With the finishing of the first draft of Ghost Tracks, it’s time to turn my attention to my next project. Here’s a quick look at five projects that are lined up to work on.
5 for Friday: Working It.
1. Short Stories
I’ve got 2 short stories on the go: one for an upcoming short story competition with a pretty decent prize pool (You can get an excerpt from it by becoming a Patron this month) and Byt, a piece I’m working on via a series of 15-minute free-writing exercises as a deliberate way to disconnect from the more calculated novel-writing approach. Where will it go? Nobody knows…… But when it becomes something, it’ll be quite different from my recent works, which is the whole point.
There’s her man. Inside the old museum, past the floating whales hanging from the roof, ten feet, twelve above her head. Was a time they floated for real, water got so high, someone once told Byt. She don’t believe it. Ain’t nothing float that high, not in this city. Man’s waiting beyond that, table and chairs set out inside glass walls, counters and trays like maybe used to be a café. Tall and dark, suit like worth more than Byt’s life. Makes her feel small and grubby. Makes her feel heat in her head, like lust and ambition fighting for attention. He waves, motions to the empty chair. Byt sits. Nameless smiles.
Byt sneers. “You know me?”
Smiles again. Byt rocks back. Job face. Street face.
Reaches into his jacket. Byt freezes. Remembering drowned things, floating things. Remembering bodies in street. Hand comes out, envelope gripped. Byt relaxes. Envelope on table, another beside.
2. Bear Hunt.
The next big novel project. One for adults, this time. A crime novel, straight-up, no supernatural or fantastical elements. A small-time crook who got out, and is dragged back into a job that goes wrong. Smells a set up, and goes hunting for answers before his time runs out.
He cut behind the courthouse building, crossed the lawn between it and the library, glanced through the ceiling-high glass walls that formed the side of the building nearest the road. He’d enjoyed endless afternoons in the comfy couch next to the Young Adult section, devouring graphic novels while his Mother slowly turned the pages of a Maeve Binchy or Jodie Picoult novel next to him, tapping him on the arm every now and again when a forgotten word needed explaining. Idyllic, that was the word. Bear saw his reflection in the window: a scowling front rower in a suit, six foot three of ill-defined, slipped muscle piled hither and thither upon middle-aged bones, his bald head like a hastily assembled approximation perched atop it at the last minute. He’d done so well. He’d made his money, worked out exactly how to live off it without resorting to social security or filling out any employment forms. Apart from the odd bill he was as close to being off the radar as a man could get. Then he’d had one lousy five hundred dollar win on a Saturday scratch lotto ticket, and pissed it away. Stupid, stupid, fool.
3. The Bombing.
No words on this one yet, but I’ve always planned to write a story about the Japanese bombing of Broome to fit into The Claws of Native Ghosts, my collection of linked historical horror stories set throughout Western Australian history. The recent holiday in Broome, my first time in that town, has delivered a wealth of photographs, visceral impressions, and some locally-penned books on the subject. This one will come out over the next year or so, once I’ve absorbed the experience down to the cellular level.
No words, so here’s a picture of the interior of the oldest outdoor cinema in the world instead: Broome’s Sun Pictures.
4. The Boy from G.O.B.L.I.N.
A spy thriller set in the hidden world of the monsters that protect the sleeping world from the threat of the things beyond its borders. This one’s for kids, but for that certain type of kid who hasn’t discovered the line you shouldn’t cross, yet.
“What are they?”
“You ever play that game where you try to jump over your shadow?”
“Well, a Wodash is what happens when a shadow jumps over a kid.”
“Is that the worst, then?”
“Not even close. There’s cracklebacks.”
“And what are they?”
“You know that rhyme, step on a crack, break your Mother’s back?”
“Cracklebacks is what does the breaking.”
5. The Canals of Anguilar.
A novel expansion of a short story published a few years ago. The setting has stuck with me, and it’s one I can’t get out of my head and can’t suppress the desire to explore– a City on the far edge of everything, only known to cowards who have run out of anywhere else to run to. It’s a fantasy series in the making, provided I navigate the 12,000 words I’ve put down so far and get it to publishable levels.
We had no money they would accept, but the owner knew where we could sell our horses, and gave us the names of a few cheap flophouses down by the more sluggish, rancid canals. A customer at one of the tables was looking for a couple of strong men to join a work gang chopping firewood up in the rainforests above the City. Agnar and Little Bear caught his eye, and they sat with him while they listened to his terms. Thomas left to look for a bar. Det and Fastny shared another of the glances they had been giving each other most of our journey, and wandered away without a backwards glance. And I was struck by the sudden urge to be alone, away from faces that had grown too familiar. I wished to rid myself of my horse, my few remaining packs, and the mementoes of my former life.
So, there you have it. Five projects to help me while away the hours while death draws ever closer. Which is your favourite? Which one sparks your reader-senses? Hopefully you’ll have a chance to read them all, in coming years.
If you like these 5 for Friday posts, consider becoming a patron at my Patreon site, and you can help set the direction of future installments. Apart from a range of goodies exclusive to patrons, you’ll have the opportunity to vote on upcoming entries in the series. Plus, you know, goodies. Patronage starts from as little as $1 a month, and you’ll be helping me to maintain my writing work.