Menu Close

Category: Writing

What to work on next?

I’m in that strange, between-projects stage.  I’m trying to figure out what to work on next.  It’s harder than you might think.  I’ve got two full manuscripts and a partial floating around out there.  Do I work on the partial, finishing more of the story, in hopes that it will be picked up and I’ll be ahead of the game?  One of the completed manuscripts is the first in a three-part series.  Should I work on Book 2?  Or should I start a novella or short story that I can finish more quickly?  These are the things that bounce around in my head.

Not to mention the story ideas themselves…

Book 2 in the series and the rest of the story for the partial manuscript are fleshed out pretty clearly in my head.  But then there are the fragments of other ideas.  Most are short little scenes.  One is a story set in space that is just plain stupid — but it’s there in my head, taking up valuable room.  Sometimes the idea is more of a feeling.  Like I see a dark, scary alleyway.  Tension is in the air, floating like the fog that hides the dark corners…  What’s the story associated with that?  I dunno, but it’s one of my blips of inspiration.

Finally, there’s the time commitment to consider.  When I start a new book, I know I’m committing the next 6 months of my life to the project.  I’d better be sure that’s what I want to do.   Going down the wrong path can eat up a lot of time.  So you see, without feedback from an agent or editor, it’s hard to decide what to do.  A solid “this stinks” or a more exciting “we want this” can make my direction so much clearer.  Any takers?

Without that, I guess I need to sit down and think.  Sometimes I just go with the story that’s consuming my thoughts, day in and day out.  This time, though, I think I need to take a more business-like approach and consider all the pluses and minuses.  It might not be as much fun, but it’s time to be practical.

A Decade of Writing

I did some spring cleaning this weekend (yes, wishful thinking).  I was going through the dreaded filing cabinet when I found something that made me stop and smile.  It was a copy of the deposit slip for my first ever royalty payment.  The story was Playing With Fire, a short story I wrote for Black Lace Publishing.  Wow, that brought back memories.  I still love that story, naughty as it is.  It was published in Black Lace’s Wicked Words 5 anthology, and then again in their Best of Wicked Words anthology several years later.

Funny thing is that the date on that deposit slip was 2001.  It’s now 2011.  I’ve been writing for 10 years.  A decade!  It’s hard to believe.  I still remember how stunned I was when I first found out I was going to be published.  I didn’t receive “the call” as most people put it.  A contract just showed up one day in the mail.  Now it’s been ten years.  Wow.  Just… wow.


Oh, happy day!  I finished up my latest manuscript this afternoon.  What a relief.  Of course, it’s not finished finished.  I need to set it aside for a while, then go back and read it again.  Sometimes I’m just too close to the story to see the bumpy spots.  I’ll need to polish it up and finalize all the formatting.  Then it’s on to marketing it and, hopefully, editing it again.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I finished only five days behind schedule, and I’m happy, happy, happy.  Hopefully when I go back, the story will be pretty decent, too.


I had a little day-trip today.  Although I hadn’t exactly been looking forward to it, it turned out to be a marvelous change of pace.  The sun was shining and the sky was clear.  The temperature got all the way up to 34 degrees, making it a positive heat wave.  It’s amazing how much that sunshine picked up my mood.  It’s been cold and overcast for so long, I hadn’t realized how badly I’d been trudging through my days.  That shot of Vitamin D has picked up my energy and my mood at a much needed time.

You see, I’m closing in on the end of my work-in-progress.  It’s at this stage that I always get anxious to see the end.  I want to finish so badly I can barely stand it.  I imagine it’s like running a marathon (not that I’d ever do that).  At mile 23 or so, you’ve just got to be exhausted, but the finish line is in sight.  Do you kick into gear and make a mad dash to get it over… running the risk of pooping out and not finishing?  Or do you keep the pace so you know you’ll cross that finish line, even if it will take longer?  I’m trying to keep the pace.  If I go too fast with the writing now, I’ll drop important points or get sloppy with characterization.  Yet I want to zoom to the end, just to get the story out of my head.  I always have to go back and fix things when I do that, but it’s difficult to keep my patience.

Hopefully this feeling of refreshment will help me refocus and get the job done sooner rather than later.