Friday, March 7, 2014

So, what's next?

You tell 'em, Franco.

Before yesterday, I had something to work on.

I had to get III Crimsonstreak in shape. I had to do a significant overhaul of my other work-in-progress--we'll just call it the space station book for now.

I've sent III Crimsonstreak off to my publisher. My current work-in-progress is about as polished as it's going to get.

I'm now in that gray area. I have to decide what to work on next. Do I finish an abandoned work-in-progress written when my writing was in its infancy? Do I return to the half-finished book I was working on before I decided I'd better get III Crimsonstreak and my WIP whipped into shape? Do I start something new?

This is always the hardest thing for me to decide. I haven't been doing the daily grind of 2,000 for a few weeks because I've devoted my energy to re-reading and rewriting two books that needed a lot of work. Now that those two projects are essentially done, I need to decide what to work on next.

Here are some possibilities:

The Exclusive: I've written about 45,000 words on this one--meaning it's about halfway done. It starts out as a crime story featuring a journalist before turning into a paranormal/supernatural mystery. I like the concept and I have the story outlined. If I work on it for a month or two, I'll probably have a first draft ready to go.

Synopsis: TV reporter Kent Carter knows Mayor Harrison Johnson is corrupt--he just can't prove it. Damning documents disappear, witnesses suddenly change their stories, and his talkative sources in the police department don't have anything to say. When a mysterious source steps forward with proof of corruption within Johnson's administration, Kent finally gets his exclusive. He just doesn't expect his lead story to unleash hell on Earth.

Red Plague: I think this was my third attempt at a novel. I've always liked the concept, which involves the bubonic plague, Soviet-era intrigue, and time travel. I would describe it as Crichton-esque in concept (but not in execution). I'm about 37,000 words into this one, but the last time I worked on it was 2010. I tried reading through it a few months ago, and it's cringe-worthy. I can see all of my writing flaws in this earlier work. Still, I, Crimsonstreak had similar problems, and I managed to turn that into a readable book. Part of me thinks I should trunk this version and start over.

Synopsis: A man materializes at a county fair in the Midwest before collapsing, spreading a deadly new strain of bubonic plague that begins sweeping across the world. As millions die, CDC specialist Anna Manning makes a startling discovery: the disease appears to have been genetically altered in the past. The revelation dredges up painful memories of the Cold War and forces Anna to travel back in time, the fate of humanity resting on her shoulders

G-Men: I've had this concept kicking in the back of my head for a long time, and I have a rough outline. It would be a book set in the 50s about a superpowered team of government crimefighters. Basically, a special agent gets Robocopped; super-spy hijinks and Cold War intrigue ensue. Love Cold War Era stuff.

Mortimer: International Man of Taste and Intrigue: I think Mortimer P. Willoughby and the Crusading Comets deserve a book of their own. Or maybe two books. I don't know. Morty is my favorite character in the Crimsonverse. I think a standalone novel in which he recounts the adventures of the various Crusading Comets would be tons of fun. I have an outline for this one.

The problem is I have to pick something. It's a big commitment...we're talking months of work to get a first draft, revisions, that daily grind of putting out 2,000 words.

I'll have to think about it.