Thursday, April 24. 2008
I've now reached the 'Aha, so it is SF after all' stage of Consorts of Heaven. Actually I'm hoping the reader will have spotted it's SF long before this, even if the truth still isn't yet obvious to most of the characters.
Although I am an SF writer (despite being dubbed one of the 'Three Princesses of Fantasy' by a fellow Gollancz author in his blog - I think he meant it as a compliment), I admit my technology does tend to wander over the Clarke horizon when I'm not looking. I'm less interested in why a bit of tech works than I am in why it exists in the first place. The shiny stuff is there to serve the story - and characters - not vice-versa.
The current tech of interest in CoH is that used to lock and unlock doors. Given that most of the doors the characters have so-far encountered have been of the wood-with-optional-bar variety, this is quite a big deal. It becomes an even bigger deal than they first thought after someone rather foolishly destroys a hi-tech lock.
Writing the current section has been challenging but fun; I started in the viewpoint of a lo-tech character who is observing this strange shiny beepy stuff, though now I'm in the viewpoint of the only character who does understand tech, and he's got a rather different take on things. It's made me realise how careful I have to be in my word choices; though a lo-tech character won't have a name for a piece of hi-tech, I need to describe it in such a way that the reader can work out what I'm on about.
I'm hoping to finish the book by next weekend, during my annual trip to Portmeirion, though this means that my 'holiday' will actually involve a lot of hard work. But then, writing is the kind of hard work I'm always happy to do. Given the lack of internet access (good in some ways), and the need to press on and get to the end, it may be a while before I next post to this blog.
Thursday, April 17. 2008
I've been about three quarters of the way through the 'Consorts' rewrites all this week. That's not to say I haven't been working hard - I've (re)written the best part of four chapters over the last five days. However, I'm now reaching some of the more hastily written sections, which I've had to re-think drastically. As a result, I've been deleting large chunks, and moving larger ones - and I ask myself: how on earth did writers manage before cut and paste?
Despite my radical re-structuring, the overall length of the novel remains pretty much unchanged, hovering at just under 120K - that's 20K longer than contracted for, but I'll leave it to my agent and editor to decide what gets cut, as I'm too close to the story.
The real world continues to suck, as a result of which I'm planning a (possibly ill-advised, and certainly barely affordable) trip up to t'Smoke to party until I drop at an underground dance club. As a result, I'm not expecting to get much work done this weekend.
Friday, April 11. 2008
I've got to a (relatively) easy bit in 'Consorts'. Stuff is happening and the characters are reacting - there's not many ways things can go. As a result, I've not done much actual re-writing, more just tightening things up. By next week they'll be making rods for their own backs again, which is more work for me as well.
Outside t'garret, it's been a pants week. I've been in intermitent pain owing to a minor op that went wrong. And in the wider world, the new tax year, with the inevitable arrival of my self-assessment, is never a cause for joy. This year is even less pleasant, as the abolition of the 10% tax band means out 2 x low-income household is now poorer than ever.
And it gets worse. Both Beloved and I work part-time at a local engineering firm. It's a small company founded by a husband and wife nearly thirty years ago. With their sixtieth birthdays looming, I had suspected there might be changes ahead, but we were both pretty shocked to discover, on Monday afternoon, that they had sold the company to a multinational rival. We've been assured our jobs are safe, but the next few months are likely to be very stressful.
Good job I've got fictional worlds to retreat too, say I.
Saturday, April 5. 2008
I got the page proofs for 'Principles of Angels' back to Gollancz in time, despite the best efforts of the Royal Mail. (Note to lazy eejit in central London sorting office: your cunning plan to claim that the recipient of the Special Delivery 'before 1pm' was out in order to save actually delivering the parcel only works when the recipient doesn't work in a thirty story office block with 24 by 7 reception; my editor will confirm that the entire staff of the Orion Publishing Group were not all at lunch at 13:43 on Monday, so yes, there was someone to sign for the proofs)
I've integrated the experience of being hypnotised (by fellow Gollancz author John Meaney) into 'Consorts of Heaven' (an amnesiac character allows himself to hypnotised in order to try and get his memory back, with interesting consequences). I'm now on chapter 20 out of 35 of this draft, making me, um, four sevenths of the way through on page count. However, our heroes have now completed the 'perils of the road, memory confusion and sexual misunderstandings' part of plot, and are about to be sucked into the 'oh shit, so that's what's really going on!' section. From here on in, things should speed up.
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Consorts of Heaven
"A potential star in the making" SF Crowsnest