A lot of you ask me all the time when I post Facebook statuses about writing if it's still the same book that I've been working on forever. It is not. The fact is, I have a number of projects going right now. I figured a blog entry would help me gain some clarity about where I'm at with each of them, and give any of you who are interested a little glimpse into my writing brain. It's a frightening place, full of melodrama and plot holes. But it makes for a fun ride.
Less Than Perfect: This is my first finished novel, the story of Katie, who falls in love with a football player after her first husband passes away of cancer. This is the one I started writing for NaNoWriMo in 2010 and finished a first draft on by the end of the following summer. It went through 6 drafts before I felt it was finished, this past February. And since then, I have been in the process of querying agents with an eye toward publication. I have not had any feedback as of yet and am considering further edits of the manuscript. I fear my word count is holding me back.
Untitled Sequel: This is a sequel to Less Than Perfect. It takes place 5 years after the first one. I actually started messing with it before I had finished writing LTP. There were things with the characters of Katie and Sam that cropped up during drafting the first book that I wanted to explore and I just couldn't quite let them go when LTP was finished, so I decided to go ahead and do a sequel. I just finished the first draft today, in fact. It's going to need some work. A lot of work.
Brian and Iris: This is the working title for a spinoff of the LTP sequel. A bunch of my friends fell in love with the character of Brian when they were helping me with edits on LTP and kept saying, "If you're doing a sequel it should be about Brian." And Brian is a favorite character of mine, too, kind of a tribute to all the amazing gay men I've ever had the privilege to call my friends, with a little more of one of those friends than all the rest. And so I started by just doing a couple of scenes to see how they would turn out, and I loved them, and I have about 50% of this spinoff written. It keeps getting set aside as I work on the other two, because its major plot point won't make any sense without the LTP sequel being finished first. But I think it's going to be really good when it's finished.
Jess and Aaron: This is not a working title, just the name of the two main characters. After finishing an entire draft of an entire novel and making good starts on two sequels, I was feeling better about my writing than I had in years, and I took out my original, unfinished novel that I struggled with from my late 20s into my early 30s and finally gave up on, and wondered if there was anything I could do with it. Around the same time I was working on that, I also had a bunch of scenes about a character named Jess who I kind of love, because she's crazy -- she makes every wrong move that I never made in my own life. And I decided that I could tell her story as a sister or cousin of the main character in that original unfinished novel, and it's working out great. I worked on it for one of the NaNo challenges last year, a summer camp one, I think, and have about 90% of a first draft done.
The problem is that I've now reached a point where I want to edit as I go, which is a fast trip to nowhere-near-finishing in my personal experience. So I have to force myself to keep going forward. What this means is that sometimes, and in this particular story's case, I don't quite find my ending as quickly as I'd like. But then, when I go back through to edit, I realize that I haven't, in fact, found my true beginning. This one is going to take a ton of work. While at its core is a love story, it deals with some very heavy subject matter and it would be wrong to not do proper justice to it.
Breathing Room: This was my NaNoWriMo 2012 project. It was one of those last minute changes of plans -- I had an outline going for something else, and then October 31st rolled around and I started spewing this out two hours before midnight instead. This is about a young woman whose older sister dies (I like to write about death a lot). In some ways, it is a thinly veiled semi-autobiographical account of me dealing with my own sister's death. But this is a very different family than mine, and the way everyone copes is also very different. This one will probably not see the light of day for a very long time. Sensitive subject matter and all that. It was weirdly easy to write, though. (Or not weird at all.)
Some Nights: This was going to wait for NaNo Camp for April but the idea came to me at the beginning of March, I was tired of LTP, and I really needed to immerse myself in a different world, so I started in March and had half of it done by the time April rolled around. This is the story of a woman who cheats on her husband -- with one of his best friends, no less. It's a difficult subject to tackle, not least because I would never do what she does myself, so it's hard to get into the mindset of someone who would without just hating her. But because of that challenge, it was actually super fun to write, and I have a whole first draft (though the ending is a bit sketchy) ready to be tinkered with. I'm really excited about this one too.
So those are my ongoing projects. I am cooking up a great one for my next new thing. But for right now, my plan is to continue to work on querying Less Than Perfect and begin edits on the sequel. Writing is hard, but I can't quit.