The End of a Story, The Beginning of Many / by Josh Guess

I've been putting off writing this post for a while now. Part of the reason was because I didn't want to upset anyone. Part of it was plain stubbornness on my part--I wasn't sure if I was sure. But now I am. This is going to cover a lot of ground, so stick with me all the way through, okay?

I'm ending Living With the Dead. Sort of.

I'm not taking down the blog or anything, but the current season will be the last collection. There is a small chance I'll collect more down the road, but unless circumstances change dramatically, it's unlikely. This does NOT mean the blog is ending, however. I will still post there if at a dramatically reduced pace. Instead of doing four days in a row and taking a day off, I might do two a week. Maybe only one.

The reasons are many. First and foremost, I've burned through most of the material I intended for the blog. I had a five-year plan and we're hitting that stuff right now, a year and a half earlier. So anything I write on the blog after the end of August will be internet-only stuff. Seven books seems like a good number to me.

LWtD as a universe will not only continue, but get even more awesome. Most you know about Victim Zero, my most recent novel. It's about how The Fall (which is the series title) began, the man responsible, and what it's like to lose everything and have the weight of the world on your shoulders as a result. The Fall will continue with Dead Will Rise, which is the next book following Kell's life, and the link is to the IndieGoGo campaign for it.

You might be asking why I'm choosing to end regular publication of the LWtD collections and why I'm choosing to devote less of my time to the blog. It's pretty simple: I'm a full-time writer as of now. That might not last, but for the next several months at least I can continue not having a job and focus on putting out books. You'd think that gives me more time for LWtD, but not so. I'm working on several novels of my own, a collaboration with another author, and managing my own business needs. LWtD is something I love, but I'm honest enough to realize I've tapped every interesting possibility out of that style of writing. The characters have done everything I can do with them in blog form. Which brings me to my next point...

The fictional people you've enjoyed in LWtD will at some point in the next year get a series of their own. Novels, not blog collections. A separate series from The Fall. That's one of many, many projects I'm planning out.

The reality is I need to focus. I dearly love LWtD and recognize that you as my readers have brought me to this point. I wouldn't be taking the chance of staying home and writing if not for you. I wouldn't be living my dream if not for you. I hope you all realize this isn't an easy call for me to make, but I'd rather end the collections here and not have the same hard deadlines I set for myself with the blog than continue on and put out something shitty. That's just the brass tacks of the situation.

I am, however, planning on doing something cool with the blog. While I will write posts--possibly as another character since anyone can die in LWtD--I will soon be trying to set up a process to find those of you who might want to take part as well. Beckley, for example, is a real person. I love his posts and if he wanted to do a post every week or every other week, I'd take him up on it in a heartbeat. I know there are others out there who want to do the same. I'll keep you updated on that.

That's basically it. For the near future I'm going to be doing what I've been doing for the last three months and change: sitting at home writing new stories for you to read. From a personal viewpoint this works out well for me. Jess is super supportive, almost suspiciously so. I get to be home and not deal with the ridiculous stress of working in healthcare, which in hindsight was literally killing me. My health is better even if I've put on a few pounds. I'm happier. I'm doing what I love.

From a business point of view it's a huge change for the better. LWtD isn't your standard fare, written entirely in narrative as it is, and that means it isn't likely to break out into wider popularity. That doesn't bother me at all, but as a matter of paying the bills it's time for me to move on to being more productive with standard novels. They make more money, have more appeal, and while you aren't getting the dose on a daily basis, I think you're getting a better product. I'm proud of my work on LWtD, immensely so. But it was writing practice to start, and three and a half years of doing it made me an iron man writer. I can produce novels fast, and Victim Zero is a better work than anything I've done on the blog.

It's that way because of the blog.

I hope this doesn't make too many of you angry, but it's the way things are. As a fan myself it always irritates me when a producer of regular content moves on to other projects. "Oh, but I love your webcomic! Why are you ending it?" "Oh, I love your blog, please don't start a different one and give up on this one!"

I've done what I can do with LWtD. Now I'm taking the world I built there and expanding on it. I doubt very much I'll ever be done with that world. I have the chance to do that and so much more.

I started the blog in March of 2010. By the end I'll have produced seven collections. And that's only the beginning when you look at the series I'm spinning off from it. Basically I told you that story so I could tell you these stories.

Hope you'll stick around for them.

Josh