Yes, that’s the kind of advice you get. Not “What message is burning in your soul?” or “What scares you the most?” It’s “Make it more like Stephen King so I can make some money!”
So I cobbled up this four-page outline for the idea. I never outline, and therefore it was a bit confusing. How could I know what happened until I actually lived the story?
But I did it, the agent took it to an editor who was a fan of my work, and she came back with “It’s too confusing.”
I’d written a few chapters but went on to other things. When I started self-publishing, I decided to tackle it “Scotty style,” meaning I didn’t care what the outline said, I wanted to see what happened. So I typed it in a total state of panic. After the first draft, I was a little depressed, though glad to have finished. After the second draft, I wasn’t that happy, either, but by the third time though, I liked it.
There were times when I’d go out to pick up my daughter and the “real world” felt strange while the story world felt real and normal. That, to me, is a sign of a good project. Sales and reviews and all that stuff are fun, but it’s that magical feeling that’s worth the pursuit.
Liquid Fear—10 years after a tragic experiment in fear response, the subjects realize the research never ended…
When Roland Doyle wakes up with a dead woman in his motel room, the only clue is a mysterious vial of pills bearing the label “Take one every 4 hrs or else.”
Ten years before, six people were involved in a secret pharmaceutical trial that left one of them murdered and five unable to remember what happened. Now the experiment is continuing, as Dr. Sebastian Briggs wants to finish his research into fear response and post-traumatic stress disorder. He’s backed by a major drug company and an ambitious U.S. Senator, but he also has a personal stake in the outcome.
Only by taking the mysterious pills can the survivors stave off the creeping phobias, carnal impulses, and madness that threaten to consume them. But the pills have an unexpected side effect—the survivors start remembering the terrible acts they perpetrated a decade ago. They are lured back to the Monkey House, the remote facility where the original trials took place, and Briggs has prepared it for their arrival.
Now they are trapped, they each have only one pill left, and cracks are forming in their civilized veneer.
After the pills are gone, there’s only one option. “Or else.”