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The Tough Part

February 25, 2009

I always find it difficult to move on once I finish a story.  I get a big “now what” hanging over me.  Do I go back to an old, incomplete project or press on to a new story.  I refuse to start any new novels until I get one or more finished.  But short stories can be started on a whim.

So what to do?  I have a story, “Thinking Out Loud”, that never sold despite being a very good story.  Looking back, I find that I didn’t really build a protagonist the reader would care about.  It occurred to me to rewrite the story from a different point of view.  It’s a completely different story that way.  I may try toggling back and forth between the old POV and the new one, which turns out to be jumping between an army general and an inmate/test subject.  I think it will be a massive rewrite and am a little overwhelmed by the thought of it.  I keep putting it off.  It might be a good project for Clarion (cross fingers).

As for new projects, I have a few things I’ve brainstormed.  One story about a future society where the females are the warriors.  Lots of ideas as to why the women must fight, who they fight against, and what internal struggles the protag goes through.  I need to develop the characters a bit more, but it’s got steam behind it.  I have another that is basically a superhero-working-for-the-government story that lost all momentum.  I’m not sure I’m ready to pick that one back up.  And of course there’s my young adult SF novel (set on a sub-light colony ship), my military clone novel (probably my strongest idea), my SF comedy novel (hung up on the first major event), my YA fantasy novel (first thing I ever wrote; complete but needs a major rewrite), and my Fultus stories that need to be expanded to novella or novel length.  Whew.  

I may look through my unfinished works and see what grabs me, be it something here or something else.  We’ll see.  I think I agonize more over what to work on than over what to type.  I’ve been in a short story mood with my focus on Clarion, but who knows.  I’ll be sure to post when I make up my mind.  

I think part of my problem with moving on is the pain of waiting to hear the fate of stories in market slush piles.  “Brother Goo” is still in the mail to Cricket.  “Glow Baby” is working its way through editors at Strange Horizons.  “Leech Run” is in the slush at Baen’s Bar, fighting for an opportunity to slip into the Jim Baen’s Universe that way (past critical eyes of readers and editors alike).  I can’t remember ever having three stories in the wind at once.  Chilling.  But I have to keep working.  That’s what a real writer would do.


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