlimited amount of ideas to the publisher, who would then post them anonymously and have the same group of writers vote on what they felt were the best pitches of the bunch. It was pure chaos, but a lot of fun. Writers were pitching everything they had, and many of them were just making stuff up on the spot, pitching something new every few minutes.
When it was all said and done, there had to be somewhere around a thousand pitches in total. Two of those pitches belonged to me. For the life of me, I can’t remember my first pitch, but I remember the second very well:
“Bill Krang records insect conversations onto cassette tapes and labels them THE CONSTANT HUM. Others cannot hear insects in the same way, so he has dedicated his life to discovering how to share their message with others.
Ashok burn right hand of men. To Neptune, rebirth in blue fire.
Years pass and now Krang notices the peculiar phrase graffitied on the sides of buildings and written on mysterious tiles half-buried in asphalt. What does it mean? Is it a warning? A threat? Are there other hearers of the constant hum? If so, where are they?
In his search for answers, he manages to dismantle all he ever thought he knew about everything.
Can you hear it?”
This pitch, of course, was the inception of Hearers of the Constant Hum, and was the second highest-rated pitch of the session!
As exciting as it was, it was also downright terrifying. Now I have to write a novel? I’ve never written a novel before! Am I ready?
For those of you who may not know, writing a novel is hard work! Everyone starts in the same boat: with a blank page, conflicting ideas, and an infinite amount of directions in which to begin. The trick is finding the best possible direction to go, or in other words, the best possible way to tell your story.
A writer typically doesn’t enter the world of creative writing with a novel. It’s something that is worked up to, something that requires a certain amount of focus, determination and skill. Now that I think of it, being a masochist very well may be a requirement, as everyone’s first novel is essentially just a series of merciless beatings.
If memory serves me right, the first draft of Hearers took about 14 months to complete. Here I am holding up the printed manuscript on March 4th, 2014, the night I finally finished it:
I look tired, right? I was exhausted! But, man, there’s nothing like the rush that moves through you while typing the final words on a creative project, especially something as massive and demanding as a novel.
But where did the idea for Hearers come from?
Well, if you’re interested to know, you’ll have to wait for the next post…
See ya soon!