Some Things I’d Like to Do
The end of the year is not a bad time to think about some of the things one would like to try one’s hand at moving forward. And to that end, here are some things I’ve been thinking about doing at some point in the future. Note that this is not a list of things I am making a resolution to do, or things I necessarily have planned to do in the next year (and yes, I have things planned for the next year). It’s just a list of stuff that I’d like to get around to before I, you know, am hit by a bus and/or get bored with creating stuff and just pack it all in to do nothing but watch movies on Netflix for the rest of my life.
In no particular order:
1. Write a romantic comedy. Because I like romantic comedies; probably my favorite movie of all time is The Philadelphia Story, which is a romantic comedy, and that’s followed closely by Tootsie, which is also a romantic comedy, with cross dressing. The best romantic comedies have a wit and crackle to their dialogue that I love; it’s people sizing each other up as people and then falling in love (or back in love, as the plot may require). It seems like something that wouldn’t be entirely outside my range of writing competence, given how I write characters and dialogue. So it’s very high on my list of things to try.
Somewhat related to this:
2. Write a script. One of the reasons I was so delighted to be able to work on Stargate: Universe for the last two years is that in addition to everything else it was, it was a screen writing school for me. I was paid to look at scripts, see how they work and how they function, and learn about the form and its uses. Before I started working on SG:U I would have been totally at a loss on how to begin writing a script. Today, I’m not going to claim that any script I would write would be good, but at the very least it would recognizably be a script.
In the case of writing a script I can see myself doing what I did when I first tried writing a novel, which is to do a “practice” one first — just thinking up some story I’m not hugely mentally invested and then going off and writing and not worrying if it’s worth reading by anyone else, but rather just doing it to learn what I need to do better the next time. It worked reasonably well with the novels. I don’t imagine script writing would become anything more than a sideline to what I do — the barrier to getting a screenplay produced is massively higher than it is for publishing a novel — but it would still be fun to try it and see what I think of the form. Thanks, SG:U.
3. Put together some more music. This would definitely be a hobby-level sort of thing. But you know what? I enjoyed putting together Music for Headphones back in the day, simply because it was enjoyable to do, and also because it gave me a no-pressure creative outlet. No one expects me to make music worth listening to, or worth buying, so if I never do there’s no problem there. I’m a big believer in monetizing one’s enthusiasms — it’s how I’ve made a living for as long as I’ve made a living — but somewhere along the way I learned that you don’t have to make an attempt to monetize everything you like to do. Sometimes you just do it because you like it and that’s that.
4. Write more non-fiction. If one studies my bibliography, one sees that I’ve written nearly as many non-fiction books as novels, although of course recently it’s been the fiction that’s gotten the most attention, and the last two non-fiction books (notwithstanding a second edition of my astronomy book) were compilations of entries here. I’d like to write another purpose-built non-fiction book (i.e., one with its own idea, with contents not previously published elsewhere) as much to keep that part of my brain engaged as anything else. This, at least, is something I know I can do, since I’ve done it before.
5. Take another stab at a YA novel. A couple of years ago I spent a fair amount of time developing a YA series for a publisher only to have the project fall apart in the contract negotiation phase of things. This was a frustrating development, as you might imagine, especially since I think that project was in fact very cool (the project fell apart over the money, not the idea). Since that time it’s been on the back burner simply because I’ve had other things to work on, but I think at some point in the near future I may put that project or another YA idea out on the market and see what it does. YA has some impressive writers in it, and it would be nice to have something of mine along their works.
So those are some of the things I’m thinking about doing. Will any of them come to pass? We’ll see. As I said, no timetable on these. They’ll happen or they won’t. But I think I’d enjoy each.