State Of The Writing Nation

12 Mar

So where am I, eh? (“Right here!”) (And that’s quite enough ISIRTA/Goon Show/Amazing Old BBC Radio Comedy-style jokes for one post, I think.) What I mean is, where am I regarding my writing? Sometimes it’s good to sit back and take stock, especially when you’re nearing the end of something. (Imogen Shroud; 100,000 words and very near the end of the first draft, I’d say there’s only another 10,000 words left of story.)

So! Oh actually, before I go into that, I forget to put a BJK Factoid in the last post. So I’ll do three now, to overcompensate:

1) My favourite sitcom of all time is NewsFather RaTedio. Or rather, an impossible choice between Newsradio and Father Ted. They’re both so different, you see, but both so, so great. And if you disagree, I will fight you. That’s no lie.

2) I have no idea why I call them BJK Factoids rather than BJKW factoids. I’m missing out my entire last name there, it just makes no sense.

3) I am just so excited about Avatar: Legend of Korra that I could squeal. Have you seen the picture? Have you? Isn’t it just UTTERLY (all right, let’s just stop that right there -Ed.)

On to the actual meat of the post. My Current Projects:

Miya Black, Pirate Princess: I think of this as my ‘main’ series. Currently I have nine books in mind, some more planned than others, as well as a spin-off series about Jean Scarlet’s younger days, a stand-alone novel about Heartless Jon’s beginnings, and a prequel trilogy about Miya’s parents and the founding of Clover Island. Also possibly a collection of short stories exploring the lives of various Clover Islanders and how they came to live there, which would be called (of course) Clover Island Stories. I’m actually quite keen on doing that one.

As of writing this, the first two books are published, and the third is in the final proofing stage–just one more read through before it’s ready to go. I have book five written and in need of probably two or three editing-and-proofing runs, have book six in a state of finished-but-not-FINISHED, with a really big thing that needs to happen right in the middle of it yet-to-be-written (barely outlined, actually). So, I mean, it WORKS as a book now, but the story isn’t nearly as good as it could be. The first five thousand words of book seven are done. The rest are vaguely outlined. The final scene is basically written. Really looking forward to getting to that, in a year or two. Book nine is going to be intense.

The Jean Scarlet book is sort of outlined. I know what the story will be but I haven’t worked out the plot yet. Jean is a fun character, completely different to Miya and yet so similar in so many ways. I kind of feel ‘freer’ with Jean, too, she doesn’t have nearly the moral core that Miya does–but I’ll stop myself before I spin off into dull digression.

Heartless Jon’s book I have like three ideas for things that’ll happen and maybe some kind of storyline. I know his history, but finding the best story to tell from his past is a little trickier. Definitely a far-future project.

The Tomas/Lilith prequels are something I’m itching to do, but probably not until the main series is finished.

Resonance: Currently a vaguely outlined three-or-four books of slightly darker fantasy novels about (mostly) teenagers discovering they have certain powers–element-manipulation, hyper-senses, emotional control etc. I’ve written the first, Birds Of Passage, and I’m currently in the outlining stage for the second, Against Darker Days. I also have a lot of ideas for the third, Ruins Of Energy, but I’m not sure exactly how the story will go. With these books they’re definitely ‘one at a time’ novels, I need to write one before planning the next–I think that comes with having more main–or at least ‘viewpoint’–characters, you have all these little stories to tell rather than one big one, and how long they’ll take to get out isn’t so clear.

I have kind of a feeling that these books could be my most popular. There are lots of characters and mysteries and revelations and cool ‘moments’, with room for wide speculation between books.

Charlotte Powers: The first book is a first-person diary-format series about a teenage superhero. The second will need to be third person in order to most effectively tell the story I want to tell, but I think I’ve figured out a good way to ‘transition’ without it seeming too rough. (I’m actually really happy about it, I think when people see what I do they’ll smile.) (Or go, “What?”) (So either way, really.) In all there will be, most likely, six books–but that’s definitely not set. I have a ‘big story’ for it, but each book will deal with different aspects of the world. Really, really, REALLY love making up superheroes and their powers. My favourites so far are Trigger Harpy, a female gunslinger with ‘unconsious ballistic calculation’ as her power, her daughter (eight years old with super-strength; always fun), and Motoplasm, with the power to control plasma–or, in other words, blood. Really fun to play around with that one. Surprising variety of uses, actually. I have a strict ‘one power per character’ rule, it makes things clear and I hate overpowered characters anyway.

I have the second book partially outlined, maybe just over three-quarters. The last half of the book is basically Die Hard with superheroes, so look forward to that (I know I am!).

The third book is one that I actually really wanted to do straight away, as the sequel, but I forced myself to consider things properly and eventually managed to convince myself that it was necessary to have a ‘buffer’ before I could write it. It’ll probably go back into first person diary format, at least for some of it. More than that I can’t say; spoilers!

Imogen Shroud: This is what I’m working on right now. Zombie story. Kind of fun. Kind of really, really sad, too. I feel like this one will be popular, and so far I’m really happy with it. Series potential? Yes, maybe four or five or six books, I have very vague ideas for further developments and there are a lot of things I wanted to put into this one that just didn’t fit the story, so there will be–at the least–a sequel. All of the books will follow the same naming convention, so like:

The Undying Apathy Of Imogen Shroud
The Enduring Unlife Of Imogen Shroud
The Unfounded Optimism Of Imogen Shroud
The Inevitable Unbuilding Of Imogen Shroud
The Unrealistic Expectations Of Imogen Shroud

… and so on. I just like making up those titles, could you tell? So much fun.

So yes! Those are my current ‘main’ projects. Other things are smaller, or still in development, or far-future things not worth talking about now. So I’ve got a lot to keep myself busy with, at least. Certainly no danger of running out of ideas. Just finding the time to write them all with, that’s the problem. But such a nice problem.

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Posted by on March 12, 2011 in Of Writing


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