Or it’s time for some self-promotion.
Or, no longer having my number one fan, it’s time to be my own #1 fan.
1. A Sane Woman (started in 1990, finished in 2004). I still like it, though there are things I’d do a little differently if I was writing it today. The characters are good (some are very good, and I’m still writing about them today), and the story is solid. The guy writing it just had a few things to learn, even though he’d already been writing for 20 years when he started it.
It’s also available in a nice hard copy edition.
2. U-town (started in 1992, finished in 2005). When you write a serial novel, over years, completely by the seat of your pants, you don’t end up with a model of structure, but you can go to some interesting places — places you might not be able to get to any other way. Gritty urban magical realism — can’t beat it.
I rewrote it as a conventional novel once, but it wasn’t anywhere near as much fun.
3. In working on my third novel, I decided that Jan Sleet, famous amateur detective and intrepid gal reporter, deserved to have, and would enjoy being in, a conventional detective story. So, I wrote “The Apartment Mystery.”
Which led to writing a series of detective stories — The Jan Sleet Mysteries — and the inevitable, if somewhat belated, realization, that I am a mystery writer. So, “The Apartment Mystery” was kind of a turning point, even though it didn’t up being in the collection.
The stories since, no matter what other genres they’ve dipped into, have all been structurally mystery stories. Which was probably the biggest factor in the apparently-permanent shelving of my third novel, since it was not a mystery story. (U-town is over 170,000 words, and it contains many things, but one of those things is a murder mystery.)
Next time: more stories that aren’t as long as novels.