You may remember that, a while back, I posted a call for ideas on topics that you would like to see covered here. Well, I’m finally responding to the answer I got. Penguin, in brief, suggested that I talk more about the things that I’m working on and the things which give me trouble in my writing.
Though higher education occasionally gets in the way of my writing whenever I find inspiration, it sometimes helps, and although I haven’t had much time to touch some of my older, unfinished pieces, I have been turning out a lot of new material, and I’m currently sitting on close to a dozen pieces which are in at least ready to progress to second draft, if they haven’t already gotten there or beyond, and another big piece in the works.
My main struggle in my writing is time and inclination. At school, I often find that the that time I have to work on non-class-related-writing is better consumed by socializing with my equally busy friends or gets wasted away doing seven kinds of nothing. I often run into the same problems when I’m on break, minus the academic work. Nevertheless, I have gotten better at managing my time and making sure that I do actually work on my writing. I strive to do at least as well as I did several summers ago when I managed to turn out close to one hundred manuscript pages of text. Not all of that got finished, and not all of it was even that good, but I got it done, and a lot of that writing is still useful to me.
Since I have about a dozen pieces of fiction that I’m sitting on right now, I’m not going to try to go into all of them in detail, but I will give some of the highlights.
For several years, I’ve had a character by the name of Marshall Celan who has been my go-to character when I have an idea for a story, but little in the way of characters. Mr. Celan is also my main urban fantasy protagonist: a paranormal investigator from Philadelphia, circa 1970, who can see what others can’t and does his best to use this as a marketable skill. At the moment, I have three tales about Mr. Celan which are in various stages of completion, one being out on market pending a response, one on its third draft and almost ready for market, and one in first draft with workshop notes which need to be acted upon. Marshall also has a stack of stories which are half-formed in my mind, waiting for the right moment to spring onto the page.
Among the other stories which I’m sitting on at the moment, the ones which I’m most excited about don’t quite fit the urban fantasy mold. One, a novelette about pseudo-Victorian technology, is more of what I’d call weird fiction, running along the lines of Lovecraft, but without any of the supernatural trappings which that normally entails. Another piece is a retold fairytale, a Cinderella-story set in a post-apocalyptic world, while the third, a total work-in-progress is shaping into an alternate-history story with a healthy dose of mythology.
This last story, which is currently little more than scrawled notes in a few different books, is going to look a lot more like the original, broader definition of urban fantasy, as stated in my last post. It’s also a rather large project, being assigned as a novelette/novella-length piece, and I’m going to do my best to track progress on it here as a kind of follow-up to my post on research from several months back, so you can expect at least a few posts out of me on that subject in the coming month.