Sometimes, past things are best left in the past. How so, you may ask. Well, earlier this year, I told you I was working on a brand-new fantasy book. Nothing to do with Prince Dietrich, nothing to do with zombies. A fresh start. Then, roughly 15 chapters in, I gave up.
Overall, I felt the book wasn’t what it could be, and I didn’t want to hash out another generic good-vs-evil novel. After all, I can’t have double standards, can I? If I don’t have patience reading most of fantasy works today, then it wouldn’t be fair of me to write one in the same vein. And so, with a little shrug, I put the book aside, into a pile of unfinished ideas.
Now, why did this come to be? As it happens, the book writing was brand-new, BUT the idea itself wasn’t entirely so. As it happens, the motifs I added into this book come from another, older book attempt of mine, roughly around 2004 or so. Back then, guess what, I wrote about 15 chapters before giving up.
The neverended story
Let me tell you a bit more about my unpublished – and never-to-be-published books. Between 1997 and 2000, I wrote a mega-long (900+ A4 pages) fantasy book, heavily inspired by whatever I was reading at the time. Lots of Toklien for sure. This book was my first big foray into writing, and looing at it today, it feels childish and messy. But that’s fine. I learned a lot from that attempt, and toward the end, my writing style had already started changing into what would become the core of my contemporary skill, so to speak.
Then, in 2001, I tried writing another book – with the idea of old gods and broken love. I stopped at the magical (critical) chapter 15 or so, then put it aside, because I didn’t feel it had everything it needed. In 2002, another book – this one with a male prostitute as the main protagonist. Cue Adam, the hero in The Lost Words series, which I’d eventually publish in 2012. Again, in the following years, I tried two or three more big ideas – ancient mosters, forbidden lore, flawed characters. None made it past the fifteenth chapter.
Around 2007, I had half a dozen unfinished novels, each one just “not good enough” to be a standalone, complete work. So I plucked the solid bits out, mashed them together, and wrote The Betrayed. It relied on most of the earlier attempts, and it had a cohesive narrative. Within a few months, The Betrayed was ready. It would still wait a good few years until publication, but it was there.
The one book idea that didn’t feature in The Lost Words or any of my other series was the concept of old, grizzled wizards, frenemies if you will, dueling it off while the fate of the world is at stake. I tried to do that in 2021, and I realized that the idea still wasn’t good enough to get me past the critical point. Rather than writing for the sake of it, I stopped.
Here’s another gasp reveal moment. Around 2018, I had already experimented with reviving an old novel. I wanted to rewrite the 1997-2000, the way it should be written. While it was complete, it was rough. I found myself removing a good 60-70% of the content, and trying to bridge gaps in the narrative, or force consistency where it was sorely missing. This turned out to be an administrative task. A big, hard task. I wasn’t doing prose, I was doing maintenance.
So I stopped and instead wrote my first science-fiction book! Now, that will be published soon.
Honestly, I do not know. I haven’t figured out what I want to write now. Having done high and low fantasy, gunpowder-era action, dystopian horror, futuristic military thriller, pure science fiction, alternate history, and mythology, first- and third-person POV, single- and multi-character story arches, standalone, trilogy and quadrilogy, I feel I’ve covered quite a wide and varied range. I don’t want to brag, but this is unusual in the fiction space. It also makes it harder to challenge myself, because what can I try now? A much hated second-person POV? A new genre I’ve not thought of yet?
While we both ponder this, despair not! There are tons of other, finished books awaiting publication. To begin with, the third and final installment in Woes & Hose will be unveiled in the coming weeks, just before the holiday season. It’s called The Daring Adventures of Amorous Prince Dietrich, ad we will finally learn if our beloved Dick becomes the king of Monrich. Yup. There. Stay tuned.