Monday, November 26, 2007

Books I have Written or Tried to Write

Update: Oops, forgot to mention–I got this meme from Naomi who got it from jpsorrow.

01. 1990 Uriel

My first Urban Fantasy, a vampires and faeries book. From which I learned that: I can write a book. I can do it fast. I really like doing it. Rejection letters are not much fun, and this business is tougher than it looks. Oh, and that I am not Anne Rice, and that's a good thing. Status: Trunked for now.

02. 1991 The Swine Prince

High Fantasy Farce. Wizards and princes and thieves and gnomes. From which I learned that: Uriel was not a fluke. I can write funny. I still don't much like rejection. I am not Terry Pratchett, although I'm much closer to being Pratchett than I am to being Rice, and again, it's a good thing. Status: mostly rewritten to current standard. Needs a new first 10,000 words.

03. 1992/1993 The Assassin Mage

High Fantasy. Book I of III, wizard assassins. From which I learned that: I really really like this writing stuff. Rejections suck. This business is tough, but I'm going to make it if it kills me. Status: Trunked with the intent to rewrite it as a YA.

04. 1994 (Partial) Uprising

High Fantasy. Elves and dead gods. Shiny. From which I learned that: I maybe need to figure out why I'm not selling stuff (I wander off to do short stories for three years). I also learn that I am not Mercedes Lackey and that this is an exceptionally good thing. Status: Trunked for now.

05 1997 (Partial) Family Planning

A scene is written in which a bunch of really cool characters have intense and interesting dialog that implies many dark and wonderful things. I fall in love. It goes nowhere. From which I learned that: Loving a story doesn't mean knowing where it goes or how to write it. Status: This is one I will come back to.

06. 1998/1999 WebMage

What I sometimes call my senior project book. This is where I finished my writer's equivalent of college. (My real college experience finished when I got a BA in Theater in 1991) Cyberfantasy that will sell in 2005. I sold the short story, my first sale, Woot! I've written another story in the same world. It occurs to me that there might be a novel here. In a fit of optimism I plot it out and begin. From which I learned that: Writing short stories has taught me an enormous amount about plot, story, and only putting in what should be there. Also, I learn how to write subplot that supports the main plot and how to write theme. This is the book that gets me an agent, and that keeps a second one when my first agent closes up shop and offers a bunch of us to a fellow agent. Status: In print.

07. 2001 Winter of Discontent

Contemporary fantasy. Shakespeare, Richard III, MacBeth, A touch of Coriolanus and The Tempest. From which I learned that: I am still deeply in love with Shakespeare, care deeply about theater, and am not so fond of theater people. That handling 8 viewpoint characters is a real challenge. That writing about things you love is pure joy. That I can write 60,000 words in 30 days without breaking a sweat. That I am very interested in the idea of belief and how it shapes the world we see (sub this, that being the child of a schizophrenic may have something to do with same). That my agent may not always love everything I write, but that he'll support me wherever I go because he has faith in me and my work. I tend to think of this as my Master's thesis in writing. I'm still very much learning and mastering my craft. Status: Under submission.

08. 2002 Numismancer

Contemporary fantasy. Coin magic. The EU and the Euro. More belief and reality. My dissertation book. From which I learned: An awful lot about directed research. How to successfully transfer dream cool to book cool. That thinly fictionalized incidents from my life will sometimes read as less believable than stuff I simply make up. Status: Under submission.

09. 2003 The Urbana

Contemporary fantasy. Assume that the fey really did die out. What evolves to use all that magical energy? That's where this one started. From which I learned that: I can write a book that I'm not feeling one hundred percent enthused about because I know that a lot of my readers are likely to enjoy it. How to love what I'm writing on a day-to-day basis even when I'm not as enthused as I have been about other books. I'm really pleased with this book, and I think of it as my first truly professional novel. Status: On submission.

10. 2004 (Partial) Outside In

Contemporary dark fantasy, architecture magic. From which I learned that: I am much more interested in certain aspects of architecture and construction than my writers groups. That I need to rethink some of the structure of this book. That being depressed makes it much harder for me to sustain a book in the face of criticism. Status: Trunked for now.

11. 2004 (Partial) Ave Caesar

Mystery, cozy, theater. A departure for me, and one that I want to come back to. From which I learned that: If your early readers aren't familiar with mystery as a genre, you may have a problem. Writers groups that specialize in one genre are probably more effective than groups with lots of folks doing different things. Status: Trunked for now, but I'll come back to it.

12. 2005 Chalice book 1

Young adult contemporary fantasy–arts magic. From which I learned that: YA is a blast to write and that the shorter length is incredibly natural for me. Oh, and that I still feel deeply and deeply ambivalent about theater. Status: On submission as part of a tetrology.

13. 2006 Cybermancy

WebMage Book II. From which I learned that: I can write a second book in a series that wasn't supposed to be a series, just a stand-alone. That Greek myth matters deeply to me. That being paid and having deadlines are both really great motivators for me. That I really really like turning books in early. Status: In print.

14. 2006 The Black School

Young adult, alternate history, WWII, fantasy. From which I learned that: Everything I liked about YA last time goes double for this book. That my YA is much darker than my adult fiction. That anger at contemporary politics is a great motivator for me to write. That my writers group likes my dark stuff more than my funny stuff, or at least that they like these books more than anything else I've ever done. Status: On submission as part of a trilogy.

15. 2007 Codespell

WebMage III. From which I learned that: I can write an ongoing series and enjoy it. That I'm happier writing under contract from proposal than writing spec books. That my own assessment of how smoothly I'm writing doesn't necessarily agree with my readers–everybody else liked this book more than I did, and I could see why when I reread the copyedited manuscript. That I really like turning things in way early and that this makes my editor happy too. Status: In preprint, releases in June.

16. 2007 (currently unfinished) MythOS

WebMage IV. From which I learned that: I should feel free to make strong changes in an ongoing series as long as I talk to my editor and agent first (did that, they were quite happy with the proposal and hopefully they'll like the result as well). That I really want to write at least one more WebMage book after this one. Status: Under contract, half-complete, due October '08.

17. 2007 (currently unfinished) Duel of Mirrors

Contemporary fantasy with a humor edge. Hopefully this will be the logical successor to the WebMage books and will help build that thread of my writing brand. From which I learned that: It's always a joy to fall in love with a new book. That travel juices the heck out of my creative mind. That I become very difficult to talk to when I'm in composing mode. Status: Begun, in plotting phase–aiming for three chapters and an outline for proposal.

18. 2000-2004 Chonicles of the Wandering Star

Hard SF, YA, illustrated short-story collection/serial novel for the teaching of physical science. This one is unusual which is why it's down here out of order. It's a work for hire project that I wrote as part of National Science Foundation funded full year physical science curriculum. I was hired to develop a science-ficitonal context for the curriculum and to write shorts as teaching tools. Fun project. From which I learned that: If the pay is high enough, work-for-hire is a great deal. That I can write YA. That I can write 1,000 word short in an hour if I have to. That I can write that short to teach a specific science concept, and that I can do it well enough to make a goodly percentage of the students who read it happy. That deadlines and getting paid are great motivators for me. Status: In print.


Anonymous said...

Geez, you certainly seem to write crazy fast. o.o

Hmm, anger at contemporary politics sounds familiar to me. I've been finding political problems are a recurring theme to my stories... definitely more than they were a couple of years ago.

I would be very interested on a post about directed research. The next novels I'm planning to write are going to require it... and more thoughts on it would be thoroughly helpful.

And DoM has a frelling cool title. :D

Anonymous said...

What a great idea for a post, I may just have to steal it. :) I really enjoyed this peek inside your mind, learning process, and writing history.

Anonymous said...

A great lesson for folks who think that an artist (any kind of artist) is an overnight sensation. Success takes hard work and perseverence and talent and a little bit of luck.

Thanks for sharing, Kelly. I hope someday your trunked books see the light!

Kelly McCullough said...

Ryan, I'll start thinking about the directed research. Glad you like "DoM."

Jen, steal away, as I've just noted in updates that's how I got it.

Beth, you're welcome. I hope I get to bring the trunks back into the light at some point too. I do love them all on some level.

nihilix said...

Kelly -

Just wrote you an email so you know who this is...

Political content, particularly political content I agree with, is a strong motivator for me to buy or read something. If you were to write leftist stuff I'd start buying multiple copies of your books.

In light of the email, I'm glad to see that you're feeling you've written professional content. It was a question that had just gone through my head - he's developed as a writer, will get better - shoot, he's been doing this for a while. Got a few books (I'd imagined 7, not 17!)

Kelly McCullough said...


Got the e, will respond--there's lots of interesting stuff there, but it'll probably be a little while before I get the chance. October just about did me in and I'm still getting caught up.

17 actually shocked me too. 14, the one after Cybermancy is the one where I really crossed the line into feeling like I know what I'm doing, which funnily is a different line for me than being a professional was.

I suspect that in another dozen books I will look back again, decide that I was crazy to think I knew what I was doing back then and that "now" I really know what I'm doing, and so on.

Paris said...

Got here via Beth.

It's actually encouraging to know that you've been sticking to it these past 17 years.

Congrats on the publishing thing.

Larry Kollar said...

Beth & Nancy pointed me to this one as a must-read. You know, I think this would make a heck of a cool "tag" subject: what creative things have you done? Doesn't have to be writing; for example, I have a couple of fingers in video and music.

Writing would be so much easier if only I could settle on one freeking genre.