As part of a larger effort to organize my life and make better use of what little writing time I have these days, I decided to do up a massive Project Status Report of everything I’m working on and where it is now. Couple of things before we start this.
- I have WAY too many works in progress and unfinished projects. I am well aware of this and trying to remedy the situation. Why it’s gotten this way is a long story but I’m working to break the bad habits and make the best of my erratic writing schedule so I can whittle down the list in the next few years.
- I’m only including full length plays and novel length projects. I have multiple short plays in progress that I’m not bothering to list here and a bunch of non-fiction and memoir-ish projects that will get their own status report. And if I don’t mention a project entirely? That’s because it’s completely off my radar or I don’t consider it “in progress” enough to list here yet.
- I use nicknames for my projects while they are in progress since the titles are often changing. Sometimes they are weird and have nothing whatsoever to do with the project itself so don’t let that alarm you.
Let’s just get down to it…
While I never truly give up on an idea, these are the projects that I have spent significant time on in the past but have no plans on working on in the immediate future.
- What is it? MG Fantasy novel about two would be fantasy heroes who realize they’re actually helping the bad guy.
- Project History: I have been working on this project in one way or another since I was in elementary school, though I wrote the most complete draft of it during November 2017 (my first NaNoWriMo win). It is the book of my heart, if you will, and it’s very important to me that I finish it someday.
- Shelved because: During a rewrite I was doing of it a few years ago, I realized that I was not a good enough writer to pull it off yet. I was trying to make it simultaneously a MG Fantasy novel and a parody of MG Fantasy novel and I felt like I needed a few more years of writing experience under my belt before I went back to it. It’s also part extended parody of my true love, My Little Pony, and when they rebooted the show for Friendship is Magic, it means I’ll have to change a lot of stuff once that show is finally done. (No rush, tho, Hasbro! I am all about MLP domination for years to come!)
The Muppet Play
- What is it? Adult play about an artist who meets an old friend on the subway… that he’s never actually met before.
- Project History: My own personal riff off the song Vaguely Familiar from The Muppet Movie, this play is very much a reflection of where I was post college and trying to figure out where my life was headed with a big side dish of what the Muppets meant to me and how they shaped where I am. In a lot of ways, it’s the most personal thing I’ve ever written. Did several revisions and rounds of feedback of it in 2011 as part of a playwriting class I took.
- Shelved because: I took a break from it in 2011. Even though the class feedback was very positive on it, I knew something about the ending wasn’t quite right and I wanted to give it time to breathe and figure it out. At the time, it felt a few tweaks away from done but now? I’m in such a different headspace, I have no idea what I would think of it if I read it now. It’s such a personal play, the whole thing feels silly, so I keep avoiding dealing with it.
- What is it? Adult play about a business tycoon who’s collecting paper books in a world increasingly moving towards electronic media and the journalist from his past who thinks he’s up to no good.
- Project History: Wrote several drafts of this throughout 2011, submitting a mostly finished draft of it in that same playwriting class for feedback.
- Shelved because: While I got a ton of good feedback on it, I shelved it once the class ended because something was missing and I wanted to give myself time to figure out what. Then, as time wore on, I kept putting it aside because I was building up a fanbase with youth plays and what the heck would I even do with an adult play like this? I’ve thought about going back to it dozens of times and the fact that I have nothing to do with it right now always holds me back.
- What is it? Contemporary YA about a gifted girl whose life is turned upside down when a real life crime at her school resembles a story she posted online.
- Project History: Parts of this originated as a story I wrote when I was about 10 years old. Parts of it were, I kid you not, Tiny Toons fanfiction. It was my NaNoWriMo 2010 AND 2011 novels (plus another draft I wrote in the off season). I have written many versions of this story, each with completely different plots, but I keep coming back to it because of the characters. I love them… I just have no idea what story they are meant to go in.
- Shelved because: Parts of this story deal with a marginalization that is not my own and other parts are loosely based on family events and I am increasingly suspecting that maybe this story is not mine to tell. At least, not in the form it’s in now.
- What is it? MG adventure story about a horse who thinks he’s a superhero, a cat who wants to use his lolcat stardom to take over the world and the whiz kid who has to live with them.
- Project History: Written for NaNoWriMo 2013, my first NaNoWriMo as a new parent (aka the hardest / least productive writing year of my life) this is the messiest first draft I have ever written. The story itself was a mash-up of a story I wrote in 6th grade about a superhero horse and a story I wrote in 7th grade about an egotistical cat. The main character, who used to be an adult, I aged down to a kid so I don’t have a good bead on her yet.
- Shelved because: While I do think there’s potential there, my draft of this story was such an absolute hot mess, I’d be starting from zero if I returned to it. And while I like the idea, I don’t like it as much as other ideas on this list so it’ll be a while before I come back to it.
- What is it? YA dystopian sci fi about a flooded world where almost the entire human population is made of clones.
- Project History: Based off a weird pregnancy dream (and randomly staring a clone of Justin Bieber), I wrote the first draft of this during NaNoWriMo 2014 with no plan whatsoever and was pleasantly surprised by how easily the story came.
- Shelved because: While that first draft came out pretty good, it showed that I had a lot of work to do to figure out the characters and world a bit more. With some hardcore prep work, I know I could dive back into this again someday and really make it something… but it’s just not my highest priority right now. Also I got distracted by WOC which we’ll talk about shortly.
- What is it? Adult play about a bartender with a glass eye and a fisherman who’s lost his arm who form an unlikely friendship when a wifi signal gone awry starts attracting onry ghosts.
- Project History: I finished Clone Rocker early in the month of November 2014 so I used the rest of the month to write a bunch of random first drafts, including this one and the Brain Play below.
- Shelved because: I spent a few weeks with it as my main project in early 2015 and did some revisions only to decide that, while I still really like this play and characters, I needed to let it percolate a bit before I could finish it. And I haven’t come back to it because of the same, “What the heck can I even do with an adult play at this point?” questions that plague The Muppet Play and TheLibrary.
- What is it? A play about a brain cell chasing a promotion from dreams to day dreams.
- Project History: Also based on a weird dream, I wrote this in that same frenzied month of November 2014.
- Shelved because: It was a high concept play where the characters are all individual brain cells helping their human figure out what she really wanted in life and… you’re sitting here saying, like Pixar’s Inside Out? Um, yeah. Shortly after I wrote this, Pixar came out with Inside Out and while it isn’t exactly the same, it’s similar enough that, even though my idea predated the movie, I’d never be able to put it out there without people thinking it was a ripoff of the movie. Maybe in a few years I’ll be able to come up with a fresh enough spin on the idea to give it another go.
Fairy Tale Monologue play
- What is it? A collection of monologues in a frame story where a group of colorful characters retell their favorite bad fairy tales.
- Project History: This is part of my big Tale of Tales project and I have written about half of the monologues over the last two years in between working on other parts.
- Shelved because: I have to read this whole other fairy tale collection to finish this and I just don’t have time for that right now.
These are the projects I am most passionate about and plan to work on very soon, if not next. The biggest difference between shelved and paused is that I still tinker with these projects from time to time even if they aren’t currently in the hot seat.
- What is it? YA supernatural thriller where some people have a super power that only triggers during life or death situations.
- Project History: I wrote the first draft of this book in the summer of 2009 and finished it during NaNoWriMo of that year. I revised the heck out of it and started querying it in the summer of 2011. Querying went well and big things were happening… but then I dropped all the balls because of the combo of whooping cough, pregnancy, incredibly hard year that was 2012. By the time I emerged from all that, I decided I could make the book better so I wrote a total rewrite in Spring of 2014 that basically combined what was to be the first and second book into the same story.
- Paused because: I was letting that brand new rewrite sit before I planned to dive right into editing it so I wrote Clone Rocker and a bunch of other first drafts during NaNo as a palate cleanser before getting right back to it. But, instead, I never even got to re-read that new draft because along came…
- What is it? A MG holiday fantasy series about the real origins of Santa’s elves.
- Project History: I had the idea to just write a quickie short story version of my play, Polar Twilight, that I could use to promote the play… and somehow that spiralled into a whole MG series that I wrote the first book of in a single week between Christmas and New Years 2014. I knew I was onto something and was determined to finish this book before I did anything else. But I started to realize that this was a series and then I couldn’t figure out exactly where the story started and which parts of the story would be in which books? I had this absolute frenzy where I wrote pieces of several books from this series over and over from a bunch of different POVs, starting it in different place and just generally flailing around in a literary way.
I finally realized where the story needed to start and wrote a brand new version of the true first book that I finished in November of 2015. I then spent most of 2016 frantically trying to finish revising that book before my second baby was due to emerge and failing as we were also moving at the same time and I had pregnancy brain on top of everything else.
- Paused because: After banging my head metaphorically against the book for a while, I realized that it was stupid to try to edit this book in the middle of movie and motherhood chaos. I retreated back to Fourth Orange, which was a sure thing and easier to write for whatever reason, with the promise that, as soon as I have proper brain space for writing again, I will get right back to this book. I am still completely obsessed with this story and so eager to write it, I just need the time to devote to getting it just right and that ain’t gonna happen right now.
The Carlo Gozzi Play I Refuse To Admit I’m Adapting
- What is it? It’s an adaptation of a Carlo Gozzi commedia play that I refuse to admit I’m adapting. But I’m adapting it as a contemporary drama for some reason.
- Project History: I started the research for this project in the summer of 2017, finished it in November 2017 and have several chunks of a good draft going on.
- Paused because: I was trying to write it during NaNoWriMo and it was not really working. I plan to resume this project very soon, most likely next, now that I can work at it at my own pace.
This is what I’m currently working on.
The Fourth Orange and Other Fairy Tales You’ve Never Even Heard Of
- What is it? A full length play that collects four obscure Italian fairy tales into a frame story.
- Project History: One of the few finite parts of my massive Tale of Tales adaptation project which is massive and ongoing. I started this project in early 2013, completed the individual tales (which are also standalone plays in their own right) that make it up in the last two years.
- Now: All four tale plays have premiered. I just* need to tweak a few issues I noticed in those productions, finalize the frame story and then trim the whole thing down a bit. *=it’s not a lot of work and should have been done months ago but I have so little time to write it’s taking forever
Whew! See, I told you it’s way too many. But long time readers of the blog often ask where I am with various projects so it’s nice to get a full status down to point to. A few common themes emerge for why certain projects haven’t been touched in a while and I’m going to address them with a new writing system I’m developing for next year. And this list doesn’t reflect all the other plays and books and stories I started but never finished a full draft of so… I have my work cut out for me, is all.
Hopefully I’ll be whittling this list down in the next few years until a more reasonable size and then I can make this a yearly check in on just the projects that have changed status.