Works In Progress

I write novels.

I tried to write novels in my twenties, but I never got past chapter two and ended up taking ten years off from writing fiction. I came back to it by signing up for National Novel Writing Month in 2004, and I have competed and won every year since.

Finishing NaNoWriMo gives you a completed story arc – a very rough first, or even zeroth, draft. What I have not done with any of these early drafts is completed them. This is a run down of the stories I have worked on in NaNoWriMo, and where each of those stories is now.

2004 – The Vampire Hunters

A story about vampires and their effect on the humans they touch. The original version was first person and had a good voice but problems with the incomplete knowledge of the MC: meetings kept popping up to tell him something he needed to know, or at least something the reader would like to know.

I tried rewriting in third person to work around that, but the voice was lost. Then I tried alternating first and third person, but the third person chapters displayed massive thematic overload: I came up with so many ideas I had to put in. Any rewrite will go back to first person and have a much tighter thematic focus.

2005 – The Flamecrown of Kissiltur

A story about a boy who becomes a king. It was about halfway through writing this when I realised that this was actually a trilogy: the multiple points of view I was using and the scope of the setting were such that I didn’t see any way to fit this into one novel satisfactorily.

2006 – Paragons

A story about the end of the world. This was supposed to be apocalyptic horror, but ended up being mostly lab techs whinging about their jobs. Usually I read my books six weeks after completion, but this one was so obviously bad during the writing of it that I didn’t open it for several years. My fears were entirely justified.

There’s still a story in here that I want to tell, but not like this.

This is the closest I have come to not finishing without external circumstances intruding.

2007-2010 – The Kissiltur Trilogy.

Expanding out the story from the 2005 effort. I wrote early drafts of all three books, then worked on the second draft of book one in 2010. I love this setting and the characters.

The book two draft in 2008 was the other year I nearly didn’t finish, because I lost my job halfway through November. I hit the basic word count goal, and finished the story later.

2011 – A Turquoise Song

A near future science fiction story about robots, aliens and synaesthesia. The longest work I have written in November at more than 80,000 words.

So as of now I have two books in active development:

  • Book One of the Kissiltur Trilogy – what I call my main WIP. This is about halfway through what is properly a third draft, working to enhance the drive ofthe characters. This is the book I plan on shopping around the traditional publishing route once it’s ready to go.
  • A Turquoise Song – the first draft got positive feedback from early readers. I need to rework quite large chunks of it, but this is the one I plan on self-publishing.

So that’s what I have in the works. How about yourself?

2 Replies to “Works In Progress”

  1. Duncan – Your two active projects sound promising. I’m currently going through a third round of edits of my first young adult novella, “A Ghost Named Manky.” I wrote it during NaNo last year and it came out at 58K words. It was originally a campfire story told by a father to two of his sons.

    Since last year at the advice of another PDX NaNoWriMo winner, I rewrote it and changed the point of view so that the story is told through the eyes of the oldest of the two boys. In a way, it is experimental because of the various points of view. My plan is to have a digital copy available through Smashwords by mid October. I’m going to give away a copy as part of the October Fiction Frolic:

  2. Ruthie says:

    Hey Duncan 🙂 It was fun to get a run down on your different WIP’s, since we’ve talked about them a bunch over the last year! And yes, I really enjoyed reading A Turquoise Song 😀 Keep writing!

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