On Writing Projects: Decisions Decisions


In less than a week, I’m meeting with my friend, Jen, for a discussion about writing as part of a new podcast she plans to release on her Patreon page. Essentially, we’re trying to take a stab at actually writing something. For me, it’s a return. For Jen, it’s brand spankin’ new.

In an effort to get started, I thought I might return to a project I had started but never completed. Maybe I wrote a paragraph or two. Maybe a few pages. Maybe I wrote an outline. For whatever reason, I never finished these projects, and they continue to haunt me the way fun projects do. So, I figure that coming back to something familiar — especially something I’m really passionate about — would make transitioning back into writing a little bit exciting. Currently, the projects that most interest me are on the playful side. As I mentioned in a previous post, I want writing to be fun, and “fun” for me means letting my imagination run wild.

With that in mind, these are the five projects I’m currently looking at:

  • Full Magic Jacket (novel):  an urban fantasy about a young man who accidentally gains the ability to see and hear the supernatural but doesn’t know if any of it is real. Features the reincarnation of Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut in the form of a talking cat, the Ouroboros, a psychiatrist, and other strangeness. This is essentially my attempt at trying to make sense of my life with a cat person. It’s also a story that was born out of a sudden fascination with really old folklore, for which I have purchased many a book. It’s Big Trouble in Little China meets Buffy/Hellboy with a side of Ghostbusters.
  • Lendergross and Eaves (tentative title; novella):  a secondary world fantasy starring Terk, the Frog Prince of Bifur and infamous drug lord. The story is essentially a murder mystery in which Terk is framed and forced to use his stream of hideouts until he can clear his name. The hideouts have nifty names. Comes with a twist ending, I think. I may have talked about this one on Twitter once or twice.  It’s like The Wind in the Willows meets the last season of House M.D. with a side of Breaking Bad (the nice parts).
  • Murder in Hodgepodge Alley (novelette or novella):  a murder mystery set in the same world as Lendergross and Eaves that involves the mysterious and brutal disappearance of street children and the young boy who defies city law to uncover what is really going on. The setting is essentially my take on Kowloon Walled City in China. It’s The Frankenstein Chronicles meets Luther (if Luther were a kid living on the street and not a terrifying police detective with anger management issues).
  • The Girl Who Flew on a Whale (short novel):  a middle-grade fantasy novel set in the same world as the previous two stories in which a precocious young girl convinces a stableboy to go on an adventure with her to discover the flying whales of pirate legend. This is sort of what happens if you let me write for kids and I feel no need for anything to make sense beyond “OMG sensawunda silly joybarnacle.” It involves a heavily allegorical scene in which a rich aristocrat is implied to have eaten the children he has taken under his care. Do with that knowledge what you will. It’s The Neverending Story meets Matilda with Hermoine as the protagonist.
  • Untitled YA Space Opera (novel):  a story I wanted to write a long while ago set in a distant future that crosses Titan A.E., Firefly, and Guardians of the Galaxy (or Star Wars). Earth has been lost (literally) and a pair of siblings — a tech wizard (“Trip”) and a combat specialist (“Bug”) — decide to defy a ruling alien empire to find their home. One of the main characters is in a wheelchair that converts into a mech for use in combat. The other is like a female MacGyver, but not ridiculous. High-flying adventure stuff. (I’d throw in a reference to S.L. Huang’s Russel’s Attic series).

I’m not sure where I land yet. These all sound like a lot of fun to me, so I’m going to throw it to all of you.

What do you think? Does anything leap out at you? I’ve included a poll should you feel inclined to vote. 😛

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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