Here’s my dilemma. I’ve got three (possible four) solid novel ideas that I’ve been toying with over the last few weeks. As I’ve said, I don’t have writer’s block, writing is not the problem. It’s a matter of finding the right project. I’ve got roughly three and a half months left before the baby comes. That gives me time for most of a first draft and that’s about it. I don’t have time for experimentation and dallying around. But I don’t know which of these ideas should win out. It’s not a matter of solely writing for the market, but I need to figure out which of these ideas has the most potential for a solid opening for my novel career. So here we go:
1. RUINS OF DETROIT – A multi-viewpoint crime novel featuring a PI, a failed newspaper reporter/mystery writer, and an Internal Affairs detective learning the ropes all in the arena of Detroit politics and the sport of urban exploration. I imagined this as a moodier book but when I started writing, it turned out a bit lighter and breezier than I hoped. That’s not a bad thing though and a hallmark of my own style I think. This one has the most potential of all of them I think, but I’m not sure my meager plotting skills can handle something this complex.
2. MURDER BOY – An Elmore Leonard-type crime caper about two college kids who end up on a wild ride through the underside of Detroit when they try to kidnap a professor who has wronged them. Based on my THUGLIT story which will be reprinted in HARDCORE HARDBOILED later this month. This one also has a ton of potential and I think plays to my own personal strengths and could work well like a Scott Phillips, Victor Gischler, Sean Doolittle thing. But I don’t know what the market is for this sort of thing anymore. I know VINNIE’S HEAD from Marc Lecard did well last year.
The other two I think are the sketchy of the group and probably won’t make the cut. DICK AND PINKY is a romantic comedy about a blocked writer who crosses paths with a sexy and tough bounty hunter and tags along while she searches for a gangster and BROTHER FANTASTIC is about a flamboyant (and slightly shady) revival preacher who sidelines as a soldier of fortune to help fund his ministry.
As I’m writing this, I’m starting to think Number 2 is going to be it because it’s something I’ve never tried. I’m tried the whodunit type plots and it hasn’t worked out so well for me so maybe it’s time for something a little more loose and free.