I recently signed the contracts for Something Coming Through
, and am nearing the end of the third draft. When it's published, it will be my twentieth novel. Which is some kind of achievement, I guess. Here are a few that didn't get finished, for various reasons. Every novelist will have similar stories of books scuttled because of bad timing, bad luck, or the realisation that there was a better novel to be written. On the whole, I think I've gotten off lightly.
Untitled sequel to Eternal Light
- which would have been my fourth novel, until I realised, after writing a synopsis and a couple of chapters, that I had nothing useful to add to what had already been published. So I wrote something completely different - Red Dust
, Tibetan cowboys on Mars - instead.
- again, a synopis and a few chapters were written for this sequel to my Renaissance steampunk novel Pasquale's Angel
, but I'd just changed publishers and couldn't get the rights back for Pasquale's Angel
, so that, as they say, was that.
- a science fiction novel that was halfway through the first draft when my publishers decided they had no enthusiasm for publishing science fiction any more.
Gone Dead Train
and Bad Genes
. Two thrillers. Gone Dead Train
was a sequel to my surveillance thriller Whole Wide World
, but I moved publishers (again) and had the same problem as with Pasquale's America
. Bad Genes
(terrible title) was a new direction that I gave up while halfway into the first draft when a publishing deal fell through. Hey ho.
was going to be the sequel to my MMORPG thriller Players
, turned down by my then publisher.
- an idea about a murder mystery set in a hyperpopulated London that never got further than a synopsis, because I decided to write The Quiet War
instead. Good move.
- I've written several stories about Mr Carlyle, a long-lived private investigator with a great deal of knowledge about 'the matter of the dead'; I wrote a very detailed chapter-by-chapter synopsis for an American publishing deal that fell through when the enthusiastic editor lost his job because of bizarre publishing nonsense. The only orphan on this list I might return to, one day.