While da book is out making the rounds of folks who are able – and might be willing – to help it find an audience, I am turning my sights to the next one. The challenge for me is never finding something about which I’d like to write, since I’m curious about most things and dearly love lying… er, making up stories. The problem is choosing a next plot and character set. Too many floating around in my noggin and if I open up my ‘Writing starts” folder in the old confuser, I am led to recall too many possibles.
When I started my second book back in (1980?) it was based on an apocalyptic vision of what would happen to the world and its organisms in the months and years after a major nuclear exchange. ‘Nuclear exchange’ was a ridiculously benign term in vogue at the time for describing the detonation of many thermonuclear weapons at various locations in the Northern Hemisphere. I had written my first full length book, By Other Means as a cautionary tale of the ramp up to nuclear war and this follow-on with the working title Winter was to be the tale of life in the aftermath. But since BOM was never published I was not pushed to finish Winter. Then with the collapse of the former Soviet Union, it seemed moot and I moved on to other writing projects. The current political and international climate have convinced me that the time is ripe for just such a cautionary tale. So-o-o-o, one of the books I’m considering for my next major project is an updated version of Winter.
Another plot crying for attention in my pea brain is a story about two young people, one male and one female who are aging out of the social welfare system (read: foster care) and how they face life without a safety net or really, any support system. This is a major problem in this country and with the catastrophic shift toward a less caring society – yeah, don’t even try to argue – the future prospects for kids caught in this situation will be less than deluxe. So, anyway, that’s another idea that really wants me to listen and give it voice.
Mary suggested a book based on my own life experience of having achieved adulthood late in life and by a rather circuitous route. It would be fiction-based-on-real-life-experience and would be a hoot to write. But it would also be a rather difficult trick to turn, as it would involve a series of metaphorical vignettes describing a journey with no real plan. Hm-m-m…
The trouble is that either of the first two ideas I could probably have editor-ready in less than a year, while the third seems to me more of a two year job. And agents and editors being pitched by first-time authors (they care only about what I’ve actually, you know, published so in their eyes I’m a virgin) want to know that a new client’s writing prowess has legs. That is, they want to know that having worked hard for relatively little return to get your first book published, there will be some hope of you actually producing a next book and a next after that, of building an audience over time, and thus earning them money. A reasonable concern but creates more cognitive dissonance than I might have hoped for.
I don’t know which I will start but will likely be deciding before the month is out. Meanwhile, building the website, getting the house ready for sale, hosting visiting daughters, traveling for work. And that’s the haps in Michael World. I hope this finds you well and happy.