I realized that I had three novels joined like Siamese triplets and had to begin the awful work of snipping, disentangling, hoping each one would eventually breathe on its own.
I kept looking for ways to make them work as one. Only abject failure after long labor could persuade me how impossible was the task. I so wanted it to be possible that I tried and tried to make the material work. Again and again I saw that it would only be a murderous, insulting, hideous journey for readers, and they might well hate me for it, as it would feel as though I had ruined three perfectly good novels trying to knit them into one.
I love each of them. The first, Famous Actress Disappears, which I am currently finishing, is the most accessible and fun. I have merely entertained myself in the way I imagine others would want to be entertained–with a mordant wit, darkly satisfying, and snappy dialog part Chandler, part Shaw, part my own dark-night self-murmurings. I pray it is well-received but it is a vicious world out there. What I consider fun others may see as self-conscious, pandering, faux-ribald showmanship, boring and self-involved.
The second novel is a whole dark jungle redneck saga and the heart of the three, called Burning the Rain Girl; at its heart lies the fulcrum of reality and fiction.
The third, which might be called How Lives Intersect in Desperation and in Grace, is a long meditation on the two fictions that precede it and the nature of this thing we take for reality. It might end up more as a novella.
Also, not to be disregarded: There are perhaps 60,000 words of the protagonist’s therapy sessions that may form the basis for a fourth novel. That’s some favorite stuff that I love that I just cannot really make work in the current format. Sheesh. The things you learn when you commit.