With The Water Road trilogy wrapped up I figured this might be a good time to check in and let folks know what I’m doing, writer wise. The TLDR version – cranking through some short stories and trying to plan the next big project.
After the epic feel of The Water Road I decided to dig back into my bag o’ ideas and work up a couple of the shorter ones. This isn’t to suggest that returning to short stories is a way to “take it easy” or some such. Building worlds and characters in a few thousand words, versus hundreds of pages, can be a challenge in its own right. It’s a different discipline in the writing world, but one that’s very rewarding.
The first of the new stories is “To the Sound of Birds.” It was inspired by some very odd noises I heard during an autocross years ago. Animal noises, of a sort, coming from the woods across the street from the venue. The idea came to me then and I’d kicked it around for a while before I got a chance to sit down and finish it. I’m about to try and find it a home and let it loose upon the world.
The other isn’t quite finished, but should be in a week or so. It’s called “The Miracle at MarvoMart” and is about a guy who gets in over his head with a good thing that turns very bad. This one, too, came from an idea that occurred during an autocross – more precisely, during a bathroom break. I never set out to write a story set largely in a public men’s room, but that’s where I’ve ended up!
Aside from those two, I’ve also pulled out and polished a story I wrote a while ago in which the main character is this little girl:
Along with her two feline companions (at the time the story was written). It’s about what the animals get up to while their people aren’t around. It involves dragons and a whole unexplored world under the house. At one time it was going to be a series of stories, but I never got past the first one. An anthology popped up that I thought this story would be good for, so I sent it in. We’ll see if anything comes of it. Don’t worry, it’s for grownups – they curse and such.
I’m also working on one final story in The Water Road universe, set between The Endless Hills and The Bay of Sins. It would explain why, when two characters meet in The Bay of Sins, they are not particularly fond of one another.
The Next Big Thing
As I’ve said before I’m having a hard time figuring out what my next novel project will be. I have a lot of ideas, but none of them have roared up and demanded to be written right the fuck now (at least not yet).
One of the issues is that before I even think about ideas there’s a preliminary question to answer – should my next project be a standalone novel or the first in a new series? Some ideas lend themselves better to one or the other, but there are pros and cons to each choice. A stand alone novel probably sees the light of day sooner, but a series gives me the opportunity to really dig into a new world in detail. Until I make that decision, it’s hard to know where I’m headed.
As far as series ideas, the main one would be a several volume steampunkish fantasy set in a global superpower that’s slowly falling apart. I’ve done a lot of background work on it, so it’s probably the most “shovel ready.” Another series idea is to expand the universe of my short story “The Last Ereph” into a common setting for a bunch of unrelated stories. Finally, there’s a trilogy about the nature of magic I’ve been toying with.
The stand alone ideas are more wide ranging. For one thing, they include a couple of ideas that fall solidly into the science fiction category. I’ve written some short sci-fi, but my longer projects have all tended toward fantasy. I’d like to change that, so that might be a deciding factor. One of those idea is more serious, philosophical, and somewhat relevant to the current political climate. Another is more of a fun, planet-trotting adventure. As for fantasy ideas, one that I’m keen on doing (at some point) is my version of the standard fantasy quest, although it has a neat twist at the core of it (or so I think).
So that’s where I am. At least right now as I post this. From here on out – who knows?