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Jul 8, 2010

Other Monsters Under the Bed

This is not, btw, my first, or only monster under the bed. I wrote other monstrosities before this one, even uglier. I never even considered trying to publish those. Even Young Me knew they weren't publishable. Here's an inventory of the ones I remember:

Fanfic Star Trek (original series) novel. About 70,000 words. I co-wrote this novel with my mother when I was in Jr. High; she wrote the Spock scenes, I wrote the Kirk scenes. I will always have fond memories of it. Long live fanfic!

SF adventure novel about aliens conquering the Earth. (Sooooooo original). I hand-wrote this masterpiece with an eraserless pencil while living in a remote Mexican village when I was fifteen. Word count? Hard to say. Pencil scrawl filled several wide-ruled spiral-bound Mead notebooks. I impressed myself at the time. Knowing what I do now about word count, I'd guess it was probably no more than 30,000 words. The mss is lost. History weeps.

Epic Fantasy. 400,000 words. (Yikes!) I wrote it in high school. Naif that I was, I mailed out this elephant-sized mss to wallow in the slush pools of all my favorite fantasy publishers. Yes, I first began to query in high school. I earned my first reject letters. One reject letter was actually personalized, a kindness I was too ignorant to recognize at the time. (Fortunately, although dejected by rejection, I was never rude.) I accepted the reject letters as one more hint I should go to college, which I did. Not only do I still have the original mss, mailed back to me, I have the original reject letters.

SF about an anti-Semitic theocratic dystopia. Word Count: 50,000-60,000 words. One year in college, God knows why, I decided to spend Finals Week writing this novel instead of studying. Another WTF-was-I-thinking moment. I almost flunked out, sure, but I finished that novel in less than a month. I assumed from the start I would never be able to publish it because of the edgy topic. "Edgy" is now really popular, but I still doubt this novel is politically correct enough to be published. I no longer know where the mss is, though I believe I have a hard copy somewhere. I hope. I would be sad if I lost this one, even if no one ever reads it but me.

Hmm. Looking at this list, mostly if not entirely complete, it strikes me I haven't written much. I've re-written much more. Not on this list are later projects, for instance Dindi, which I have re-written a dozen or more times. I makes me wonder again where a writer's time and creativity is better invested -- in re-writing old works or in writing new ones? Some of these projects were flawed from the start. Re-writing would be wasted on them. Others, such as my Epic Fantasy, could have gold to sift from the dross.

1 comment:

Ban said...

I never wrote when I was younger. I started after college. I was trying to write a scene out of a dream I'd had then decided to flesh it out further and it has become me main wip. Since then I've worked on over a dozen (probably closer to 2 dozen) other stories that have come to me. Sometimes I imagine combining some of them but I haven't found a way to do that yet ...