Perhaps a change of direction

A couple of weeks ago I started writing a new story. It's called "the Writer, Writing". I've mentioned it on here before - comparing it to one of my favourite authors in terms of subject matter (although I will stress again, not in terms of quality). It is a nothing story - a quirky little idea that appeals to me. But I've always had a fondness for stories where the lead character is an author/writer; as well as a fondness for stories where, when you think about it, nothing actually happens.

Well I handed the first few parts of it (a little over 21, 000 words) to my number one test reader and I have my first impressions of what someone thinks about it. On the flattering side she said she liked it and wanted to know where it was going. On the downside she said this was a Stephen King book 30 idea. From earlier conversations I know exactly she means by this.

You see (and I know this depends on how you count but trust me this is the not all that relevant bit) the 30th book Stephen King released was "the Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon". It's not a typical Stephen King book. It's good but it doesn't really fit with the others he's done. But if you've released 29 bestsellers before it then you can pretty much do what you like. For one book anyway; I'm sure if he went off on mad tangents released obscure book after obscure book his readership would disappear but one here and there he'll get away with. (And yes this is a good book in my opinion.)

So the quandary I've been wrestling with for the past day or so is do I continue writing a book I am enjoying writing but can only agree is not a commercial book from everything I've read and heard; or do I shelve it and try something else? It's a tricky one. You see recently I've shelved one or two projects and it's becoming a habit; one I don't want to add to unnecessarily.

I think I am going to follow the advice though. I write because I enjoy writing. That is paramount. This is not my job; I make very little money from writing. If I'm going to sacrifice my spare time to sit in front of this keyboard I have to enjoy what I'm doing. But more than that I have to feel it has purpose.

So far I have finished

Adam's Death
(horror novel - nowhere near publishable)

The Day before Tomorrow
(sf novel - likewise)

Mr. Stinky
(horror novel - okayish - did get a couple of offer so publication on this but ther ewere issues for me with the offers)

Against the Fall of Empire
(alternate history novel - long- okayish)

A Second Life
(weird novella - needs a rewrite if I'm to submit it)

The Patternmaker's Daughter
(fantasy novel - book one in what I would imagine to be four books. I think this is the best I've done so far)

The Intersection
(weird novella - I like this and I did get a publication offer on it - just not good terms so I didn't accept)

(weird novella - this I think is the best of the novellas)

No Man's Land
(bawdy sf comedy - I like some of the ew-factor jokes)

The Town, the Company
(weird novella - could do with a new ending)

The Stairs Lead Down
(supernatural novel - could be start of a series, maybe two series)

The problem is that last of these was finished about three months ago and all I've done since is start stories, then leave them abandoned. I have

Kiss Like Judas
(weird novella - 6,333 words - intended 32K)

I Had to, Don't You See?
(weird novella - 2,424 words - intended 30K)

A World out of Balance
(conspiracy theory sf - 6,597 words - intended 90K)

The Church...
(sf novel - 11,736 - intended 110K, first in a series)

The City and the Mask
(dark fantasy novel - 2,881 words - intended 85K)

(fantasy novel - 9,621 words 0 intended 85K, first in a series)

The Writer, Writing
(nothing novel - slightly weird - 21,413 words)

I've written a fair bit in terms of word count but not finished a single project. For different reasons in each case, they have stopped. Now one or two I can understand. The two weird novellas feature a character and situations that would only make sense if the Intersection had already sold and people knew what was going on. My test reader has read all four of the weird novellas and loves how they interconnect and I love writing them but if I'm not selling them it feels futile to carry on writing them; even if one lets me revisit my university days (at least in my head).

BTW - I have to admit one thing; the central non-plot point about the Writer, Writing relates to this recent activity. It's exploring how novels don't get written and how ideas peter out (for many reasons). I did say it's an SK30 book.

So my issue now is do I go back and re-read the first part of any of the unfinished stories and see if they appeal enough for me to commit further time right now or start something new.

The latter is tempting; especially as I have an idea for a new sf story. And yesterday I came up with a working title - usually the thing that makes me want to write it even more; because I can give the word file a name. I do not like have "unnamed sf novel july 2016.doc" on my hard disk. This story, and the notebook that contains my notes, now has the title, An Avoidable War.

I think it's pretty much inevitable what I'm going to do. I'm going to go fetch the notebook with this story's plot, characters etc and I'm going to start something new despite all the unfinished works I already have. I'll just have to hope I'm not about to add to the number.


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