Sunday, August 19, 2012

Works-in-Progress -- Making Progress

Yesterday, I completed my 981st work of fiction, a short story of roughly 3,000 words that will launch to a regular editor for consideration in his newest print anthology for Cleis Press.  The charge toward my 1,000th is back on track after several weeks of literary split personality disorder in which I've felt a bit like Victoria Lord, the dignified and long-suffering heroine from my late, lamented soap, One Life to Live. Played by the amazing Erika Slezak, Victoria's gray matter housed Viki, Niki Smith, Princess, Tommy, Tori, and the frigid Jean Randolph among her multiple personalities; my literary version of Disassociative Identity Disorder, also known as my Works-in-Progress, could give Victoria Lord a run for the money.

My current W-i-P list contains two mysteries, a police proceedural, a Lovecraftian horror/fairy tale mashup, two memoirs (one that has swelled to seventy-eight pages), the usual unclassifiables, M/F and M/M romance, creature-feature monster tales, and the Big 1,000 itself, my Space:1999 novel, Metamorphosis.  All of my significant landmark stories -- #1, 50, 100, 500, 600, 700, 800, and 900 -- have been 1999 or other fan fiction efforts, written mostly for my own enjoyment (#900 was a loving and hilarious nod to Lost in Space whose story I dreamed in 1982; I read the novella, "Lost and Found," start to finish in May of 2011 to my then-writer's group, who seemed to dig it -- I sure did!).  Big 1,000 is bigger not only in terms of the number, a significant event I've anticipated since my teenage years, but also for its importance: my goal is to use Metamorphosis as a writing sample for both the publishers of the Space:1999 novels and Jace Hall, who I'll meet next month in Los Angeles.  Hall was executive producer on ABC's recent V reboot, and is shopping around an update on my beloved science fiction classic, repackaged as Space:2099.

But a few weeks ago, nearing the home stretch, I got into something of a marathon runner's nightmare, fingers and projects tangling together in lieu of legs. My Muse, who runs a fairly tidy and organized operation in my little home office Writing Room, inspired my pen in a dozen different directions.  These tentacles, attached to so many different writing projects, upset the normal balance of order, unleashing rare chaos that left me struggling to focus.  One of the memoirs had stalled on Page 16, and everything log-jammed behind it. Folders of half-completed drafts stacked up.  The Muse, who is constantly presenting me with fresh ideas, either refused to acknowledge his horse in the race was stumbling behind or didn't get the memo.  Luckily, on a bright Wednesday night camped out at my weekly writer's group, he got hip.  I wrote through the log-jam and forward momentum resumed.  Many of those half-completed manuscript drafts were dashed off to completion, creating inventory for when my regular editors ask me to contribute to new projects.  Quite a few remain yet as partials and howl in the night for me to finish them, but their numbers no longer seem so daunting.  And, through a couple of false starts, Metamorphosis is now on track.

It's been a long time since I stared at a blank white page without the slightest idea of what to write.  But in the not too distant future, Muse willing, I'll shortly hold the completed longhand draft of my 1,000th work of fiction, and then it will be on to the next millenial mark.


  1. No power in the verse can stop you. There's no such thing as the "block", and you're muse won't let you.

    If there is one writer who can accomplish this task, it is you, mon ami.

    1. Thanks, Dale-Ness. Agree that the Big Ugly Block is a myth...unless we believe in it and give it power. Hope you're writing up a storm and fighting the dark forces of the universe!

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