It feels like it’s been years since I put up one of these posts. Indeed, I feel like a lot has changed over the past month. While I may not have been selected as a mentee, Pitch Wars turned out to be a far more enlightening experience than I’d anticipated…and in ways I could never have expected.
With the unexpected lessons of Pitch Wars in hand, I feel at last I am ready to resume work. There is much to do, what with NaNoWriMo coming up and the next step of my development as a writer closer than ever.
Tentatively, I am planning to begin querying agents regarding Wide Horizon after the first of the year (though we shall see; it may be sooner). As NaNoWriMo is less than a month away now, I’ve decided to suspend work on my work-in-progress for the rest of the month, and focus on short fiction, as well as a few other projects that I’ve neglected for too long.
With that in mind, here’s what’s in store for this week:
As I’ve lamented frequently over the past few months, I have a veritable mountain of unfinished short fiction pieces. Pressing pause on The Pioneer offers me a prime opportunity to make some real progress, and I intend to make the most of it. There are several in particular I’d really like to make some solid progress on, and perhaps finish.
This is a relatively recent short story, but as I didn’t post a story for Halloween last year, I felt this one would fit the bill nicely. In Metamorphosis, a timid office worker finds himself going through bizarre physical changes, culminating in a terrifying night that leaves him trapped within a stony chrysalis, suspended by silk threads above his bed. After months trapped in his cocoon, he emerges, and though he fails to notice any physical changes, he can’t shake the feeling that he’s become a different person…
Originally intended to be my Halloween story last year, The Harvestman was meant to be the first in an annual series of short stories of paranormal horror. The story was to have introduced Don Crane: a former Pittsburgh PD detective turned private investigator. After leaving the force following his investigation of a series of grisly murders committed by a serial killer known as the Medicine Man, Don relocates to Scranton, where in the mid 1980s he’s called upon to investigate the disappearance of a Penn State student. His search would lead him to an isolated Pennsylvania Dutch town that harbors a terrifying secret.
I never posted the story last year because I hit a roadblock about a quarter of the way through. This year, I briefly took it back up, before completely reworking it and eventually abandoning it altogether. It’s strange…last year, upon hatching the idea for this story, I found it utterly terrifying, and yet this year upon looking it over I found it very much not.
If I find the time over the coming weeks, I’d like to try to rework the story and salvage it. The hell of it is, I really like the overall concept: an investigator from my native Pennsylvania with a keen eye for reading people, a period piece, a recurring yearly event. But this first installment is fundamentally flawed to the point of being hokey. We’ll see if I can find something new for Don to do with his time on Halloween.
Set in the near future, The Receiver follows a researcher studying an alien spacecraft. Years earlier, a massive alien ship appeared over the mid Atlantic. Only one chamber of the ship was accessible to humans: a small room with only a chair, a desk, and a device resembling a short-wave radio receiver. Ever since, each day a researcher has entered the room with paper and pencil, sat at the desk, and listened, hoping to find a way to communicate with the alien beings who sent the ship.
I really, really like this story. I want to finish it. I believe it has the potential to be some of my greatest work. Upon reflection, I’ve come to feel I hit a roadblock some time ago because I was over-complicating things: trying to work in large sections of background both on the ship and the researcher. In doing so, I bogged down the story to the point where even I lost interest. Hopefully, by reining in the story and sticking to the plot, I can finally knock this one out.
I Am 1
Originally titled The Impostor, this story has changed a lot since I first wrote it, transforming from a tongue-in-cheek story about an android trying to pose as human in an office setting to a gritty tale of escape and living in constant fear. I’ve been meaning to complete the changes to this one for some time now, and I’d certainly like to get it done this month.
This dark story about a colony ship in the distant future has been on the table for quite some time. Much like Wide Horizon before it, it’s unlike most anything else I’ve written, and I really like the overall format of the story. With everything else on hold, novel-wise, I intend to take the next few weeks to explore the story further, perhaps even write a few more chapters. We shall see. I’ve gotten some great feedback on what I have so far.
While more than likely I will not be writing any more of my work-in-progress before the end of the month, that certainly doesn’t mean I’ll abandon it. Rather, I hope to take this opportunity to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a while: assess.
Prior to beginning The Pioneer in earnest, I hadn’t really hit a streak with a project since finishing Wide Horizon. I was in the zone and loving it, and as such I was loath to slow down and take a break, out of fear of breaking my stride. It may merely be insecurity on my part, but I can’t help but feel that the quality of my work suffered as a result in the more recent chapters, especially the first chapter of phase three.
To that end, I’ll be taking some time to read through and revise what I have so far. If nothing else, it will be a good starting point for NaNoWriMo next month.
There’s a lot to do, but I feel rejuvenated. I’m ready to get back to writing, and I’m eager to see what I can accomplish before the end of the year. Until then, as always, dare to dream. – MK