Still Pluggin’…

I haven’t posted lately, things have been busy in my life.

I had a procedure/surgery on my right ankle to correct a stress fracture/non-union.  Off my feet for a while, getting around with crutches and a “knee-walker” at the office.  I’ve done some reading, but not much writing.  It’s hard to get momentum when you’re never alone!  At home, I don’t have a good writing computer right now, and have done most of my writing at the office.

Here’s another issue with my writing.  I have done a lot of it using the old WordPerfect program.  Word (on two of our computers at home) will open the files, but one of them is smack dab in the middle of everything, and the other is in my son’s room.  The other computer that had WP installed on it died (think the video card went night night) and so I was using a netbook to write on, but while it has a student version of Word on it that wasn’t activated, I’m not crazy about using it, and paying for Word on it.  And our main computer, the one my older son writes on, is an Apple, with Pages.  I know there are ways to work around it, but it’s not a great situation.  My son uses the Apple for a LOT of school work, and I can’t really use the one in the younger son’s room because of, well, it’s in his ROOM!  I need a new computer, I think, and have been debating what to get – a MacBook (and use Pages, which actually is pretty fun to write on, or a Mac version of Scrivener, which I’ve never used), or a Windows-based computer and buy Scrivener.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that most of my writing is done at work.  Like now.  But there are these things called “patients” and “appointments” that I have to work around, which makes it difficult to get that writing momentum going here as well.

So what am I up to, writing-wise?  Well, a few posts back, I listed four finished first drafts.  There are actually five.  One is my dental mystery, DEATH BY APPOINTMENT.  A second is a novella-length (23k words) story called THE CAVE.  The third is a horror novel with the working title of COLLEGE EVIL, which is about 45k words.  The fourth is another horror novella, tentatively called NEVER ENDING NIGHT, a Richard Laymon inspired, 27k story.  And the fifth is called THE INN, and is also horror, inspired by the stories of William Malmborg (if you like serial killer/psycho horror, Malmborg is really good at writing it).  I think it’s around 28K.

And as for what else I’m working on, my son and I have about 60K words done on a cool YA story called THE NINE KEYS.  We keep working on it, and he envisions, like, at least five books, but I’d be thrilled with getting to the end of this story.  We’ve got a ways to go.  I could see it coming in around 75K, possibly, or a little longer.  I also have two YA/young reader stories, which I won’t mention titles, except to say that one of them involves Arthurian mythology.  Then I’ve been working a bit on a post-apocalyptic thing with no name, just more or less a situation that I’m trying to find the story for.  One of those “everyone’s dead” things.  I have another post-apocalyptic story that I used to call my Pond Lake novel, as it begins in a fictional Wisconsin town with that name.  In this one, I killed off all the adults.  I started this one over twenty years ago, and wrote a bunch of it, but I scrapped most of that and just kept the characters I like best.  (Turns out I like the bad kids’ characters best – they’re the ones whose stories seem to be flowing off my fingers.)  I also have a bunch of chapters of this crazy Vegas story that, if I ever release it, will not be under this pen name.  And last, I have a thing that I call my “Rewot” story.  A weird dimension-hopping story that is influenced in part by Heinlein’s NUMBER OF THE BEAST and King’s DARK TOWER books.

I’m a hopper, when it comes to writing.  I tend to jump to whatever catches my fancy at the moment.  So I might be writing in Pond Lake (and other locales) and then suddenly I’ll decide to go back to the other post-apocalyptic story, or one of the YA projects, or…  Is this a good way to write?  Probably not.  Actually, it’s probably about the worst possible way to write.  How I managed to finish five stories of those lengths is something I wonder about a bunch, but I have done so.  I should probably focus on cleaning them up as much as possible before sending one or two of them to an editor.

But you know what?  I’m going to do whatever I pretty much feel like.  Some day maybe I’ll be a professional, full-time writer.  But right now, I’m a professional full-time (if a bit disabled) dentist.  Dentistry pays the bills and puts money away for college for our family.  Plus, I’m darned good at it.  So I’ll keep up the hobbyist approach for now and who knows?  By the time I’m ready to retire, perhaps I’ll be earning a bit of income from these creative works.


2 thoughts on “Still Pluggin’…

  1. John Ellsworth

    Scott, I use a Macbook and Scrivener. Highly recommend. When I was practicing law, everything was PC/Windows. I hated both as the interface always required some technical know-how. So when I graduated out of law, I went Mac. Love it, absolutely love it.

    Looking around your blog, it seems your pieces are shorter. You might want to consider something longer, say, an 80K novel and really commit to doing your best possible work with it. Please forgive me if I’m speaking out of turn, but it seems you’re a natural born writer, probably will never stop writing, and you could really enjoy some commercial success.

    My thoughts.

    Good luck.

  2. Scott Dyson Post author

    Thanks for the comment! Maybe that’s the way to go – Macbook and Scrivener. I like our Mac desktop and Pages but it’s a little odd with the way it outputs to anything but a Pages document.

    As far as the short fiction goes, I decided to start with the short stuff, and go longer from there. But still, even my longer fiction seems to finish up at 25K to 45K words. (The exception is the piece I’m writing with my son.) I keep trying. I think part of the problem is that I don’t seem to get momentum because I find it almost impossible to write every day. I need to change something. Some days I just think I should forget the whole thing, but I realized that I am going to write whether I publish or not, and so why not try to publish as well?

    Again, thanks much for the comment and for reading my entries! (I always enjoy your insights at the Passive Voice blog…)

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