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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Current WIPs and a question on series

   
Author Topic: Current WIPs and a question on series
Wordcaster
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Hi,

It's been awhile since I've posted, but I've been keeping tabs. With some new "faces," I was curious what other members are working on right now and what their hope is to do with that work.

I am on my first revision of a novella that heavily blends space opera with mythology (think AMERICAN GODS in space). I am planning on it being a 4-5 book novella series, similar in format to Hugh Howey's WOOL. This is not strategic, but just the way the story wants to unfold.

I will likely self-publish, mainly because the formatting doesn't seem to fit typical publishing models (although, I admit my ignorance on the small press space). Much of this is a learning activity for myself as a writer, so I hate to invest a lot in editing and cover art.

What's your WIP and your plans for it? Any other thoughts on serial novellas (I remember one or two other Hatrackers attempting this in the past).

[ March 02, 2013, 01:15 PM: Message edited by: Wordcaster ]

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Owasm
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After writing a trilogy last year (self-pubbed), I'm in the process of a four or five book series this year. I'll probably query the first book while I'm writing the others. If there is no interest, then I'll self-publish.

The first thing that I put out there was a compilation of short stories (up to 17K words). It's still my best seller. I think serial novellas can work in the self pub space if the price is reasonable.

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Meredith
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I just finished THE BARD'S GIFT and started querying it.

I've just started what will probably be a novella. If that's how it works out, I'll e-pub it when I deem it ready.

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extrinsic
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I'm working on a story collection with a linked theme. The current version has gone into third round developmental editing with an editor, at this phase, though, more of an auditor. After the next phase of revisions, the collection will go to three more editors for revision commentary. One more phase of revisions after final auditing, then electronic publication, though not self-published.

Edgar Allan Poe is generally credited with establishing principles for the contemporary short story form. Many say Poe invented the short story. He espoused the ideals that a short story should; aim at creating a single emotional and mental effect, be readable in one sitting, be about one character's dramatic complication with a minimum of auxiliary characters, be about a brief period of time and a focused setting, have no digressions or subplots or minor characters, and have a pure unity of connected qualities.

Novellas, novels, novelettes, and serial sagas don't fit Poe's sensibilities. But I read two- and three-hundred page novels in a single sitting. Novellas suit my one-sitting sensibilities more than short stories. They have more nutritious meat on the bone. The other qualities Poe espouses are for those I read a matter of broad ranges and open to interpretation.

Self-publishing as practice is a noble purpose. Designing and laying out a publication for one's own work strengthens a writer's appreciation for the roles conventional publishing plays in developing a product and enhances a writer's appreciation for audience appeal in the main, and in the work itself. And having a finished product out in the world is a confidence builder.

Best wishes for positive outcomes, Wordcaster.

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Wordcaster
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@Owasm -- that's interesting that your short story collection is your best seller. I wouldn't expect that to be typical, although I own a variety of short story collections myself.

@Meredith -- I recall that you've written a handful of YA fantasy novels. That's cool you're branching into something new.

@extrensic -- I am interested in your editorial process on your collection (it doesn't surprise me of course, that you would pursue such a process). I am torn if beta readers are enough for what I'm trying to do. I'm not looking to make money on publishing -- my day job is sufficient for my needs (as satisfied as one can truly be) -- but on the other hand, I don't want to lose money either.

I also plan on trying to pen some short stories again in the near future (I haven't written one in months), probably in parallel with what I am currently working on.

Thanks for sharing :-)

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extrinsic
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While an unpaid publishing venue, the publication requires an intensive editorial process. The stories went through beta readers, workshop readers, and reader panels before the editors. Quite a few eyes have been on the pages. Besides, that's the conventional route for publication in most any worthwhile venue.

The entire process after first drafts I liken to focus group and audience testing. Since the goal was publication, audience appeal matters. I accommodated the audience, but the creative vision remains mine. Since early drafts included a number of experiments designed to test focus groups' sensibilities, I learned quite a bit about audience appeal from the process.

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genevive42
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I'm working on a YA SF novel (single - with series potential) that I will have finished and ready to pitch at WorldCon and World Fantasy Con this year. I plan to find an agent and go the traditional publishing route. As there is a shortage of spacefaring YA SF novels with female protagonists, I feel like I can find a place for this work.

I will also work on various short stories in the gaps, and then get back to the first novel in my eight book fantasy series. But that one needs a fair amount more world building and I see it as much less marketable to present that big of a series from an unproven author. I will also start another single novel idea before the year is up.

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History
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Oh Lord.
You would ask.

1. The Hunt (short story): murder, mayhem, and monsters. They hunt more than moose in the Unorganized Territories of northern Maine.

2. The Long Fall (novella): politics, adventure, and a young prince coming of age on a world that is an endless cliff.

3. Shall Follow Me All the Days of My Life (novelette-novella): love, commitment, and time. A Jewish mystic attempts to raise an orphan in a Polish ghetto in a time of persecution.

4. The Unicorn Maiden (short story): man, nature, and myth. At the edge of the Forest Primeval, a young woman learns the pain of love and the salvation of sacrifice.

5. The Golem of Chester Court (novelette): A Brooklyn tale. No one can escape their reason for being.

6. A Room Without Windows (short story): big brother, rebellion, and self-fulfillment. In a dystopic future, a young man need escape his destiny in order to find it.

7. The Kabbalist--The Number of the Stars and All Their Names (novelette): dark carnivals, covens, and the Lovecraft mythos. On vacation, Rabbi Cane and Akako explore their new relationship and a murder in a "charming" coastal Maine village.

8. The Kabbalist--The Prophets at the End of the World (novel): Rabbi Cane Book 2

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Grumpy old guy
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Hmm, about to start re-outlining a dystopian novel based on the Gaia theory, working title: Tree Dancer. Have left Aesir Dawn, a high fantasy novel to sit and percolate while I try and nail down its premise.

I've also written two short stories, Bloodletting and Caitlin, both first drafts of which have been critiqued. The general consensus is they are really enjoyable stories, but there are mechanical and style issues that need to be addressed. Letting them ferment for a few months before going back to write second drafts.

Have ideas for another four short stories and I may develop them a little more in the near future.

Phil.

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Wordcaster
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@geniveve -- good luck at the cons! If I had something that was queryable, I would hope to do the same.

@history -- that's a lot on your plate! I'm curious if you have plans for publishing any of these. My wip will have a significant religious element, which is almost taboo in sf circles.

@grumpyoldguy -- our paths haven't crossed on the board, but I see you are quite active. Good luck with your stories -- the novel sounds interesting.

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History
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quote:
Originally posted by Wordcaster:
@history -- that's a lot on your plate! I'm curious if you have plans for publishing any of these. My wip will have a significant religious element, which is almost taboo in sf circles.

I just play with my food, Wordcaster, instead of finishing my plate. Quite annoying.

"Religious Elements" are not taboo in sf circles. Recall that many have received sf's highest awards:

The Star by Arthur C. Clarke
A Case of Conscience by James Blish
Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock
A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter Miller
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

And there are many other great sf stories with "religious elements":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_ideas_in_science_fiction
http://www.sfsite.com/~silverag/jewishsf.html
etc.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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InarticulateBabbler
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My current WIP is in its first draft, heading for 131k and near half through. Once it's cleaned up, I intend on going the traditional route. I already have another in the percolating stage (however unrelated to this), which I intend to be much shorter (like ended or ending by now). I intend to have at least one novel published and on my shelf before I die.
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Robert Nowall
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I'm pretty much down on the idea of series---feeling that each work should stand on its own, whether (or if) there are other works in the series, and I'm often let down by series in one way or another. (Besides that, it's sharp practice, to make a reader have to buy or wait for the next segment.) Then again, I have trouble sustaining interest in characters once I've burned through a story with them.

As for what I've got in progress...well, right now, I'm stuck on a poem for a completed-except-for-that short story, I've got two more rough draft short stories in my files, and a wicked case of writer's block that's lingered for a couple months now.

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