W.I.P. (OR, WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO)

Just a brief list of active or pending works in progress:

  • Fifth draft on book one of new historical crime fiction series. This takes place in post-WW II Wichita with a main character (private investigator) who is Jewish and finds himself caught up between the Laws of God and the Laws of man. Conscientiously avoiding stereotypical tropes of hard-boiled crime fiction while attempting to maintain the mood and tone. So far, as much research as writing.
  • The outline for book two of aforementioned series. Now that I have a strong feeling for the main character and the substance of the series, why not?
  • Third draft of one-off historical crime fiction novel. This was an attempt to use a small part of Aristotle’s principles of unity to a certain degree. Titled “63 Hours in Wichita”, it is largely an experiment in condensing a taut action crime tale down to basic elements in a reasonable time frame, yet using that time as an impetus to tell the tale.
  • First draft of a pulp fiction novel. Like real old school, 50’s cheese. A paroled ex-con just trying to rebuild his life encounters a wide-ranging cast of characters, including his ex-wife, in a factory that manufactures carnival novelties. Going for dark and seedy.
  • Reworking a transgressive novel I started over 15 years ago. It is the tale of a bored 40-something divorcee who hates his job and encounters a mentor who teaches him how to be a contract killer as a sideline. Naturally, the elements of darkness seep through this, as well as subtle commentary regarding self-help and wellness programs. This one is titled WEEKEND GETAWAYS, OR ADVENTURES IN CONTRACT KILLING.
  • Reworking a metafiction entitled THE NOVEL TITLED “THIS IS NOT A NOVEL” in which a fictional biographer named H.B. Berlow is writing a biography of a fictional author named…H.B. Berlow. It touches upon themes in the essay “The Death of the Author” by Roland Barthes who argues against that form of literary criticism that uses an author’s biography and experiences in order to find the meaning of their work.
  • Reworking a contemporary crime fiction tentatively titled PROFESSOR THUG. It was outlined as a tribute to a late co-worker who was truly an intellect but looked like, well, a thug. Have gone through at least three different outlines and am still trying to figure out what the story actually is.
  • Reworking an episodic contemporary crime fiction tentatively titled THE STOOGES revolving around three guys who come together for a heist who have no business doing anything other than working in fast food. They get in very deep. This was a former NaNoWriMo project.
  • Outlining an alternate history novel. I actually have two tracks this could run. Even though the series has ended, I started watching THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE on Amazon Prime and became fascinated by the concept. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
  • Outlining a two-scene one-act play. A friend who did a session at the 2022 OWFI Writers Conference provided the inspiration as well as the encouragement. My drama days were years ago. Hopefully, I’ve grown as a writer and I can do this again.

All of this is woven in between a full time job, a search for a house (as we are trying to downsize), my responsibilities as a husband and homeowner and cat dad, the various baking and cooking adventures, and whatever bits and pieces Life throws at you.

So, how are YOU doing?

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