The Folder of Broken Dreams

Okay, perhaps the title oversells it, but on my computers for the last, what, twenty-five years, I’ve carried along and copied over the novels I have started but have not yet finished.

I went looking for a novel I’ve been conceptualizing, doodling on legal pads, and, I thought, plinking on keys in a word processor for a couple of years now, off and on.

It wasn’t in my novels folder.

Instead, as I mentioned, a collection of mostly incomplete stunted attempts at novel writing, including:

  • Canny, Awake!, a science fiction novel based on my poem “Canny” which appeared in There Will Be War Volume X. File date 11/2/2015. One sentence long, but without the period at the end.
  • Down At Joe Jack’s, my post-collegiate “What am I going to do now?” novel. File date 8/24/2003. 7962 words.
  • The Flight of Ban Laoklan, a fantasy novel I started in college. File date 6/17/2001. 427 words. It has stray formatting marks in the title, probably because the file originated in LotusWorks on a 286. How old of a computer is that? We don’t even know what chips we have in our computers today.
  • The Gospel of John Methodis, a kind of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler for adults. In the middle to late 1990s, I volunteered with a local theatre company, acting as their house manager, stage manager, or concession manager for various productions, and the performances often took place in an old Methodist church in a neighborhood where we had to lock the doors after the curtain went up. This novel was set in that church which has since been razed for upscale housing. File date 2/6/2007. 290 words.
  • Hellsgate Real Estate is more of an idea than a started novel; the only file in the folder is notes.docx. File date 7/12/2016.
  • John Donnelly’s Gold, the only published novel in the bunch (available on Amazon and other places).
  • Kinslayer, a fantasy novel. Features chapters with titles as does John Donnelly’s Gold, a device that helps me a bit in outlining the story. File date 6/7/2001. 5680 words.
  • Madame President, a sequel to Marquette Minus One below. Started in college, natch. File date 6/7/2001. 5307 words.
  • Marquette Minus One, a crime fiction novel I wrote in college, completing it circa 1993. This is the book I mentioned in the review for Killing Floor featuring the large ex-military protagonist. Haven’t considered self-publishing it because it’s not that good. File date 6/7/2001. 53190 words.
  • The Search for the Silverblade, a fantasy novel that, quite honestly, I don’t remember even though I banged out 6517 words on it. It starts with a long legend-like poem. File date 6/7/2001.
  • Second Coming, a fantasy novel. Features a prelude that is almost a stand-alone short story. My beautiful wife has read the draft, and she still wants to know what happens next years later. Folder includes a spreadsheet that tracks my progress and includes a list of scenes upcoming. Last file date 11/23/2003. 13873 words.
  • Unsecured, a thriller novel featuring a blogger protagonist. The novel I would have been working on before John Donnelly’s Gold. Folder also features a spreadsheet to track status. File date 6/25/2005. 2465 words.

The date of April last year represents when I copied the directory over to my new PC. 6/7/2001 probably represents a similar move across PCs.

But I could not find The Saviors from Mars Deep, the tentatively titled latest attempt at a novel. As I was working on this post, it occurs to me it might be in the temporary writing folder on my (old) laptop. I hope so. If not, I wasn’t that far into it, so I won’t have lost much.

As I look over the history listed above, it looks as though I got thousands of words into projects before abandoning them because I got bored with them or something else came up, and I abandon novel projects with fewer words invested in them. Either I’m becoming more efficient, or I’ve become more busy. Or lazy.

So will I get to finishing these? Perhaps Second Coming since I have at least an audience of one hoping for it.

And perhaps I will find the existing tappings at The Saviors from Mars Deep and get a couple thousand words into it before abandoning it or several tens of thousands of words before publishing it.

Time will tell.

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