There is always a debate going on about just how much you should share about your writing publicly, especially when you have not published it. Considering that this is a writing blog, I think that I have to at least talk about it quite a bit.
For right now, I think I’ll leave out all of the scattered short stories I created from when I was in high school to other times when I entered on or two into contests. Although there are some short stories I’ve really admired, I never considered myself to be totally comfortable with writing in that format.
There are two novels that I finished somewhere in my late 20’s to early 30’s, which ended up being mental salvage from my teenage and young adult years. The first was a teen crime drama I actually shopped around to people and got no takers from it; I even paid an agent for a year to see if she could do something with it. About a year and a half ago I tried reviving it to see if there was anything to it, but about a month in the process I totally lost interest in the idea. The book seemed to come from a different writer, which seemed accurate.
The second novel was another crime thriller, the story of a disturbed young man who is responsible for a shooting at his school, serves time in the juvenile system and got help for his mental disorder. He’s then freed after a few years, and in the process of trying to rebuild his life, he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. I thought this might have some promise – it still might, but again, it seems like that was more of a practice run as to how to write a novel than an actual one. Both of the manuscripts were great writing experiences.
The third novel I have completed has been during the second phase of my writing, which began this decade. It is a political/journalism thriller with the working title of The Holy Fool. Set in Chicago in the fall of 2008 in the frenzy of the presidential election and the start of the Great Recession, it follows a Chicago newspaper journalist as he investigates whether his own newspaper is on the verge of closure, then conspires with his colleagues to see if anything can be done to prevent it. I’ve put this manuscript through two major revisions that cut it from a 160,000 first draft to a 95,000 third draft. The process has helped me get a better idea of the entire revision process and what I have to concentrate on. From now on when I write, I’m going to work on writing just the dramatic, key scenes first, then adding on anything I think it vital. If I had taken that approach to this in the first place, this would have been a much shorter process.
My fourth and fifth fiction projects are currently in the planning stages and I have finished notes on both of them. #4 is a book about a high school football player in Texas with a famous college coach father who is becoming increasingly drawn into the world of soccer. If you ever check out my personal Facebook page or meet me in person, you’ll soon learn about my love of soccer, so this is a definite passion project of mine and one I have been toying with for several years.
The fifth project is something I came up with this year, the story of a man unhappy with his current life who discovers the ability to enter alternative versions of himself. It is more impressionistic and perhaps even more political that anything I’ve ever attempted; I’m certain that it is the closest thing to sci-fi/fantasy that I have ever tried to write, and I am a big fan of that genre.
This is where I am at now. My plan for right now is to find a suitable publishing option for the third project, preferably sometime next year, and begin a full first draft on either one or both of my projects in the planning stages.