Friday, January 17, 2020

Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me?

To mark the event of my completion of another year of getting up every day, let’s see where I’ve been and where I’m going.

Year 64
Not as much got done as usual, or as I’d hoped. There were good reasons—it’s not like I sat around jacking my thumbs all year—but it’s a shorter list than usual.
  • I finished no books, though one dropped in January. (Ten-Seven, average Amazon rating 4.7. Order yours today.)
  • Three short stories published in anthologies: “Tarentum Bridge” in Down to the River; “Stand-up Guy” in the Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity Conference 2020 Anthology; “Noir at the Bar Fight” in Dark Yonder.
  • No readings, though I was invited to the Northern Virginia Noir at the Bar but had to leave early due to illness.
  • A panel at Bouchercon and three panels at the aforementioned C3 conference.

Plan for Year 65
  • Penns River 6, “Pushing Water” drops in May. (Though it’s available for pre-order now, hint hint.)
  • The work-in-progress, volume 6 in the Penns River series, should be finished by the end of March.
  • Copious notes exist for Penns River 7, working title “Officer Involved.”
  • Return to a short story I had high hopes for early in the year and never had time to get back to.
  • Tactically retreat on the Western. I got about 20,000 words in and realized it’s a mess. What had started out as a relatively short and simple story keeps presenting other things to be considered. I need to take a step back and decide what this book is going to be about, what to include, what not to include, and if I envision it as the start of a series.
  • I have a start for a revenge-based Western short story I’m enthusiastic about.
  • I have an idea and notes for another departure for me: a straight up high-concept thriller, sort of a Six Days of the Condor meets Mission Impossible with possible bits of Atomic Blonde thrown in.
  • A couple of Nick Forte PI ideas are nagging at me. I need to do some development work to see which to proceed with, and how.
  • Bring into some kind of narrative form the notes I took from a series of lectures I found online by David Milch.

That last may be the most important, at least in terms of long-lasting significance. I have pages of typed notes from Milch’s talks and interviews that have led me to rethink my entire approach to writing. (More than that, but this is a writing blog so we’ll stick with that.) Not that anyone cares what I think I’ve learned from Milch but I need to better organize these ideas in my head and writing them down is the best way for me to do that, so I might as well share them to see if I can provoked a discussion from which I can learn even more.

That’s probably the big thing I’m hoping for from year 65: learn more. Get better. Improve. Not just as a writer. I’m closer to the end than to the beginning now and I’m more aware all the time of the things I wish I had been more thoughtful about. I want to work on those. Keep me honest.

1 comment:

Elgin Bleecker said...

I would be interested in reading your Milch notes. Please post some soon.