The search for the next book

I’ve been wanting to write more again for a while, and was looking forward to participating in NaNoWriMo for a second time this year as an excuse to force myself to produce something. Unfortunately things got in the way, and I felt this year I had to set the competition aside. But I still want to write.

I have several ideas floating around in my head. One of the obvious choices was a sort of sequel to The Affix, which would follow one of the minor characters in pursuit of an artifact; it lends itself to NaNoWriMo in that the need to keep writing constantly would push the plot forward instead of my getting bogged down in it. Then there was the idea of a sci-fi following a trader in space who takes on a job from a notorious criminal, but that too is best suited to an environment of forced progress.

Or I could adapt something I’ve already written. In 2006 I wrote a novella called Below, a roguelike fantasy story. (The term “roguelike”, for those not in the know, refers to games where your character descends through the levels of a randomly generated underground dungeon in search of treasure. The games are turn-based and highly strategic in nature, as they require you to manage the items you find and make sure to eat enough food to survive.) The story follows a thief who uses a fake treasure map as leverage and ends up dragged along on an expedition—with his colleagues—led by the crime boss who hired them and his henchmen. According to my wife, my writing has matured a great deal since then, which makes me wonder if I could improve on the story while also giving it more depth, perhaps even expanding it to novel length. That would require significant rewrites, but it’s nothing I haven’t done before; my book One Woke Up was a novella before I rewrote it mostly from the ground up.

Another rewrite project I’d seriously consider tackling is a book I wrote in college. For a while in the ’90s I was contemplating writing a text adventure game in a fantasy setting, with tons of tongue-in-cheek humor and running jokes, but eventually that morphed into a full novel. Without even having looked at it in years, I can rattle off a list of problems with it right now that need to be resolved. But frankly, I think the whole thing needs to be rewritten from scratch (using the original as a guide of course) because it’s nowhere near as good as my later work. This book would have been the first in a series, and indeed I actually got a fair way through a second book before realizing I had written myself into an intractable mess. Significant parts of both books really deserve to be salvaged, and the idea of a fantasy series along those lines is perfectly workable.

But truth be told, nothing is screaming at me to write it right now, and I find that a little frustrating. On the other hand it’s also a bit of a relief, because honestly I don’t know where I’d find the time. Still, most writers (especially independents) who make anything of themselves are prolific, or at least semi-prolific. It’d be easier if I just forced myself to write a certain amount every day, maybe, so I would collect reams of crap and could sift through to pick out something worthy to weave into a story.

For now though, writing new fiction probably has to go on the back burner for a while. Perhaps new inspiration will strike when I least expect it. There’s still editing and marketing I can do; it’s just not as much fun. I should probably read more, too.

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About Lummox JR

Aspiring to be a beloved supervillain
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