Here's another post in my NaNoWriMo series. This one is about working on new and old projects, project energy, and how projects "end."
I'm not particularly of the mind that stories are ever really "done" as much as they are abandoned. I have an old writing friend who rewrites and re-imagines his stories every so often, and if you listen to him talk you'd think he's spent the better part of the last decade revising the same couple of texts. While I haven't read the latest iterations and am purely speculating here, I suspect that I'd call each of these iterations independent stories/projects. Because I like that kind of accounting. And we all tend toward the same basic characters and story structures anyway, besides it's not like you can actually write a rip-off of yourself.
And the truth is, that's more or less what I do. A lot. Station Keeping is a loose rip-off (adaptation?) of what would have been my second novel that I wrote about some tens of thousands of words on before and during my senior year of high school. The novel fell apart, I liked the story, but I didn't have any way of rescuing it as such, and I was busy, and by the time I could get back into it, I needed to be working on a project more like Station Keeping and less like a lame high-school student's second novel.
Knowing Mars has a similar history. Right before the home stretch of the first novel (see above) I took a week of writing time to put together a prologue. I took the "Matthew Connor" character (named, unsurprisingly "Matthew Connor," why? because you can't rip-off yourself) fast forwarded him fifty years or so, and had him as an old man relate the history of telepathy in his world. Sound familiar? Anyway, the story from that novel was dumb by that week of playing around reads the world like a series of novella length stories. I stole a lot more from that novel for Knowing Mars, and it manages to neither be an extension nor a retelling of the earlier story, but it's still a rip-off.
Projects don't disappear, and I don't think that they end, so much as they go away for a while and with luck come back a little more wise and rich.
But projects do occasionally conclude. And projects like Station Keeping--because of it's "season"-based structure--conclude more often than others. I'm taking a break to let the first three chapters of the new novel project sink in, and spending some time with other important projects like Trailing Edge and Station Keeping. It's good to visit the "old friends," and I think it's important that stories--particularly semi-published ones--get to a point where it's acceptable to abandon them.
It turns out, that Trailing Edge, which I thought was just a different perspective on a similar sort of universe to a story that I abandoned last spring, is really more like a prequel to that story, and I think there are parts that I wrote last spring that I'll be able to drop in largely unaffected into the "new" story. In the end, while I think it's been a fun trip and a good experiment for Critical Futures, I'll probably hack it down to short story length, (it's going to end up in the novelette range) and rewrite it so that I can (try to) sell it to the old media. Plans subject to change and the interference of reality, of course.
On the theme of "projects ending up somewhere you didn't expect," Station Keeping--after 16 "Episodes" (well 15, really) of normal "column like" stories, for the remaining eight episodes of the second season I'll be writing in the form of a screen play. Because screen plays are fun to write, pretty easy to read, and because Station Keeping serves as a regular "break" from the larger stories that I post on Critical Futures having a screen play is an even better "break" format. I was planning on doing season 3 as a screenplay and I think it'll be fun to just... start a little early.
That's what I've been working on in terms of fiction recently. So there.
Onward and Upward!
ps. I think it's interesting that by breaking my "don't post about writing rule" in honor of NaNo, I've also taken to inadvertently breaking my "don't post endlessly about your projects," rule. In any case, I'm on it now.