Carpe diem: seize the carp (or, My Works In Progress)


I’m having trouble with ideas lately.

I try my usual tactic — taking a walk — to brainstorm up the next scene in my current project. I arrive home an hour later with four new ideas. Novels spawn short stories spawn alternate universes spawn fanfic. I try to sleep on it and wake up certain that my dream of biker gangs who ride motorized wheelchairs and make vrooming noises (some with their mouths, some with communication devices) is the next big thing in the YA genre.

This is nothing new. My mind brimmed with ideas when I was a kid, too. Back then, I’d throw myself into them headfirst, underestimating the amount of work they’d require. I’m sure my under-10-only radio show and sidewalk carnival would have enjoyed greater success if my friends and family could manage to approach my level of passion.

I had this idea that I could do anything, anytime I wanted, which later in life manifested as the tendency to put off even school projects I know I would have enjoyed. I could pick it up later. I could whip it out in record time. I could wait until my passion turned in that direction, but of course, it never did. Or it did, but it was short-lived, and after ten minutes or a sleepless stretch of ten hours, I bounced off toward something shiny and new.

It’s good to have passion. I think most writers, professional or amateur, enjoy the feeling of being completely wrapped up in a project they love and unwilling to put it down. The part I have trouble handling is picking one and sticking to it. Polyamory never worked for me in romantic relationships (more accurately, it crashed and burned), and it’s not going to work for me in writing fiction.

With Camp NaNoWriMo around the corner and the promise of local meetups in sight, it’s time to admit that I don’t get plot bunnies. I get plot carp. They’re shiny and beautiful enough to distract my from what I’m doing. I decide I need to chase them and pin them down right now, but they’re so slippery that it’s not long before they wriggle from my grasp, leaving me to reach for a different one. So, in the interest of learning to leave the carp alone, here’s a list of my current works in progress. With luck, I’ll learn to trust that they’ll still be here when I’m done with the one I choose to focus on first.

Last edited 1/11/2015

Main Project – epic fantasy/steampunk series

  • Prewriting/backstory, ~40k so far
  • Sister Cities (complete at 120k, revising)
  • Disinheritance (slated for rewrite early 2015)
  • Heartland (50% drafted at ~80k)
  • Bloodline (to be drafted NaNo 2015)
  • Untitled Book 5

Other Novels

  • Floodplain (horror/magical realism with lesbians, 35k/85k)
  • Radioactive (working title; coming-of-age plus zombies, 16k/85k)
  • Cat’s Meow (working title; Egyptian gods in Chicago during Prohibition, 18k/85k)
  • Our Red Room (working title; something like historical erotica, outlining)
  • Untitled horror (from the ghost’s pov; thoroughly outlined)
  • Lots of others, but considering those abandoned unless they assert themselves.

Short & Personal Work

  • Nightshade (m/m erotica with vampire fire sprites, complete at 60k)
  • The Purse (short horror, 1k/~5k)
  • They Kill (very short horror, outlined)
  • Mermaid (scene from main work, 2k/3k)
  • Session Rouge (this plus this)
  • Look through old documents, add to list, cry