Books from Before

Well, of course I’m supposed to be writing an academic paper proposal, modifying generic syllabi, and working on my writing research trip to Chicago! That’s exactly why I’m choosing to procrastinate.

I’ve been reading Jim Hines this morning, and he linked to a post about the books that he’s written. Some of you have done this before, and just yesterday Tina Gray and I were talking about this topic. I suppose it got me thinking about the big projects, so mostly for my own reference, here’s a list of the novels that I have written or started.

The Magic Mirror: Never, ever will this books see the light of day. I will leave instructions to destroy it upon my death. Written at the age of 14 on my father’s manual typewriter, it was the usual dimensional hop story with a mirror intervening. Oh, the horror of how bad it is!

That Untitled Man from U.N.C.L.E. novel: Actually, I don’t remember the title. It was better than my first effort at 14, because at 18, I had taken marked steps forward. It’s a classic Mary Sue insert (I even used my own name!), but it was wonderful fun, and a great exercise in how to write a complete book. Complete and utter crap, however.

A Curriculum Guide to Business and Technical Communications in Community College: Doesn’t that sound like fun? The creative component for my MA, it is actually responsible in many ways for my current prestigious position in academia. There’s two years of my life well spent.

Blood is Thicker than Water: This is the novel I am serializing over at Las Habladoras. I wrote it after receiving my MA in the early 90s. It’s a fun send up of Victorianism and vampires. It also had some promising nibbles from companies and agents, but was never embraced. I think I collected about 20 rejections for it. I thought about sending it around again, but I don’t write this kind of thing anymore, so I thought I would share it for free.

Clasped Heart: A self-indulgent poorly written work. It deserved every one of the 15 rejections it received. However, I renovated some of the characters for Drollerie’s Sister Night, Sister Moon, so it wasn’t a total loss. After writing Heart, my plans to write were thwarted by my desire to go to graduate school.

Japanese Students and Composition Teachers: The Negotiation of Classroom Assignments: And there’s 7 years of my life I might want back. 🙂 The title of my PhD thesis, which was cool, and took me to Japan repeatedly.

The Substance of Shadows: The book about demon binders that’s circulating among agents. It’s about two boys negotiating a family curse. I started the book in 2003. It was nice to discover that after 7 years of not writing novels, something had really changed and the quality of my writing picked up. It was immensely popular in its fan fiction incarnation. In 2005, I pulled it because I recognized it as thinly disguised real fiction, and rewrote it to submit it. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to become sidetracked in an intense job situation, and didn’t get back to my dream of trying to publish until 2007, at which point we loosed all the cannons in that direction.

Hulk Hercules: Professional Wrestler: The book Sonya Sipes commissioned from me based on the strength of some of my other work. About a boy, his sister, and their uncle, who may or may not be Hercules. Thanks, Sonya! Here’s hoping we get a movie!

Now we enter the realms of books that are started and will be returned to.

Searching for Your Soul: The sequel to Substance. No point in getting back to this until when and if we sell the first book. I could write another 3 Klarion binder books besides, for a total of 5.

Gossamer and Veridian: My faerie book. It is an intersection of trolls, sidhe, and Sudanese fae, and it takes place in Iowa. I will probably return to it with a heavy focus on the trolls. But really, does the world need yet another faerie book? I think this could be some 3 books entire.

The Empty Horizon: A retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo from the viewpoints of Haydee and Mercedes. I want to return to this book when I am a grown-up writer, so I can give it the treatment it deserves.

So, that’s 6 novels, 2 boring academic tomes, and 3 novels that are half finished. More than I remembered yesterday. I think this is always interesting, and I hope some of you play this game in your journals.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

2 thoughts on “Books from Before”

  1. “Self-indulgent.” That caught my eye. I’ve got an older story out for critique right now, since I’m basing this year’s NaNo on the same premise. At this point, one kind critic said that he didn’t see the point of one section, and it wasn’t keeping his attention because he didn’t know where the story was going.

    “Self indulgent” is probably the best description of that story. Its unpublishable length, the wandering story line – it should be slashed and burned. All night long I kicked myself for it, but this morning, I’ve decided that it isn’t bad, it’s just not publishable. As a first treatment, it’s not bad. I indulged myself and learned. Sounds like you’ve done the same.

    I await The Empty Horizon.

  2. I have indeed learned the same.

    I want to be a more experienced writer with some books under my belt when I return to Empty Horizon. I really want it to be a contribution.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.