So it's time to admit my failure. I’ve been avoiding you lately because, frankly, I'm ashamed of myself. I have abandoned--temporarily, I swear--the novel project I'd dedicated myself to this summer. "Service" is on hold. Yes, I was committed to completing a draft by 2005, but three chapters in my inability to write anything further that didn't make me want to puke prompted me to throw in the towel.
Yes, this has happened before. Yes, this has happened many times before. But as has been the case many times before, I have happy news as well. I am, of course, working on a new novel project.
"Billy Shooter," the story of a boy with an uncanny ability to shoot people without really harming them is underway and going strong. Three chapters in, there is a plan, a plot, and extensive notes. When will I give up on this one, and switch back to "Service"? Only time will tell . . .
But let’s take a moment to catalog my novel failures: I will list below only serious attempts of the last 5 years--ideas with drafts that went beyond 30 pages.
1. LOSST -- The tale of a self destructive underachieving journalist going after the story of two high school football players who's decision to switch identities prior to the state championship game 20 years ago has left a small Pennsylvania football town in ruins.
Begun in September, 1999. Abandoned in December, 1999. Revisited and abandoned in the summer of 2000.
Drafts of 3 chapters totaling more than 40 pages. One notebook of handwritten notes.
2. Bitty Brawl -- The tale of a 20-somethig ne'er-do-well whose gambling debts force him to recruit his ailing grandmother into the underground world of bare-knuckle boxing for the elderly.
Notes written in 1998. Begun in earnest in May 2000. Abandoned in May 2001.
Drafts of 4 chapters totaling more than 70 pages. At least 30 pages of additional notes.
3. Money -- The tale of a young couple pursued by a menacing man in black seeking not the million dollars they stole from him, but some mysterious object that was in the same bag that held the money.
Kicked around in various stages from 1997 to 2002.
Drafts of 4 chapters totaling more than 50 pages. A half finished 60-page screenplay. Notebook of handwritten notes.
4. Service -- Tale of a cash-strapped bartender who teams with a waitress considering herself to be the second coming of Christ on a mass murdering spree that targets rude restaurant customers as a way to separate the saved from the damned in what at least the waitress believes are the last days before the apocalypse.
Begun in May 2001. Abandoned in November 2002. Returned to in April 2004. Abandoned in October 2004.
Drafts of 3 chapters around 30 pages. Extensive notes -- maybe another 40 pages.
5. Billy Shooter -- The coming of age tale of a boy with an uncanny ability to shoot people without really harming them.
Kicked around from December 2003 to April 2004. Begun in earnest in October 2004.
Drafts of three chapters around 20 pages. Additional notes.
Beyond this, of course there have been a slew of ideas kicked around that have yet to go beyond ten pages. Who knows when I’ll jump on one of them.
The lack of focus here is truly disturbing, but, alas, I soldier on.
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My lovely wife.