Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Writing Projects: Update

Just for fun, as a sort of check-in to keep myself on track, here's a rundown of all my current WIPs:

*Atheists in the Cemetery: My short ghost story for Fiction Desk's Ghost Story Competition has been returned by 2/3 of my crit partners. Feedback is positive, though there is still plenty of work to do. This was a tough one to write, which is weird: one of the first writing contests I ever won was with a ghost story for the Miami Herald when I was in 8th grade. My living room has a view of the nearby cemetery, which helped inspire the story. So...what gives? Maybe I went into this one with too much hubris. I figured it would just flow easily from my fingertips. The story itself is fine, it's just not very creepy -- a characteristic I believe ghost stories need for success. Will continue to inject as much creep factor into this one as I can before the May 30 submission deadline.

*The Stone Age Gap: I wrote this on a whim, inspired by my older son's love of robots and my fear of half-robot cyborg grandchildren one day. Once again, early feedback is positive, though it seems not reading a lot of science fiction is coming back to bite me in the ass. Not only is the theme of my story (sort of "Rise of the Machines" meets "Stepford Wives") been done to death, there's an actual name for it: near-future neo-Luddite. I like that, it makes me sound prophetic. I guess all those episodes of the Twilight Zone have rubbed off on me. (Rod Serling, writer of The Twilight Zone, was famously anti-technological takeover.) All I can do now for this story is hope that my take on the "near-future neo-Luddite" sub-sub-genre is creative and interesting enough to get published somewhere. Rod Serling, here I come!

*The Hollow Queen: I'm 46K words in, or at about 38% of my target word count goal of 120K. The reason for such a high word count goal is because I plan to pare it down in revisions to 100-105K. At this point the story is exactly where I need it to be, the action is coming along, and the characters are behaving themselves. If I can average 1K per day from now on - accepting that I'll have to do 2-3K on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the little one is at daycare, to make up for days when I can't write at all - I can have a complete first draft by the end of June, and a revised draft to send to my crit partners by Labor Day. Then, hopefully by next spring I'll have a query-worth draft to start pitching to agents.

*Wanderlust: Continues to collect metaphorical dust in the metaphorical drawer of my laptop's hard drive. I'm 55K in to a projected 100K first draft, so that's not nothing. But, it's had to take a rest while I bang out The Hollow Queen. Once THQ is out to my crit partners I'll revisit Wanderlust.

So there you go. Now I've said it, I've thrown it out there into the ether, now I *have* to finish those short stories and complete a first draft of THQ by June 30. Challenge accepted!

How are everyone else's projects coming along?


  1. Those sound like some cool stories (and book). I always seem to have a lot of good projects in the air, my problem tends to be applying myself properly when there's no deadline!

  2. Yeah, that's why I try to self-impose deadlines, and get as much done when both kids are out of the house as I can. Also: One of my crit partners (I won't name names...) gets on my case about once a week. :-)