Long ago, at least as time is measured in the blogosphere, I posted on the topic of unpublished works and the number of unpublished novels many well-known writers had piled up before they published their debut novel.
In the world of screenwriting, your unsold screenplays are said to be sitting in "your trunk," and are considered to be a possible resource. Writers, a gloomier lot, tend to be a little ashamed of their unpublished novels, and often refer to the place they are stored as a "drawer," which has the virtue of sounding less roomy.
[n.b. In my earlier post, Cate Sweeney wrote to tell me that in Britain "trunks" tended to refer to male swimwear. We use the word in that sense too, though it's a bit dated, but by "What's in your trunk?" folks in Hollywood mean one of those old-fashioned steamer trunks--a giant piece of luggage usually stored in an attic. They aren't really asking what you have in your swimsuit. Or up your elephant's nose.
On the other hand, you can't really solve the problem by instead asking, "What's in your drawers?" Unsold writing is apparently always stored somewhere synonymous with points south of your navel. Go figure.]
In any case, in that post I asked other writers to let on what they had in the way of unpublished works. Matt and Aliya confessed to a number of novels in the drawer. (Lucy McCarraher said her MNW debut was in fact her first novel!)
I was reminded of this when reading one of Emma Darwin's posts some time back, where she mentioned she had completed 8 1/2 novels (very Fellini of her). Since she's published one and has another in the pipeline, I'm wondering where the other 6 1/2 reside and what her intentions are.
In the interests of full disclosure, my novels (in order of composition) and their current status:
Things Unseen: Needs revision, but probably publishable some day. Suffers from 1) Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink first-novel syndrome, as well as 2) Writing-every-day-instead-of-stopping-to-think syndrome.
Tomorrowville: Coming next year. Probably.
A Map of the Edge: Story line has a broken spine. Needs a major overhaul.
Shock and Awe: Published.
Earthly Vessels: Needs a little work. Might need an agent, but I'm not in the mood to look for one.
Work-In-Progress #1: Half finished. (What I'm planning on sending to MNW next.)
Work-In-Progress #2: Also half finished, and just sitting there.
Work-In-Progress #3: One-quarter finished, and has been sitting there for quite some time. (Of course, since I'm in the middle of W-I-P #1, I'm naturally having exciting ideas about #2 and #3. The grass is always greener, etc...)
Now my question to all: What unpublished works do you have? Are you revising them, or are they abandoned? Do you like 'em, hate 'em...?
I realize those are big and rather personal questions. Feel free to answer on your own blog, of course.
Or feel free to tell me it's none of my damned business.