What’s next on the Writing Agenda?

This weekend kind of became one of those dividing lines in what a writer is working on. That happens every time a novel is sent off to the editor, and that’s what I did. Novel number 5 entitled “Which Half David” is now out of my sights. It was a sixteen month journey to get that one done, my longest one ever, and a rather difficult novel to write for several reasons. Well, it’s done and gone. (at least for now)

As a reward, I treated myself to a play writing session yesterday. On Friday, I heard about a play writing contest which finished on Sunday. I heard about it a little late, and the stipulation was to enter a brand new short play never before thought of until this contest came up. So, I finally wrote a play idea I’ve had for a while called “Safe Spaces.” It’s a 10 minute satire on university life in the era of micro-aggressions and safe spaces. I must admit. I think it’s pretty funny. So I had a lot of fun writing that one yesterday, editing it this morning, and sending it off to the contest.

This afternoon, I dabbled in the play I’m writing with four of my students. It’s a type of murder mystery – sort of. We are in the last half of that work. It’s been fun.

So now I have the question. What’s next?

That’s easy, actually. Novel #6.  I started it over Christmas and got about 40,000 words in. It is, perhaps, the most fun I’ve ever had in writing a novel because I’m breaking all of my rules about keeping it real and grounded in real life. I’ve added all kinds of crazy stuff and characters which is really fun. So now I’m ready to get back to it. It already has a title: “A Man Too Old, for a Place Too Far.” This is one of those novels where I thought of the title first and then wrote the story to fit it. I like to do that for some reason. Especially with my short plays. This is a fun novel and I can’t wait to get back to it. Set in New York City, Cambodia, Romania, Scotland, and a deserted South Pacific Island. I love it. A great combination.

So that’s what I’m up to. I hope to get this one finished this summer for, dare I say, a Christmas 2016 release?  That would be two novels released in one year. Sounds cool to me!

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself, but that’s what I do.

 

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Writing Season Commences

June.

The glorious month when I have my long summer break, which ushers in writing season.

It always coincides with travel season for me as well, and I have a lot of travel on the docket – Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and the USA.  (More on all of that later.)

But as I travel, my laptop will be my company, and when a free hour or two presents itself, I’ll be deep in thought, writing the next project on my agenda. I have a long agenda.

Over the summer months, I try to carve out at least two hours a day of uninterrupted writing. Sometimes a little more, and once the days begin to stack up on each other, I have found that I can do some serious damage to the ideas at the forefront of my mind.

Here’s my summer writing plans, for now. (Always subject to change in case my mind decides to go in a different direction.)

First – “Untitled Novel” – actually it has a title but I’m not ready to give it away yet. This is my fifth novel and the first draft is already about 70% complete. I really want to take a couple weeks and knock out the first draft of this one. It’s an interesting story – a little different for me – set on a fictitious Southeast Asian island. It has bloody clashes with corrupt police, high speed chases, a griping court scene, and a beautiful temptress. It also has a bunch of religious symbolism. It’s an interesting mix and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Second – 10 dramatic sketches. I need to write an hour and half worth of sketches for my drama group – The RLT Players. Our new show will be debuting in December. It is our first Christmas show, and so I want to create a bunch of dramatic sketches to highlight our unique brand of drama – funny, poignant, original. I love writing these. They are always fun and creative. I started a mini-musical the other day called “The Last Shepherd,” which I envision being our final piece.

These two, for sure, need to be finished by August. I’m hoping it all flows quicker so I have some time to get on to some other ideas of mine. Like what?

I’d like to start my sixth novel. I have two very interesting ideas I want to explore. One a political thriller and the other a strange modern fantasy which is WAY beyond my normal genres. I can’t decide which is next!

Plus, I have a colleague who is begging me to write some additional duet and monologue scripts for their forensic competitions.

I wouldn’t mind writing another Christmas short story as well.

Oh, and I’m also in the middle of writing a full-length play for 2016 production.

Lots to do. And now I have time to do it.

Writing season, I warmly welcome you!

Writing Agenda: What’s on Tap

Every few months I like to highlight and update my writing to see what I’ve accomplished and what I’m currently working on. Here’s the latest:

Recently Finished:

 

  • Full-length Musical – Boardwalk Melody: A Musical. Currently in production.
  • Novel The Reach of the Banyan Tree – set for a July 1 release
  • Short Musical A Woman at War (now my co-composer is working on it) Will be entered in Short & Sweet Musical Malaysia later this year.
  • Apathy – A short play about Michelangelo’s creation of mankind paintings on the roof of the Sistine Chapel
  • The Heavyweight Fight of the Ages: Almighty God vs. Nothingness – A short play about Michelangelo’s creation of the universe paintings.

Currently Working on:

  • Novel 4 – Jonny, Who Stood on the World – about 2/3 finished with the first draft. Projected release date of early 2015.
  • Play – A full-length play for adult audiences on a rather controversial topic. I’ll keep it vague for now.

In the Works:

  • Two more short plays about the Sistine Chapel paintings. All four of these dramatic sketches will be produced as part of our Fine Arts Festival in May.
  • Eight more dramatic sketches for RLT Players 2014 season. Already have lots of interesting ideas. And new material to submit to Short & Sweet Malaysia. I want to do a reworking of a short play I co-wrote last year called “I Once Was Blind.” It’s a powerful piece.
  • Novel 5 – First chapter already finished. I also already have a title. But this one’s a long way off.

I love writing and creativity!

 

Make a plan and stick to it (aka the unshakable writer and his 4 year plan)

In the fall of 2008 I had a crazy idea.  Why not join a masters program to make my already insanely busy life even more so?

My thinking process went like this: I could take one class a semester and within a few years I could have a second Masters degree. Or I could twiddle my thumbs every evening or watch a mindless video and be no better off after a few years.

I decided to do it and found a suitable and affordable program in Humanities with a history concentration which worked well for me. I wanted to bone up on this area of study in order to help my teaching which was primarily in the social studies department. So despite having a family, teaching a heavy load, managing a baseball league, writing our yearly dramas, coaching softball, and directing our plays; I decided to step out and try to do a little studying at a time to fulfill my goal.

Now, four years later, I am on the cusp of completely that Master’s degree. I’m in the home stretch of my thesis, and I hope to graduate in May (August at the latest). I am pleased with how my plan went, and I’m glad that I stuck with it even though I felt, at times, completely overwhelmed.

Well, now I have another 4 year plan and I hope the last four years have given me the blue print for accomplishing it.

With one novel published, another novel finished, and a third novel in its beginning stages, I am off on a four year writing plan. My goal? When 2017 rolls around, I hope to have five or more novels under my belt.

I have no goals of readership or success or money. Those are the least of my concerns. I want to write. I want to improve. I want to strive to be the best, creative writer I can be. If I do that, I believe all those other things will take care of themselves, and even if they don’t, I’m writing for myself because I enjoy it.

So I have a plan and I’m sticking to it.

Remember the motto: “Create, not consume.”

PS: What goals do you have?