My Current Works in Progress

I have never sold a story, but I have a lot of material I’m working on, preparing them for sale.  Tonight, I’m going to take a break from politics and real life and talk about all of the fiction I’ve been writing.

Most of my works in progress aren’t actually getting worked on.  They’re all in different states of completion, with some really close to completion, and others barely into the first draft.  A lot of these stories don’t have proper names.  I’m going to give their working names, their status, and a brief description.  If you like any of these stories, let me know and I may move it up in my priorities.  I’m listing them in the order in which I started them, and not in order of priority.

 

The Arthur Kane Stories 

Status: It’s complicated.

Description: The Arthur Kane Stories are three sci-fi/mystery short stories woven together to form a novel, set on the moon and following a private investigator named Arthur Kane.  I came up with the character and wrote a few short stories with him when I was 14.  After my Dad died, I wrote The Arthur Kane Stories as way of dealing with my Dad’s death, though I didn’t know it at the time.  I started this novel when I was 16 and finished it when I was 18.

When I talk to people about The Repossessd Ghost, they often ask me if it is my first novel.  The quesiton always makes me think of The Arthur Kane Stories.  It’s really is my novel, even if it it is pretty terrible.

A few people have read it over the years, and they say it’s not that bad.  Recently, I’ve been retyping it, transposing it from my Apple IIgs to PC before the old hardware and discs fail.  Retyping it has confirmed to me the low quality of the work.  However, I did have some good ideas.

 

Tales of the Day Knights 

Status: Unfinished First Draft

Description: In this fantasy story, the Day Knights are defenders of good and order, paladins of the sun and righteous protectors of the free people.  They fight the demons of night and the agents of chaos.  But what happens when one of these agents of chaos is turned, no longer skulking in the shadows, but taking up arms to fight for the sun?

I started this story while I was still working for my previous company.  That was a time where I desperately wanted to write and be creative, but I worked late hours for not much money, and I just didn’t have the heart or energy to put into this story.  There are some good ideas, and some good prose.  I like establishing the black and white moral code, then messing everything up with shades of gray.  I like the story of redemption and the questions of forgiveness that this story wants to ask.  I’m not sure when I’m going to get back to it.

 

The Clean Slate 

Status: Unfinished First Draft

Description: The Bourne Identity meets Game of Thrones in this fantasy story where a group of heroes are reanimated from stone.  They have no idea how they got there or who they are, and the kindly monk that greets them on reanimation sends them on a quest to save the world.  Along the way, they discover that they may not have been heroes in their previous life, and much of what they’ve been sent to contend with is the results of their dark deeds.

This was my first NaNoWriMo attempt.  I didn’t get to 50,000 words, but I got to a little over 30,000.  Before finishing the first draft, I sent the first chapter to my friend Tim, and he gave me his honest opinion.  The prose fell flat, and it was not my best work.

The story isn’t bad.  I just started it poorly.  I think it will be amazing when I go back and do it right.  Again, I’m dealing with issues of redemption and forgiveness.  If a person has no memory of doing some terrible deed, and no memory of even being an evil person, how close are they to redemption?  How much do you hold them responsible?  I also deal with some ideas concerning free will, disarmament of society, and whether or not the ends justify the means.  I will get back to this some day, though there are other stories ahead of it in priority.

 

Unclaimed Goods 

Status: Finished Second Draft

Description: A baggage attendant starts his first day on the job, and the older, gruff attendant he’s replacing is understandably upset with him.  The baggage that they’re dealing with are human bodies kept in stasis while the passengers spend their travel time in virtual reality.  What happens when one of the bodies is unclaimed at destination?

I wrote this short story with every intention of trying to sell it to Asimov’s.  I wrote it after I met Sheila Williams, and she said at the time that this was the sort of story that she was looking for.  After sending it through a writer’s workshop and my writer’s group, I tried sending it to Writers of the Future, and it was rejected.  I became discouraged, and I haven’t done anything with it since.

There are things that I can do to improve the story.  There are some good ideas here.  I just need to take some time to elevate them.  I might revisit this story in December.  Maybe I’ll actually send it to a magazine.  If I can find the guts.

 

The Repossessed Ghost 

Status: Finished Third Draft

Description: A young repo-man from New Orleans discovers he’s psychic when he finds a ghost in the back of a car he’s recently repossessed.  After he becomes a suspect in her murder, he flees with the ghost (Kate) to Sacramento and becomes entangled with a larger supernatural community.  Eventually he must solve Kate’s murder in order to stop another from sharing her fate.

This started as a NaNoWriMo project, and it is the first and only time I’ve succeeded in getting the 50,000 words in 30 days.  Over the next couple of years, I revisited it, edited it, shared it with my writer’s group, shared it with an editor friend, and toiled over it on my own taking all of the advice into consideration.  After the third set of revisions, I’ve finally started sending it out to find it a home.

I like this story, but I’m tired of working on it.  I have hopes that this will be my first traditionally published work.  If that doesn’t work out, I’ll put it up on Amazon.  It’s a good book.  We’ll see if it has legs.

 

Avatars 

Status: Finished Second Draft

Description: A gamer in an elaborate virtual reality is killed in the game, and deals with a close friend that is known to the gamer only in the virtual world.

I like this short story, though it could use a little bit more work.  Only a couple of people have read it, and if I describe it more than I have, it will give away some of the things that I think make the story cool.  It deals with identity, both real and online.  It also deals with online relationships and the barriers of fear we put that can keep us from really connecting.

 

Simon, of The Rock 

Status: Unfinished First Draft

Description: In this fantasy novel, the boy named Sim yearns to become the man named Simon.  But first, he must pass the right of passage which all people of The Rock tribe must endure.

I came up with the Simon character while playing on Star Wars MUSH.  I like this character.  I want to see this character breathe again in a story all his own.

I’ve got pages and pages of notes for the world building.  I envisioned this book being the first of a trilogy.  I’d thought about this series for years, and finally tried putting the words down for NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago.  The story has a long, long way to go before it’s completed.

 

The Adventurer’s Door 

Status: Unfinished First Draft

Description: A teenage boy travels to his grandfather’s house with his mother after his mother gets a divorce.  His grandfather gives him one rule: don’t open this door.  Curiosity overcomes him, and he finds a way, which leads him to a perilous adventure on a pirate ship.

I’d started this story with the intention of sending it to Jennifer Brozak.  I made it a ways into the short story, but then got swept up in work and wound up missing the deadline.  I like what I’ve written enough that I’ll eventually finish it, though it’s low on my list of priorities.

 

Hero 

Status: Unfinished First Draft

Description: A young woman, one of the War Dancers, gets in over her head after the walls fall and the champion of her people is mortally wounded.

This was another failed NaNoWriMo project.  I started it last year and barely made it into the second week of November before I gave up.  Work just got too busy, my music schedule was too busy, and I was too tired to give this story the energy it deserved.

The inspiration for this story is this song:

Every time I listen to the song, I get this powerful vision in my head.  I will eventually write this story.  It’s about an unlikely hero.  It’s about finding hope when all hope is gone.  It’s about finding strength in unlikely places, and overcoming adversity that looks insurmountable.

 

Synthetic Dreams 

Status: Unfinished First Draft

Description: Set 150 years after The Singularity, humanity is gone and those that are left are A.I.’s in synthetic bodies.  The story follows two homicide detectives as they follow a trail of strange discorporations.

I just started this story a few weeks ago.  I really, really love it.  This will probably be the most emotional story I’ve written as it deals with the human condition through non-human characters.  It contends with religion, gender biases, what it means to be alive, and morality.  I like the main characters.  I like the setting.  This one is going to go far.

I’m not going to finish it before November, so it’s going to get at least a month long pause.  Maybe I’ll finish the first draft in early 2018.

 

And that leads me to NaNoWriMo 2017.

This year, I’m cheating a little bit.  You’re supposed to work on a new novel.  I am writing a new novel, but it’s based on The Arthur Kane stories.  I’m keeping the main character, his partner, and his antagonist.  I’m changing the world a bit.  I’m making it first person.  I’m going to focus on bringing out the noir elements of the story.  I’m also adding some sci-fi ideas I’ve had over the years, like gladiator robot dog fights.

It really is a new novel.  Besides, I have to be well past some sort of statue of limitations.  This story is going to be different enough that the original can’t even be considered a first draft.

 

So that’s it.  Those are my works in progress.  There are other stories that I’ve worked on that I haven’t mentioned here.  But these are the stories that I want to finish.

If I ever manage to make the transition to becoming a full time writer, I have plenty of work to do.  I don’t have a shortage of ideas.  Just a shortage of time.

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