Thursday, December 7, 2006

et alia

Novels that I am not writing because I am writing The Willow Knot:

The Workings of Blood (isn't that a great title? It isn't mine.) - historical fantasy novel, second in the Regency vampire series written by Mayne and myself, currently in my hands.

The Fate of the Dead
- historical fantasy in the same world, twenty-plus years later, episodic tales of ghost-laying, based on folkloric ghosts in East Anglia.

The Cost of Silver
- historical fantasy in Stuart England, revenants and witch-hunters. The main characters are a fat old woman and an ugly young man, and it ends badly. Not very commercial, I suspect.

Children of Mercury
- historical mystery set in early Renaissance Florence, with a painter as detective. Could be a series, one for each of the planets - the Sun and the Moon count as planets in medieval astrology, by the way.

- modern fantasy, set in a small university town stolen from Victoria and UVic. But, y'know, renamed for safety's sake. Books, libraries and dragons - who needs more?

Short stories waiting while I finish (tentative title) "Milk Run", which is the chimps on blimps story:

"Climbing Boys": baroque sf (if I can sneak it in as an sf story I will) mashing up multiple personality disorder, laying of ghosts, chimney sweeps and a murdered labour agitator. I'm hoping to keep it under 5k.

"Elementary Magic" (title may change): historical fantasy. English court magician comes up against Chinese magic during the Boxer Rebellion, and finds out he's one element short. Aiming at 7k.

"Refuge": fantasy. What happens to heroes, villains and traitors when the saga is over? Probably not over 3k, unless it goes off sideways.

"Firestriker": hah. I have an opening, and I have no idea what comes after it. This is sitting to steep while longer, because I do like the opening. Modern sf if I pull it off.

"Aptitude Test": modern sf. I know what happens in this one, but it needs to be more than a 'reveal' story to work. Needs to steep.

Wonder if I've forgotten any? Probably.
Ideas are easy to come by, and characters aren't hard either. They arise naturally from the situation. But plot is my challenge. Either I come up with barely enough plot to clothe the poor idea decently and hide its shame, or there's so much plot the story swells into a novelet.
Practice will probably help with that. I had a very useful critique on "Fluke" suggesting it had two warring plots and would be better with only one. This is very likely true, but I'm not at all sure I presently have the skills to separate conjoined plots without killing both.

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