Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Writer's Wish List

This occurred to me the other day: I'm not doing too bad.

For the second time in my life, I'm writing for a living. Translation: I get to stay home and work in my boxer shorts and sip coffee while I write. I feel like I've paid my dues. My first novel was on a great but small press. The advance was 0.00 dollars. I've graded so many stacks of freshman comp papers that they still occasionally haunt me in my sleep. I survived grad school. I wrote for a large New York publisher until they got sick of me ... then wrote for another big New York publisher until they got sick of me. Then along comes Marvel Comics. I write some things, prove myself, and boom I'm a full time writer again. But I'm not out of the novel business. If you haven't yet, check out THE DEPUTY from Tyrus Books.

So I'm not doing too bad. But the thing is ... I want more. Greedy? Maybe, but I'd prefer to think of it as ambitious. The list of things I still want to do is growing. Somebody will blog or twitter about some cool project and I'll think HEY! THAT SOUNDS NEATO! I WANT IN ON THAT! So below is my writer's wish list:

1. Video Games. I love games like Oblivion or Fallout 3 or Fable because they have such a strong narrative element. I'd love to be the writer for one of these cool games. (And don't you just think Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse would make a great video game?)

2. Novels. Yeah, I know I just directed you to my latest crime novel, but what about the next one? I love writing comics, but those deadlines come fast and it's cuttting into my novel writing time. I'm happy to say in the last 6 days I've put up 6200 words toward my next novel. Finally got off the dime.

3. More novels. I have a lot of ideas for a lot of different genres. Even while working on the novel mentioned above, I kept thinking of 3 other projects I wish I had time for.

4. Screenplays. I've been bitten by the bug and have made a few pennies here and there as a couple of my screenplays have been optioned. But I'd love to see something I've written actually get made into a film. A tall order, I know. Attention, producers: bring money.

5. I want to get an iPhone or a Droid. Not sure that belongs on this list but too bad. My list.

6. Believe it or not, I don't want to be 100% out of teaching. I'd love to be writer in residence or a semester guest for an MFA program. Grading freshman comp cuts too much into writing time, but I do like to work with enthusiastic creative writing students under the right circumstances.

7. I think I might need a new grill soon, and I saw one that had charcoal on one side and gas on the other. The thing was as big as a Navy destroyer.

So ... what about you guys? Got a wish list?


Unknown said...

1) I'd like someone to pay me to write. Not much, just a little. I don't ever expect to make a living as a writer, but a few thousand dollars here or there wouldn't be so bad.

2) I'd like for my magazine, Crimefactory, to make enough money that my partners and I could simply work little silly jobs a few days a week to keep us in smokes, beers and the occasional cheeseburger.

3) I'd like to open my own comic shop because we don't really have one in my area and because of the age demographic, I think it would do pretty well.

4) I'd like to give you my iPhone, because being so connected all the time is kind of annoying. But I can't give it to you, because my wife would yell at me and ask questions like: "you gave it to who?", "what made you want to give it to the go-go girl guy?" and then she would strangle me, which would probably traumatize my daughter, so buy your own smart phone, Victor!

Victor Gischler said...


Good list. You'll find that as you accomplish those items, your next list will be just slightly more ambitious. At least, that's how it happened with me.


Neil said...

I want to write good novels that people want to pay for. And I'm starting to think those should be thrillers. Line by line, as fucking good as I can make them, but I would love to write the books people pick up in mass market bricks at an airport.

And if they'd make a good movie or two out of them, I'd be thrilled.

And beyond that, I'd love to be freed up to write whatever books I want and find someone excited t publish them.

And I love my day job, helping the next generation of writers find spots in grad school and beyond.

Also, would love for PWG to keep chugging along, nothing ambitious. Just be the nebula from which tomorrow's noir writer stars are formed.

If all that can help me buy a house on Lake Superior right outside of Duluth, then SCORE!

Laura Sells said...

I don't want to start an iPhone vs. Droid war. I have a Droid and I love it. The issues for me were 1) I was locked into a contract with Verizon and 2) I like to support open source. The only real disappointment I've had is that I can't use the Droid overseas. There is a new Droid model coming out at the end of the month, so if anything, I'd advise a wait to see what that's like.

As for the teaching, I'd really miss it too if I had to leave it for a successful career in something else. But there are alternatives unless you only want to work for money. You could do projects through community centers. I know some writers in town who work with high school seniors in special programs. You could even set something up like that yourself. Have schools pick a couple of standout seniors and do a summer creative writing thing.

Anyway, I miss you being across the hall at BRCC but I'm glad you are having such fun!

Jimmy Callaway said...

Mostly, I just wish to continue to not suck at writing. I also wish I could tell my boss to shove it up his fuckin' ass sideways, but who wouldn't, writer or not.

Chris said...

1) I'd like someone to pay me to write. Not much, just a little. I don't ever expect to make a living as a writer, but a few thousand dollars here or there wouldn't be so bad. (Look familiar? That's because I totally plagiarized Keith's #1 from above. Sue me, Rawson!)

2) I'd like an opportunity to try my hand at writing a comic book. I think I will at some point, just need to find an artist because my own artwork SUCKS.

3) I'd like to be part of some daring adventure expedition and write about it. We're going to Panama in January. Hopefully something untoward will befall us that, while leaving all unharmed and no worse for the wear, nonetheless provides enough action and edge-of-the-seat thrills as to prove cash register gold at the booksellers.

4) I too would like to write a movie. I intend to dabble more in making short films as well, which also has kind of a writing component as well, even if it's just a film about my dog eating gross things and rolling in it.

5) Keep writing novels. Like the good Mr. Gischler, I can't possibly imagine sticking to one genre either.

Graham Powell said...

I just with I had the emotional fortitude to face the blank page every day. Currently I'm writing 3 or 4 nights a week, and that's a HUGE increase.

Karen Olson said...

I'd like to write full time and quit the day job. But since I've just finished the last book in my contract and there's nothing on the horizon, well, I guess that's a pipe dream.

That said, I'm writing a YA novel that I'm really getting into and I hear those are still selling. I'll let you know.

Unknown said...

1 - Finish my books aand start querying in earnest, ideally without getting laughed at.

2 - Eat some delicious barbecue at Victor's.

Jay said...

Actually, I'd trade ALL of my phones in for another Gischler novel as good as SHOTGUN OPERA. Actually, anything that keeps you writing is a good thing for all of us.

Victor Gischler said...


Thanks, man. Glad you like SHOTGUN OPERA so much.

Actually, we have a damn good screenplay adaptation of it all ready to go. Tell your millionair producer friends to bring money if you want to see it become a film.


Ishadow said...

You Vic- nice list! It's been ages! I hope to be able to see you in Sanford when you come- I'll be working in Lakeland that day but might be able to sneak away...shush.. don't tell the boss. ;) Take care! Karen Langston (APO)

Bryon Quertermous said...

Good god do I have a list:

1) I would like to make a good living soley from fiction writing. That fiction I would like to include:

2)Novels. It begins and ends with novels for me. I think the novels are a great "in" to other projects, but I just love novels. I'd like to write across a couple genres, including romance.

3) Movies. I love them and I'd like to write for them. Not so much television, but maybe a TV movie.

3) Plays. Obviously Broadway or something in NYC would be cool, but I'd be happy with Chicago or Detroit or even Ann Arbor.

4) Comics. Sort of. I'd like to start with a one shot or two of Punisher or something cool like that, but I'd really love to bring back Damage Control or some other self-referential comic book thing. I'd also REALLY like to do one of those Vertigo Graphic Novels.

5) More short stories. I'd like to be invited to anthologies because I do my best short story work when I'm given a set of restrictions to work with

6) Teaching. I was once on the path to being a rhetoric and comp professor and then at various times on the path to a creative writing degree as well, but I always loved teaching, even the freshman comp, but a visiting professor gig or guest lecturer or something would be cool too.

And I love my BlackBerry. I really use my phone mostly for emailing and internet browsing and the BlackBerry keyboard is better than the iPhone.

Anonymous said...

My Writing Wish list:

1. Finish a novel. Just quit worrying about the "perfect storm" novel and write.
2. Keep writing short stories. Build stockpile and submit till they cover the sky like starlings.
3. Create my own graphic novel. Publishing will hopefully garner the attentions of the comic book higher ups and possibly Hollywood.
4. Find my signature hat. A fedora, backward kangol cap or a long brimmed-fly fishing hat ala Venus Flytrap. I would love to find one that makes me look good and blends in with my "cough" style.

Rob Smith

Ricky Bush said...

Yeah, go for the iPhone 4. I can't afford one, because I bought my teenager one. By the way...The Deputy is a rockin' good read, dude.Tyrus Books looks to be progressing nicely.

Victor Gischler said...

Thanks, Ricky.

I'm still thrilled DEPUTY found a home at Tyrus, and I'm hoping a lot more readers find the book.


Steve Malley said...

I'm glad you're staying on the novels. Don't forget Jack Kirby's quote:

'Comics will break your heart."

Glad they're paying you, though! :-)

Laura Lippman said...

I don't know what it says about my life that I'm using my first real leisure time in weeks to catch up with Victor's blog but I'm sure it's something GOOD. And there's something really inspiring about this post.

1) I'd like to read more and more widely, which means I have to stop watching some really stupid television shows.
2) I'd like to continue making a living as a fulltime writer for at least fifteen years. So not a given.
3) I'd like a truce. Between traditionally published and self-published writers. Between those who love books and those who think digital will make physical books obsolete. Between "New York publishing" and the rest of the country. Between vampires and werewolves. Across all genres.
4) I'd like everyone who loves and cares about books to go out this week and persuade someone to buy/read a book that they normally would never buy/read. As dogs have shown us, mutts are the healthiest breeds.
5) I'd like a designated parking place behind my Baltimore rowhouse. Mr. Lippman had a feverish dream last night in which he imagined this was possible and outlined it for me in great detail.
6) I'd like to be cool. As a writer. (As a person, it's hopeless.) I want to be the kind of writer whose book, hugged casually to someone's hip, would be considered a coolness badge. I would like to think that a guy reading one of my books would increase his odds of getting laid. "OMG! You read Laura Lippman?"
7) I would like to be cloned, so that Writer Me had 24 hours a day and Me Me had 24 hours a day. I'm still unclear on which one of us would go to the gym, but otherwise, I've got the division of duties down.
8) I have already thrown my lot in with the iPhone, but what I would like is an app that would allow me to use it to control the television/DVD/cable box/Bose sound system. Oh, I know you think there are such universal remotes in existence. Trust me. I have the most f'ed up television system on the planet. I need my own personal AV squad.

Sarah Shaber said...

This is a great blog post. My wishes:

1. I do write full time, but I'd like to make some money doing it.

2. I want to start going back to conferences, even if I don't have a new book contract, because I miss everyone.

3. I want a refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom because I'm tired of getting on my hands and knees to find my food. Unfortunately the one I have works fine.

4. I would like an elevator to get the laundry up and down from the basement

5. I want my son to stop sleeping on the sofa and my dog to stop scratching

6. You are cool, Laura

Scott Phillips said...

1. I wish I was somebody else.

There, that's the whole list. I'm not greedy.

Victor Gischler said...


I like you to be you. See you in Milwaukee.


Wow. That's a long wish list. You must really, really like this blog ... which is not a short cut to being cool. (You are already by the way.

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