The Lure of a New Series

Sorry, dude. I can see the ending.


Today’s writing regimen was fun and exciting, and yet on the fringe was a hollow feeling that I was going against proven advice: don’t let the temptation of the new project keep you from finishing your current project. I am currently 66k into the rewrite of my Science Fiction novel, Kaimerus Deception. I made progress last Friday and have an idea for a final battle that steps everything up a notch, adds a twist, and utilizes the Chekhov’s guns I’ve placed throughout. I then took the weekend off to utilize an empty home and came to work today refreshed and ready to go. So, with the ending in sight, what did I work on today?

Not the novel.

It’s just one day though, so that’s okay, right?

Let me expand a little on what I worked on today and then I would appreciate your thoughts.

Here’s the simplest way of presenting my dilemma: I don’t know if I’m a SF or a Horror writer, and with a rewrite nearly done in SF, I’m afraid I’m investing in a genre that isn’t where I’ll excel the most.

It would make sense for a Biology major to write SF, or a History major to write epic Fantasy or SF. I majored in English and Philosophy and didn’t have a single Creative Writing course under someone who writes adult Speculative Fiction. While there are advantages to my educational path, which I’ll get to, I lack the math and science background to really know what I’m talking about when writing SF.

So, what do I know about? Well, I did get a Master of Divinity and excelled in Hebrew and Greek. But, after realizing I wasn’t interested in being a pastor, I’ve struggled to find a use for that aside from daily life and teaching Sunday School.

This summer I came up with a zombie mythos based off of Isaiah 28:18:

There are reports of Hebrew burial grounds all over North America. What if they were the source of deals with the dead involving feeding people to zombies?

“Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through, you will be beaten down by it.” Isaiah talks about Hebrews making deals with the dead, and I asked the question of, “What if they made deals with the zombies of their ancestors for financial, military and political gain?”

I wrote a novelette about a former youth pastor working as a 3rd shift security guard at a seed plant of the local tycoon when a scourge of zombies hits his small town. His knowledge of Hebrew and desire to love his wife will be crucial to stopping the zombies from wiping out his town and lose what is most dear to him.

That novelette has since been polished and resubmitted to the publisher and I’m waiting to hear back. Meanwhile, I have a zombie Cub Scout flash fiction in editors hands that I’m also very excited about. While I have a plan for the security guard zombie hunter, I also have big plans for the Cub Scout in his new role (no spoiler).

Today was thrilling using my strengths in Scripture to build the mythos and a book I invented called, Goliath’s Armor: A Stewardship Over the Dead. Funny thing is, I reference chapters forty-eight and forty-nine in the novelette, so I need to figure out what goes before them. There’s a bit of a rush on this because I need to figure it out before this story gets published in case I need to lower those chapter numbers.

My favorite zombie series.

On top of this brainstorming, I wrote 1600 words into the first two journal entries in the novelette’s sequel. I’m taking the Day by Day Armageddonapproach and seeing how I like 1st person past tense as a story telling method.

My conclusion is to justify my work today as riding a wave of creative energy, and planning to get at least 1k of words on my novel tomorrow before I do anything on this. The goal is to have fun, but realize that sometimes the work we need to do is not what is most fun. I can justify some work on a series that is much closer to publication than my novel, as long as I also realize that I must finish what I’ve started in this novel that has gone through nearly two drafts.

I recently heard advice that I’m not supposed to like my first draft, because it’s the second or third draft where it will really shine. I need to stick to it and see what I think at that point. I’ve invested a year in this project. The least I can do is see it through to the point where I see how it becomes what I imagined from the beginning when I had such high hopes.

What do you think? In case I confused you with my bragging, my zombie series is much closer to publication, but would greatly benefit from more worldbuilding before the first story is published. On the other hand, I don’t want to lose sight of the end of a novel while it’s still fresh. Right now I’m hedging my bets by alternating between the two projects.


About Timothy C. Ward

Timothy C. Ward is a Hugo nominated producer for Adventures in SciFi Publishing, who has been lost, broke and surfed with sharks on the other side of the world. He now dreams of greater adventures from his keyboard in Des Moines, Iowa. This summer he released two novels: his second Sand Divers book, Scavenger: A.I., where two parents use an ancient technology to fight a reproducing A.I. while trying to resurrect their deceased infant; and Godsknife: Revolt, an apocalyptic battle for godhood in the rift between Iowa and the Abyss.

3 comments on “The Lure of a New Series

  1. Ah, that’s encouraging. I’m currently jumping between a couple of stories, the first draft of one and the second draft of another. The first draft story has given me a new bearing on things for the second draft, so they’re building on each other as I go. I’m glad I’m not the only one who does this.

    Your zombie series sounds refreshingly different. Good luck with it!

  2. “I don’t know if I’m a SF or a Horror writer,”

    Be both. It just takes some time to shift between the two.

    SF doesn’t need an advanced knowledge of math or science to write it, unless you’re writing hard SF.

    • Ditto on Kaleb. Well said.

      Write what you want to write. We’re a niche market anyway.

      And ditto on the second and third drafts being better. I do recommend finishing any work (as much as you know how) before you set it aside to ferment. It’s easier to edit than produce.

      On the other hand, if your goal is publication and you have stories more ready than others, it’s fine to get those out there and earning their keep.

      There is no right way to be a writer. I think I’ve said that before.

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