Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Work in Progress

I am not a hugely prolific writer although I have been trying hard to increase my output over the past few years.

I have a number of short stories that are just at the idea stage. I will often write a couple paragraphs setting the scene, creating a POV character and hinting at a conflict or inciting incident – then I see where it goes from there.

I currently have half a dozen of those in my Work in Progress folder. Some of those almost seem to work at that nascent length as flash fiction and a few, in the 100-1000 word range have been submitted to various markets. One called “The Crowd in the Mirror” has received good feedback, but needs to be fleshed out a bit, so it may remain as a short short. It’s very topical though, so I need to do it soon. “Imported Spirits” is glib, but doesn’t have the character depth to be truly scary or funny. I can’t decide whether it’s worth revisiting. "Illumine" (AKA “Enlightenment”) was enormous fun to write. I currently have the original 475 word version which is not as polished but has a sense of humour that the 950 version seems to lack. I still like it – but am running out of viable places to send it and suspect that it is destined for the “trunk” – the place where unsellable stories go to molder. I no longer submit to non-paying markets (and refuse to send anything to the growing number of markets that do not reply to submissions). Several other stories are still at the idea stage, waiting to be unfolded.

I have currently have three sizable stories that started well, but went off the rails along the way. One was actively disliked by friends and family who are good enough to read my early drafts. I need to make the protagonist more sympathetic or find a different protagonist. If I can pull that off, I may be able to fix the story, which is sitting at about 4,000 words. Another story, with the working title “The Boko Bag” started as a short short, and grew to 4,000 words before I realized that it too had character problems. So I rewrote the whole thing from the POV of a different protagonist. It only works though if I hold onto my original anti-hero. So it’s essentially telling two interweaving stories at the same time. It’s currently just under 10,000 words and is a bit of a mess. I’ve been letting it sit with the intention to come back to it – but am not sure I ever will, since it’s somewhat topical but may not be in a year’s time. “Unembraceable” has been rewritten from top to bottom three times – going back out to the market each time. Judging by the stack of form rejections it has received, it seems it’s still not working and since I have a newer, more accessible story on a similar theme – “Unembraceable” is probably headed for the “trunk.” My story “The Unraveling” is the first story I wrote upon coming back from a twelve year period where I simply stopped writing. I’m finally coming to terms with the realization that it is a troubled story that still isn’t sure what it wants to say. It will be rewritten if I manage to get inspired again, but otherwise, it may join some of its pals in the “trunk.”

Then there are the stories that are on the market and better damned well find their editors because I am completely happy with them. While I would be willing to revise them at the request of an interested editor – they will otherwise just stay on the market until they sell. If that doesn’t happen within a year or two, I will consider self-publishing them.

“They Fell Away” is an 8,500 word horror novelette that I’m very proud of. A few of my well-established writer friends say that without either a reputation or an editor who adores everything you do, a story (especially a horror story) of that length may simply never sell. It’s simply too long for 95% of the markets.

“Ladder of Ashes” is a 4500 word horror story that has just recently started looking for a home. Editors seem to like it (although, so far, not quite enough to buy it),  but I am confident it will eventually find a good home.

“The World's First Fireproof Woman” is a weird, sf/comedy/experimental story that several editors have hovered over but no one has yet committed to. It has a strange format and…well, it’s just strange. But it’s also short enough that it can keep going back out with a reasonable hope of finding its place.

“Rated F for Family” Is the one I just wrote – specifically for a particular market. It’s humourous and short, and humour is subjective enough that if the editors I wrote it for don’t want it – I am quite sure it will land softly and quickly somewhere nice. I have yet to write a humourous story that hasn’t sold, which begs the question, “what are you doing writing that horror stuff?” But then, I do have about a 50% success rate with horror, and it provides an outlet for my dark side. So shuttup and let me write….


Is that all there is, you ask? Well, pretty much. “Rapunzel and the Tower of Song” was exclusive to this blog, though I appear to have taken it down so it may be heading to the marketplace.  I have a couple of stories that have been somewhat popular on Wattpad – “The Burning Man” and “Bloom,” which I may eventually take down/rewrite/try-to-sell. And I have a couple of stories that have appear nowhere but in my collection, “Psychedelia Gothique” that may eventually resell somewhere else.  And then, there are the novels in progress – three of them – and that’s a whole 'nother story.

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