I don’t know that I’d call it Writer’s Block, as I don’t necessarily feel blocked, per se. I just don’t really feel like taking part in the act of writing. I have stories, I have ideas, I have details to add to worlds I’ve created and I have ambitions to submit novels and short stories to agencies and organisations, seeking recognition and accolades.
But I just don’t feel like writing. It’s like some of the atrophied muscles in my leg. The bad hip means I just don’t use them, so they’ve withered. If I just walked more, when I DO walk a little more than average those muscles wouldn’t hurt as bad.
‘Course, walking more hurts in the long run and writing doesn’t. Poor analogy.
SEE?! Writing just isn’t working for me the way I want lately.
NOVELS – Finished
I’ve finished three, thus far.
The Council – Book 1 in the series, I impatiently launched it on Amazon under a pen name and have only had a handful of people read it. Those who have liked it though. Then I started submitting it to agents/publishers using QueryTracker and got like, 200 rejections, but Tangled Tree Publishing liked it and wanted a full. They were apparently interested in a deal until they saw I’d already self-published, then regretfully withdrew. Fuck. Lesson learned.
The Unholies – Book 2 in the series, I wrote it rather quickly after the first one and hammered it out in a few weeks. I, for the record, quite like it. But I haven’t heard from anyone else that was supposed to have read it other than one person who loved my first book so much they wrote an entire blog post and called me a genius. This one too, is self-published and sits in obscurity. For now.
Lovemite – I finished the first draft of this one not long ago, but I haven’t worked out the last chapter. I spent a long time trying to get this one right, making sure that all the parts I wanted to hit, hit. Still just a first draft though, and still VERY rough. I admit I was sort of… driven, getting this one done. Sick to shit of living this Life of Poverty, I saw this one as our way out. I was sure that if I could just get it to a reasonably polished shape, then I could get an agent/publisher interested and maybe start making some money off my writing.
Then my brother died. That sort of slowed things a bit. But still. Wifeage tells me that when I spend my evenings playing Playstation instead of writing, I’m in a better mood. I want to get instantly defensive but see her point. I just wanted to finish the book and get it going. Impatience for this life was pushing rather hard.
NOVELS – Unfinished
I’ve started more than I’ve finished, sure, but if I hadn’t I don’t know how I could call myself a writer.
The Caravan – 3rd in the series from above, our heroes venture North of the River after meeting a whole new kind of telepath.
I’m about 4 chapters in on this one but I’ve got the entire thing loosely outlined and I’m really quite excited for it. It’s going to open up some cool things with the main characters and continue to bring to light issues such as gender-inequality, homophobia and xenophobia. Everybody’s still Bi too, so there’ll be more of that. And action, action, action!
No Angel – This is the one I’m currently most excited about. A crime thriller set in Perth, contemporary, with a hitman that’s got some quirks. Quick-witted and smart, he’s also crippled with MS and quietly bisexual. It opens with him killing an inmate in lockup as a favour to a friend and then finding out slowly that it may have been a bad move.
I’ve got about 4 chapters into this one too, but since I kept stalling on the main storyline I’ve recently decided (like, just this morning whilst laying in bed) to scrap the convoluted storyline and go for something simpler. I like it a lot better this way and I think it’ll be a banger.
Jo’s Story – Basically writing a biography for my wife, but changing things like Hollywood does. I’ve got a loose outline but it keeps changing because writing about somebody else’s life and all the shit that goes on in it is HARD.
Angels and Demons – This one is an idea borne from late-night, wine-soaked convos with the Wifeage about classic good guys and bad guys. Basically, a hooker and a hitman take time away from their sinful lives to avenge the victims of sexual abuse from the church (and otherwise).
Hitman’s Dilemma – This one might work better as a short story, but a hitter is working his way through a list of folks in an unnamed city and about halfway in he starts to realise the global significance of what he’s doing. He changes his mind and there are consequences that he didn’t foresee.
The Presenter – This one’s got me excited too. A vigilante finds people that have gotten off because of loopholes or mistakes and then frames them for similar crimes. He sets up crime scenes and “presents” them to the cops. There’s somebody at the top, though, that wants him stopped, possibly because he knows he’s next.
The story is told with alternating viewpoints of The Presenter and a copycat, but with a HUGE twist that I’m not going to reveal here, haha.
I’ve got quite a few, but only a few hits.
Crazy Witch Woman – My first success, this one was “Highly Commended” for the Stringybark Short Story Anthology and was published in it too. I wrote it according to prompts for the call-out, but I also started a collegial/hilarious/charming email convo with the head publisher/judge of the contest and I can’t be 100% certain I got there purely on merit.
That said, Wifeage and Teenage Offspring both liked it. I mean, I liked it too, but I like a lot of my writing and think it’s good. Shit man, what do I know?
The River Doesn’t Care – Actually a memoir of a day spent fishing with my mother and brother, I banged this one out before he died. Like, last year or so. I played with it and edited it for length to enter it in various short story comps and finally edited it to remove any geographically-identifying characteristics. My hope was that I could finesse the setting to be virtually anywhere and enter it into more comps.
It worked, I was able to enter it into the Short Prose (Fiction) comp from an organisation that I recently joined called OOTA. Out Of The Asylum, they are fairly small and in Fremantle, and I only joined because they were the cheapest (and had a Concession/Pensioner discount) and I needed to be a member of an “official organisation” to enter into one of the FAWWA contests.
But yeah, I got an email letting me know I was shortlisted, and that was really cool. Then they said that Brooke Dunnell (The Glass House) was going to judge the finalists and present the award and that was really, really cool. I mistakenly thought that only the shortlisters would be at the AGM when she gave away the prizes, but there were three prizes and five shortlisters. I’ll be honest, when I saw that they were mostly middle-aged women, I figured I wasn’t winning shit.
Not to sound Sour Grapesy, but I pay a LOT of attention to what’s going on in the Author World of stories, books and publishing, and while I am Super Supportive of inclusivity and trying as hard as possible for equality, and I know I reek of White Privilege, but I know that being male works against me in a lot of respects. I’m not quite ready to come out as the “B” in LGBT publicly either* so that doesn’t currently get me any points.
*I now realise that I probably just did. Thank fuck nobody reads this blog.
One More Tea – This one was inspired by the earthquake in Turkiye. I don’t quite know what in particular inspired it other than some of the weird dreams I have sometimes. I’ve worked and reworked this one too, editing for length and for a reasonable amount of geographic ambiguity.
I’ve probably entered this one at least a dozen times in various forms and have received only rejections. I quite like this one and I felt rather feelingsy when reading it, so I’m not sure why nobody’s bit on it yet. I suppose I’ll just keep entering it until somebody tells me what’s wrong with it and I’ll start over.
Tripping – This one was a cool one, sort of Sci-Fi and futuretastic. Too subtle though, too much thinking needed, and I know that’s an issue of mine in that I obscure things too much because I’m so damn clever and the reader ends up not having a clue what’s happening. I really liked this one though and still giggle/goosebump at it.
Last Wishes of One-Armed Mei – This one is actually set in the same universe/time-period as my Sci-Fi series and is a bit of a prequel, told from one of the main character’s POV (Dukan). It was originally for a Sci-Fi group in Canberra’s contest that had some prompts about body-modding and similar elements, so that’s why it has that specifically even though such things don’t necessarily feature in my books in that same universe. At least, not for now. I think they’ll work their way in for Book 3.
I liked this one too. The twist ending, the gender-bending. I thought this one had legs (even if only one arm!) but I have yet to get anything other than rejections for it.
The Second Frog – Another one of my memoirs I co-opted for an international audience. This was from when I was a kid and mom took us to some big mall/games area in Dallas. One of my only “wins” from childhood and something that stuck with me, it might be a better feeling than story, but I liked it and it made me feel lighter when reading it.
We Have Company – Another co-opted memoir of when my dad was out jogging and got sort of protected by this wandering Lab. She was an older girl but she was lovely. There might come a time when I write a longer version, maybe the Real Life version, where I share that we ended up giving her to a friend of mine, and that when he died much too early, it was likely because he’d gone into the raging river to save his dog. It wasn’t the one I gave him, she’d died years previous, but it was the puppy he’d gotten right after that he loved with his whole heart.
Me in the Corner – This 606-word piece was from a few various prompts. It might’ve been for Furious Fiction or something, but I can see I used adverbs like, a lot. And the theme of something not alive, being alive. We were watching The Walking Dead at the time though, and this was heavily inspired by Gabriel and his origin story. I changed it a little bit, of course, and only hinted at the zombies, haha.
All up, this was mostly just a flexing of the muscles, and I’ve only submitted once I think.
The Captain – This is another shorter one, 500 words I think, that was probably for a writing prompt but I think I chose the theme on my own. Just trying to push the social bounds a bit, it’s unapologetically about how the world would feel if the male captain of any sports team, anywhere across the world, was openly gay. Or even if an openly-gay player could ever be a captain.