Monday, January 4, 2010

Works in Progress, works stalled, works gathering dust bunnies

Where is this road taking me?
I seem to be doing fine with my New Year solutions. I like it, I like the rhythm of my days AND I need to figure out where I'm going with my several manuscripts. So bear with me while I take stock. I'll work from the oldest to the newest wip on the block.

Feckless - finished, revised and shelved. I think I still like it and I think it needs further revision. It went out in the world a few times, got nibbled but not taken and I've been ignoring it for about a year and a half now. Probably needs about three months work I imagine.

True - 65 thousand words in, stalled. Stopped writing it to take up writing a mystery in the belief that it would help me with plot and structure. Really like the premise and think my writing improved a fair bit from Feckless. Also my protagonist up and moved from Nova Scotia to Alberta and I feel unworthy of understanding the place of my birth properly without a visit - this may be just a dodge on my part however.

The Rock Walker - finished, revised and trying to find a publisher or an agent. I've gotten about five or six rejections so far - one from a publisher, the rest from agents. It now rests with a Canadian publishing house that has a mystery imprint.

Earth Bound - at about 50 thou (took some stuff out after NaNoWriMo that didn't quite belong). I've been wrestling with the plot a bit. Think I know the ending and having a bit of a time with all the suspects - made up some charts and so forth but really need to get some peace with it. It is an unwieldly mass at this point.

Sojourners - I'm fifteen thou into this my heart project. This is neither fish nor fowl at this time. A novel that is a memoir or a memoir that has fictional strands. The friend who shares this story is looking at it and sending me some of the things she remembers which may get included with a straight memoir or may become part of the novel. YIKES. I'm loving it though.

So to sum up - five novels and only one out of the bunch that I think is truly done! Yep. OK, back to work.

Where are the rest of you writers with this works in progress or not thing? Or any of you, when you take inventory or stock - what do you find?


L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm impressed! I don't think I could work on that many projects at one time.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

That's a great deal on your plate! Good for you for assessing them all. Now make a decision on what to do with all of them. You'll sleep better.

Hope you're surviving all those nasty storms I'm seeing on the news.


Watery Tart said...

I think you're doing GREAT! You seem to share my affinity for one word titles. And I too have a mystery half finished, taken up for reasons not quite related to THAT BOOK ...and my magnum opus will be a memoire of sorts, necessarily fictionalized and completely a different genre from my conspiracy, thrillerish stuff...

So I think you should spend a little time with that first work now that you have developed as a writer... polish her up and get her out there again.

I'm wondering if perhaps we share DNA... or possibly brain cells. If the latter, I may need to use them soon, just so you've been warned.

Jan Morrison said...

Diane - I don't think I can work on that many projects at one time either! Today I chose to work on Earth Bound, the second mystery. I penetrated some of the tangle and shook some strands loose.
Elspeth - it does feel better to take stock and I think I will sleep better. I also don't have a stomach ache for the first time in six days so that is also good. Getting the demons of sugar and wheat out of my system is harder than letting them in I'll tell ya!
Tartlett - hmm...still a little scared of Feckless - but you're probably right. One of the thingys is that since I've got The Rock Walker out and hopeful I want to have a good grip on the second in the series - so...I dunnoh still. Yikes. Are you sure you want some of our shared brain cells or did you already come and get them?! Aha!!!

Helen Ginger said...

Amazing that you have so many works in different stages of "done." Quite impressive. Will you choose one and give it all of your attention, or work on several at a time?

Straight From Hel

Stacy Post said...

Jan, you don't give yourself enough credit! That's an amazing amount of words written! :)

I'm in the midst of two novels, one is an adult novel, women's fiction, hovering at 62,000 words and rounding the bend to completion. (Shooting for 80K). The second is the sequel to a children's ghost story and it's at 45,000 words, with about 20K to go. I've got the completed first ghost story out with an agent and hope to complete these two because there's more brewing in the head than I can get down on paper. Toss in flash fiction pieces and a poems here and there and I've got a fine mess. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I need the variety to keep the creative juices flowing.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I'm impressed that any one can work on so many projects at one time. I might work on a short story or two while I'm working on a novel, but basically, I'm a one novel at a time sort of person.

My second novel in on the production list at the publisher's and now I'm only 30,000 words into my latest WIP.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Yeah, I gotta echo the others what a writing machine you are. How in the world do you balance all those things??? I'm such a straight line little dwarf. I write, I revise (a million times) I synopsize, I query, I deal with rejection, I shelve, I repeat. One thing at a time. You, are a multi-tasker! Good job.

Best Regards, Galen.

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Jan Morrison said...

Helen - that is probably a good idea - but not sure if I can do it on purpose! By that I mean if I look at how I've worked in the past, I did totally dedicate myself to The Rock Walker and I did finish Feckless before starting another one (I think...)but I do like to have another one going so I'm at least writing when I get stuck. Perhaps I should sit with the stuckness and get through to the other side. But then I'll have to choose! Nooooooooooo...
Stacy - yes! That is how I feel. It keeps me juiced but it may stall me in some ways too.
Sounds like you have a lot on the go too.
Jane - my problem has always been focus and I think that was engrained in me as I have done lots of my 'writing life' writing plays. They were fairly quick to write and then months and months and sometimes years getting worked on (the lively counterpart to revisions in the theatre world). You simply had to keep going while fretting about one - the other had to be cooking.
Galen - I think if we looked at it altogether it might even out. I mean timewise that is. Part of my desire to work on my second mystery is that I thought that might make my first more saleable and as I already knew my protagonist - a bit easier to write. Also, I became inspired by a place here in Nova Scotia and wanted to write about it while it was fresh in my mind.
While I worked through Feckless - my first novel to be finished - I also wrote several plays. I was in a fever of writing after I graduated from college too - because I was used to writing you see!
Thanks everyone for weighing in. I have some things to think about for sure.

Watery Tart said...

Your second responses here are exactly me. I wrote all of my first (with some fan fiction going on the side, then started the second, but that wasn't flowing AT ALL so I started a third, then got back to editing the first, then inspiration struck on the second so I wrote it PLUS the next in a sequence (then I stuck in a NaNo) so though my intention was always one at a time, and I really DO try to focus on just one (right now I am filling in NaNo holes, so that one is DONE).... I totally get how the plan starts to spiral.

I think once you are agented and published then they start coming out the back end and some linearity will return... or maybe I'm delusional.