Today, 7 December 2011, marks the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In a strange twist of fate, it also marks 20 years since I began the first of my spinoff series from WTCOAC. I wasn’t even done with the dreadful Proud to Be a Smart yet, but I was already so in love with Max and his family that I had to start a whole series showcasing them. And the first book, of course, begins in June 1941, only six months before Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into the War. The War will continue till the 15th book, Last Summer Before High School.
Max is my favorite male WTCOAC character. I’m glad he comes across as kinda cocky, too sure of himself, and a bit self-absorbed when I’ve posted short segments featuring him here. He’s supposed to be like that, and the arguments he and his cousin Elaine have over his less than flattering characteristics are great continuity during the series. But even though he’s pretty cocky, selfish, preoccupied with girls and sex, and a bit of a male chauvinist, deep down he’s a really nice guy with a soft spot. And he is after all a young guy when the series starts. His brain hasn’t nearly finished maturing yet. Even the somewhat more mature Elaine still says and does a lot of stupid stuff over the years because she’s so young and thinks she already knows everything.
I just love all the characters in the Seward-Campbell family, and how complex and well-drawn they’ve become over the years. I also love the side stories with Kit and her family, which feature prominently in a number of the books completed to date. This is also the series I chose to insert the alternate historical trajectory of the Shoah characters into. While Max, Elaine, and their friends think they have it hard with wartime rationing, unwanted family vacations, annoying relatives, tough schoolwork, and out of touch parents, Sparky’s friends and their friends over in Europe are just trying to survive and then relearn as best they can how to be a part of the human race.
My favorites to date that I’ve written are #1, #2 (before the file got sick and went on indefinite hiatus), #5, #7, and #9-11. Though the whole series is meant to be humorous, I think those ones are the funniest so far. Like my other Atlantic City books, they’re a combination of historical fiction, social satire, humor, and spoof. They’re not really meant to be read as straight historical fiction (except of course for the Shoah storylines), just like the steampunk genre isn’t straight historical fiction in spite of being set in the past.
These are the finished books to date, and the two which are still on hiatus, with their estimated lengths. #7-#11 haven’t been reformatted, revised, or edited yet, and I know #3 still needs a bit of work to make it shorter. #8 is also overwritten and could stand to lose some of the excess verbiage. The first book needs more editing and revising than I’d thought, esp. the original sections. #4-#6 need some additional work as well, esp. since there’s way too much focus on Cinni and Levon’s new relationship in #6 and not enough focus on the stars of the series, the Sewards and Campbells.
I’m entirely cutting out the stupid Livia and Liam in 2007 subplot, since it just bogs down the main story and makes the entire book far too long. It just can’t really be appreciated or fully understood without copious amounts of backstory. Like, every time an important character or past event is referred to, there’s at least one explanatory paragraph to explain who or what they’re talking about. Someone who’s read Cinnimin all the way through to the future Saga VII, the Aughts of the 21st century, would know without explanation who these people are or what these past events are, but not someone who only knows these people from 1938-43.
It now just seems like little more than mental masturbation, an excuse to write a story with some of my favorite then-new characters way before they were old enough to be the leads in a storyline. As pathetic as when a soap suddenly speed-ages all its children (pun intended) because the writers just can’t wait for them to become teens or adults.
#1: New Beginnings, 60,ooo words
#2: Families Stick Together, perhaps 75 pages completed before file got sick and on hiatus ever since (but I do vividly remember just about everything that had happened up to that point). Sixteen pages are printed out, not all in order. Perhaps the word count of what was completed is in the ballpark of 22,000?
#3: Resolutions, 71,000 words
#4: The Start of AS, 53,000 words
#5: Mixed Feelings, 50,000 words
#6: Two Happy Endings, 93,000 words
#7: Summer’s Soo Cool, 53,000 words
#8: Back to School, 70,000 words
#9: Who Said Junior High Was Supposed to Be Easy?, 62,000 words
#10: The “In” Crowd, 56,000 words
#11: Winter Vacation, 63,000 words
#12: Making the Grade, 12 chapters completed before it was put on hiatus, with perhaps 5-10 more to go. Perhaps in the vicinity of 60,000 words to date?
The average length of the ten completed books is 63,100 words.