Going forward or reaching backward?

It seems like the answer should be simple. However, depending upon your perspective, it might not be as easy at it seems.

I am currently in the middle of editing my first-ever historical crime fiction. It takes place in Arkansas City, KS in 1933-34, an absolutely marvelous time for the Depression-era American gangster. However, I have always been one to have several irons in the fire. It’s akin to cooking a multi-course meal. I’ve been dabbling with something that might turn out to be a novella or a long short story. But I really want another novel as the next project.

This brings me to the question and the decision at hand. I can either wait for the ideal inspiration, seek out something new. Or, I can revisit an old piece, maybe something that was a former NaNoWriMo that just plain out sucked after completion or a piece I started with more noble intentions that had apparently faded.

That’s where the problem arises. It’s the week before Christmas and I have got some serious cooking and baking to do. I don’t ever really drop writing altogether during the holidays and I definitely want to have a new piece ready to work on once the time presents itself.

For fun, I’m going to make a brief list of ideas and see what kind of feedback I get. Are you game?

(1) “Professor Thug” – A different kind of college professor, one with perhaps a dubious background and dresses like a street thug but presents a high IQ. He gets involved in solving a murder of a former student with the help of his current teaching assistant and a naive senior.

(2) “The Stooges” – The highly ridiculous adventures of three would-be criminals who recognize their need to commit a lucrative crime in order to be solvent but have no idea what kind of caper to pull. This takes its inspiration from the great comic trio but with decidedly worse language.

(3) “12 Hours in Wichita” – An undeveloped idea for a neo-noir piece involving an enforcer coming to the city to settle a dispute between two factions of a criminal enterprise and all taking place within the confines of a fixed time period to heighten the suspense.

(4) Wait for inspiration and seek something out completely new, off the beaten path, and slightly experimental.

If you’ve got an opinion, I’d love to hear it.



  1. dechandler13 said,

    December 17, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Those all sound pretty great, but personally I have to be in favor of anything noir-ish. Whatever you pick will become awesome, Tikiman.


    • H.B. Berlow said,

      December 17, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Thanks. I’m just excited to continue. For me there is writing…and everything else.


  2. December 18, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    As a random reader dropping by, I’d say number two looks the most interesting. I don’t know your taste in writing, but that’s the one I’d be most likely to read. It sounds like it’d lend itself to a very silly brand of humor.


    • H.B. Berlow said,

      December 19, 2015 at 10:25 am

      I’ve gone back and forth will the language on this, substituting “friggin'” where necessary. As long as I can figure out the tone, the bones of the story are there. Thanks for the feedback.


  3. Louis Roncaglione said,

    March 23, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    I know I am late to this dance, but, just wandered accross this blog after chatting with you over the phone.

    My thoughts, as an avid 3 to 5 books a month reader are:

    Comedy / Crime / Drama is a made for T.V. genre (Castle, Monk, Psych, etc) I don’t see “The Stooges” flying off the shelf.

    The “12 Hours” book sounds more Action / Drama. Not my taste. That’s not a criticism, just a preferential statement.

    The “Thug” book does peek my interest. I went to school with a 400 pound plus, border genius that dressed like a rapper. Due to his appearance, most people underestimated him. He used that to his advantage on more than one occasion. The character could have major reader appeal and cross diverse social platforms. That concept has a lot of potential and bears another look, from this reader’s view point.

    There’s my two cents.

    Much success whichever road you take.


    • H.B. Berlow said,

      March 24, 2016 at 7:40 am

      Thank you sincerely for the feedback.
      My primary goal is to entertain, to get the reader engaged, what they used to call a “page turner.” It also has to be interesting to me considering I’ll be working on it for a year or so.
      We’ll see where we wind up.


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