Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

July 7, 2014

What I’m working on – July edition

Filed under: wordsmithery,workin for the man — Tags: , , — lexifab @ 10:22 pm

I’m officially looking for work, preferably temporary project work on short-term contracts. To this end I’ve done interviews with job pimps, tightened up my resume, written about thirty cover letters, referees reports and personal profiles, I’ve taken psychological tests [1] and I’ve even taken the soul-destroying, vale-of-tears-walking, misery-inducing, beyond-desperate step of creating a LinkedIn account.

Nothing yet. Okay then.

In the meantime to keep myself from playing video games or binge-watching Breaking Bad and Orphan Black, I’m writing too many things at once. Here’s a list, using super-secret codenames and/or working titles because I am very, very terrible at titles and they are pretty much the last thing I commit to in my writing process:

Wattle Creek Spook Hunters Club Season One is a weird little…um, septych [2] about high schoolers making a ghost hunting Youtube channel, except that it’s turned out a lot weirder than that initial idea. Thanks to my monthly face to face critiquing circle, this one now definitely has a plot. It’s now finished and has been sent off for submission.

Lost Dogs is a creepy horror story about a failed man losing his grip on the social ladder or possibly a redemptive tale about being hunted by a pack of murderous dogs. Probably both. It needs a heavy rewrite, again after the crit group pointed out a few logical flaws and the fact that the protagonist is relentlessly unlikeable. Oops.

Breakdown is about a young man about to strike out on his own and make a life for himself and making the fatal error of allowing his best friend to see him off. I’ve written about half of it and I’m still not sure if I should ditch the pent-up melodrama and rising malevolence in favour of making it more broadly comedic. I’m tending towards the latter, if only because I really don’t attempt humourous writing often enough and i do feel as though it’s something I ought to be better at.

Lighthouse is still in vague outline, but involves a lonely lighthouse keeper, a Government natural historian, ghost sailors and some unusual bones. This one came together in an unusual way, in that I used a writing prompt app on my phone (Story Dice) to generate some images, and then riffed on it until I had the skeleton (ahem) of a story. I’m excited to see whether so artificial a generative process will result in a decent yarn.

The Countess is also just an outline at the moment; a maybe-novella-length story inspired by a great photo of a stern-looking woman in thick Edwardian (I guess) clothing with a falcon on her wrist. Sadly I no longer have the photo – one of my CSFG colleagues brought it along for a talk on using Pinterest for arranging photo references – but the story has moved away from its point of inspiration anyway. It began with a lofty premise about obligation, revenge and abusive exploitation of family but it will likely descend into adventurous escapades, romantic hijinks and possible a touch of political satire if it fits. Oh and there’s a really old, very nasty wizard in it.

Colony Ship (which isn’t even its real working title, but I’m keeping this one to myself for the moment) is a three-book possibly-YA science fiction series about the citizens of a generation ship (a large colony ship that will take hundreds of years and multiple generations to reach its destination) who crash on an uncharted world and need to overcome strict social conditioning to survive. (It’s more action-oriented than that makes it sound). I’ve outlined the first novel (though there’s more work to do there) and will continue to enhance and hone the outline until I either have nothing else on my plate or I decide I’ve had enough of short stories for the time being. My goal with that one is to write the first draft as quickly as possible, which means that I’ll need to have it pretty well worked out before I start.


So apart from all that, I’m working my way slowly through a manuscript of Doctor Clam’s (nearly there), continue to work towards my goal of completing at least ten short stories in 2014 [3] and at some point I need to come back and re-outline Miss Coles’ Arrangements and have another go at that. (Two unsatisfactory drafts down, X to go). I would also like to sell some stories and see my name on a printed page somewhere, but eh, that’s something I don;t have any real control over (other than submitting often, which I do).

You? What have you got going on?


[1] You may be utterly stunned to learn that I am not leadership material. I do, however, rank off the charts on the “Trusted Right-hand Man” axis.

[2] Is that the word for a single piece made of seven separate parts? No? Well it was either that or make a D&D joke about the Rod of Seven Parts, and frankly I couldn’t see how to keep that one G-rated.

[3] The finished count so far is two, with another two in first draft. I have a secondary goal from now on of writing pieces that are shorter than 6000 words, unless they are designed from the outset as novellas or novellettes.


  1. a few logical flaws and the fact that the protagonist is relentlessly unlikeable … what, like “Harry Potter”? Should do well then!;)

    You? What have you got going on? Mostly feeling melancholy and exhausted. I did actually finish a novel-length thing earlier this year which we are slowly serialising on fanfiction.net. And I have but five more pieces to go on the third part of that manuscript of which you have spoken, but I foolishly resolved that one of them would be at least 1000 lines of rhyming couplets. So I may be some time.

    Comment by Dr Clam — July 8, 2014 @ 9:10 am

  2. What have i got going on? Assuming you are talking about writing, I’m in the creative editing phase of a students journal submission and planning a poster on microscopy, which should be fun….oh, you meant fiction. Hmm..um..I havent written any since high school I think, unless I wrote something I can’t remember during uni. Does planning an RPG count?

    I’m planning to do some fiction writing the next time I end up stuck in a hospital bed for a month or more. It seems to me that that would be the best use of my time under such a scenario (which has never happened and I’m hoping never does). I’ve made a note that if it does happen, I must start poste haste to most efficiently produce something.

    Comment by Jenny — July 8, 2014 @ 4:02 pm

  3. Clam: Think more along the lines of Harry Potter if Crabbe and Goyle were the protagonists. (And I’m happy to send it to you in its unpolished form so you can see for yourself if you want).

    Why melancholy? Is it to do with writing or just part of the general malaise of the social order? I was just reading an interesting book on open, self-directed learning in education and business that made me think of you (no idea what you might think of it, but I’ll chuck up some comments on Goodreads in the next day or two. Short review: I found it interesting but am pessimistic about the likelihood of implementation).

    Take your time on the 99 Cities thing – I’m working my way through the second part but it is slow going – it demands an order of magnitude more attention than I usually give to writing (I know, I know). I am provisionally looking forward to the epic poem, though 🙂

    Oh, and where on fanfiction.net? SMS me if you prefer.

    Jenny: I love that you have concrete plans in place for when you are hospitalised. That speaks to the business continuity planner in me 🙂 However, I will certainly accept editing and poster design as commendable projects.

    Comment by Lexifab — July 8, 2014 @ 8:18 pm

  4. At the moment my only writing is arguing with winstoninabox regarding adversity and atheism. Also still a little bit on my blog in regards to,comets. I am writing a lot of emails to prospective clients so I can finance my business’s future with deposits for big orders from customers. All of it feels hard, and I cannot possibly contemplate writing fiction.

    Comment by Marco — July 8, 2014 @ 10:02 pm

  5. Marco: arguing metaphysics with Winston counts. As do all those blog posts which I am now going through.

    Er, you do realise at least one of those comet entries is straight-up science fiction, right? Albeit a little light on story, it’s still conjecture about human action and scientific developments and their possible implications. That’s pretty much one of the things that SF is known for 🙂

    Comment by Lexifab — July 8, 2014 @ 11:41 pm

  6. Also good luck with the business side of things. I honestly feel for anyone running a small business these days.

    Comment by Lexifab — July 8, 2014 @ 11:41 pm

  7. That’s true about the SF thing. It was an attempt to portray my views on comets as a kind of predictive science fiction. I think it is a certainty that there is life and liquid water in comets. Intelligent life is a bit slippery. I believe all life to be “intelligent” , so it comes down to what we can work out that it is actually doing on the comet. Even when the SF is what I believe to be true, it has been a struggle to write it.

    Comment by Marco — July 9, 2014 @ 7:27 am

  8. I would definitely be in on an anthology of short stories based on Marco’s theories. This would also help you to get to your decagoal[1], Lexifab, methinks?

    And are you planning an RPG, Jenny? *looks hopeful*

    Hang on – arguing with winstoninabox? *checks* Woot, ‘vex cathedra’ is back!

    I would like to see the unpolished Lost Dogs, yes please. And the finished thing is ‘Bride of Tash’ – since nobody actually told me *not* to write it. We are serialising it on our own website as well. As for the melancholy, probably I am mostly just fighting a cold, but I also am feeling more than usually isolated from the idea-space of my contemporaries. Two more causes are addressed in my two most recent blog posts…

    [1] Brought to you by the makers of ‘septych’

    Comment by Dr Clam — July 9, 2014 @ 9:05 am

  9. Yes – I would love to see someone take that stub of my science fiction entry and make it in to an intelligible SF short story. The whole point of it was to explain my predictions eloquently *before* they are discovered to be true. Not much point waiting until after the fact and saying “I predicted that!”

    Comment by Marco — July 9, 2014 @ 1:20 pm

  10. So, when can we expect the August Edition? 🙂

    Comment by Dr Clam — August 13, 2014 @ 5:06 pm

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