Regular readers know about my struggles with my fiction writing. I’m at a crossroads. Hell, I’ve been at a crossroads for years now, and I’m still stuck. No idea which way to turn, or if straight ahead is the best option.
So, here’s where I’m at…
The Irrepairable Past is pretty much ready to go. A 30,000 (or so) word novella about an old man who lives alone on the shores of Sullivan Bay. The story looks back on how it came to be that he ended up alone and why he is perfectly (well, almost) fine with that.
Northville Five & Dime is ready to go and has been for some time. Another 30,000 (or so) word novella about Lily and Sophie, who were orphaned and injured in a car accident. They’re now on their own when Peter comes into their lives. Northville tells the story about how they come together as a “social family.”
The thing is that once I completed Northville and my son read it in one night and complained that the story did not end, I realized there was more story to tell. And I’ve been stuck there now for a couple of years. I’ve written another 25,000 words on Northville, part two, which I could wrap up in a few thousand more words. So, that could work as a second novella in a Northville series. And in my head, I’ve mapped out the idea for a third novella. Which really means I’ve mapped out the idea for a complete novel. Or three novellas. Take your pick.
But for some reason I find myself so incredibly stuck on wrapping up the second part of Northville. I know what I want to do with it. I even know how to do it, but … pffffft!
So, I realized something. Maybe I just need to do work on something else, and here’s the idea I’ve come up with. Publishing three novellas that are unrelated to each other. Publishing each as a stand alone novella, and publishing them together as a collection. Which is why I’m here, and you’re there, and I’m asking you for help.
What novella would you like to see added to the mix? (Vote early and often.)
- K Street Stories — I started this years ago. It’s a series of interconnected short stories that bind together to a larger story. The stories are based on people I’ve come across in my time working in downtown Sacramento — homeless people, state workers, etc. Truth is, this may be more than a novella, but maybe not. Maybe, novella length would be perfect. I wrote several “chapters” years ago, and maybe it’s time to go back to it.
- Carlota — What I refer to as a space romp. Life on planet Earth is coming to an end. But a huge space ship has been built to take a few humans to an Earth-like planet to colonize and extend our existence in the universe. Carlota, a Colombian beauty, is on the ship and … well things happen. Again, I started this years ago, wrote some chapters, some thousands of words, and it sits there waiting for me.
- Untitled — I wrote a series of “experimental” short pieces based on characters who work in a circus. I’d like to do more with this and turn it into a longer set. Novella length may be good, but this is undeveloped enough that I’m not sure. But … I really like what I did with it.
- The Jump — my dystopian tale of an America with a dictator as President, a road trip, a place where the rules no longer apply. I wrote the first five chapters and then stalled. Maybe it’s a novella, maybe it’s a novel. Maybe it’s nothing other than those five chapters. (In case you want to check this out, you can find those first few chapters here.)
- Wark Creek — a brand new idea that came up a month or two ago. A co-worker was describing this seasonal creek that crosses his property in the foothills of California. I suggested it should be named Wark Creek (his last name). And that there’s a story to be told about Wark Creek. This has intrigued me ever since. Fully unformed, no words yet written, but … there’s something there. I think.
So, there you go. As I move towards my semi-retirement that will be arriving in December, I’m trying to figure out what it is I want to do with my writing. I want to find the thing that I will focus on and move forward with. But the options that exist are maybe part of the problem. My dad once told me to finish what I started once I started writing it — or I may never finish it. He was right. I’m struggling with … this or that or the other thing. And while I struggle with that, I get nothing done.
I want to come up with a concrete plan for publishing The Irrepairable Past, Northville Five & Dime (at least part one), and a third novella to complete the set.
What say you? Which of the ideas above intrigues you as a reader? Feel free to say “none of them. What the hell are you thinking?”