Wednesday, June 3, 2020

What I'm Working On Today


That's it up above--what I'm currently working on. This is all front-burner and middle-burner stuff. There's a lot more on the back burners, much of which will probably never get written.

Even through the fog of the Internet, I can see you doubt me. So I'll do a partial list. All stories but one are incomplete and some are only a few pages:

The small black book and smaller red booklet on the top are notebooks. I'm rarely without a notebook and I use them to jot down ideas and notions.

Loose papers below that: The text for a Dragonstairs Press chapbook, Phases of the Sun and Moon, which I'm currently working on. The blue folder immediately below that contains materials related to that project.

Loose paper sticking out: Notes for "Alice in the Night World." This is the story Marianne believes to be unpublishable. We'll see. It's coming along pretty well.

Tan folder: "Dream Atlas." Currently out on submission. So I'll take a moment off right now to file it. (Done! One of the pages had to be reprinted.)

Blue Folder: "Alice in the Night World."

Pink Folder: A Sherlock Holmes story.

Yellow Folder: Collaboration with a writer begun many years ago, which I'm trying to bing back to life.

Loose page: From an early draft of "Artificial People." Into the waste basket!

Brown accordion file: Research for an unbegun story set in the Permian.

Tan file: Gardner Dozois' brief notes for what became The City of God, our collaborative novel and his last. The book comes out from this August. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with his notes.

Pink folder: "The Last Days of Old Night."

Pink folder: My Mars story. Long, long ago Kim Stanley Robinson imposed an agreement on me (I never actually agreed to it; he did that for me) that I wouldn't write anything set on Mars and he'd leave the Moon to me. Since then he's set fiction on the Moon, so I figure I'm under no obligation to keep his promise.

Loose sheets: "Puck and the Lady," notes toward a story set in Winooski, Vermont, and outtakes from a story based on a concert by Lyric Fest at the Academy of Vocal Arts. Since there were two stories, I"m not sure which one.

Green folder: A Christmas story.

Green folder: "Annie Without Crow." This one is going pretty well, so I'm moving it to the top of the pile.

Tan folder: "Winter's King." I've been working on this for a decade or two, without much progress. But I still think there's something there.

Tan folder: "Coyote in Lublin." A Mongolian Wizard story.

Yellow folder: "Interview With the Robot."

Tan folder: Non-fiction piece. I'm aiming to have it done for 2027.

Green folder: Gulliver's Wife. a sort of mock-up with the illustrations. I just now printed out the final text and filed it. Marianne's Dragonstairs Press will publish the chapbook soon, probably next week.

Pink folder: Another critical essay for Dragonstairs Press, rather like The Third Frankenstein.

Blue folder: "Smoking Gun."  After years of neglect, I picked this up last week, put in a lot of work, improved it immensely, and decided I was not satisfied with the basic premise. Back to the bottom of the heap it goes.

Tan folder: "Venice Rising." Anybody remember Stan Robinson's "Venice Drowned"? When it first appeared, Gardner Dozois suggested I write a story with this title. I've been trying to make it work ever since. It's got some good stuff in it. Haven't given up yet.

Loose papers: The introduction to a book I'm not permitted to tell you about yet.

Blue folder: "A Writing Contest With God." Someday I'll make this notion work.

Tan folder: A major essay I've been meaning to revise and shop around for a couple of decades now.

Pink folder: "Puck and the Lady." I've reunited the loose version above with the one in the folder. I'll see what I can do with them later this afternoon. The opening is really quite nice. But where it goes from there remains a mystery.

Tan folder: A secret.

Tan folder: A Chrismoose Carol. One of many Christmas stories I've told in the past, this one starring the Misinformation Moose.

Blue folder: Research for a story I promised C. C. Finlay years ago when we were both at Launch Pad. Soon, Charles! Soon!

Tan folder: "Three Graces." Text for a story I wrote on an R. Crumb poster and gave away. I labeled the poster "1/2" and someday when I have the time I'll write it out on a second poster I kept for myself and have one of only two copies of the finished work.

Black Baen folder: Script for a table talk on how I wrote "Radio Waves" that I'll get around to filming someday.

Loose: Text for the next Dragonstairs Press Christmas chapbook. Also the text for next Autumn's written-on-leaves story.

Tan folder marked "Misc.": One-page openings to several short stories, including "The Maniac's Coin-Silver Ring, an intriguing title suggesting I once had an idea for the plot which I've completely forgotten.

Tan folder: A complicated and pretty damn cool (if I say so myself) promotional item for a friend's novel that she assures me now will never be finished. I'm trying to figure out a use or market for it.

Tan folder: A project I am not at liberty to tell you about.

Blue folder: "Dreadnought." I finished this story last week but I'm putting it in the pie closet to cool off because I still have worries about it. Marianne and Sean both think it's done, though, and their judgment is usually solid. We'll see.

So there you have it: Far less non-fiction than I usually have on my plate and swarm of uncompleted fiction. I honestly believe that most of it will be written someday. The stuff on the back burner, though? Most of it, probably not.

And to answer the obvious question . . .

This is how I write. Do I recommend that gonnabe writers do this as well? God, no! But this is how I write and I'm stuck with it.

Go thou and do not likewise. Unless, like me, this is the system you're stuck with. In which case, you have my profound sympathy.


1 comment:

Peter D. Tillman said...

Well, it's a unique system! Can't argue with the results!

'Green folder: "Annie Without Crow." This one is going pretty well, so I'm moving it to the top of the pile.'

Happy to help, if you need my particular talents & expertise. Which you should know pretty well, by now.

Can't recall if you've seen these cuties yet:

Deep enough!