Tuesday, June 29. 2010
The original plan was to be reaching the end of the first draft of Bringer of Light about now. That would leave me a month or so of 'fallow time' during which I'd revisit some short stories (and have a social life), ready to embark on the double cycle of rewrites (aka 'rinse and repeat') at a leisurely pace and in plenty of time for the November 30th delivery deadline.
As is often the case, Real Life, in this case the need to earn a crust between advances, has got in the way. As a result I'm about a month behind plan. I say 'about' because I don't set rigid writing deadlines: though writing certainly requires discipline, I've found that being too demanding on myself leads to guilt over not meeting self-imposed arbitrary targets and/or putting quantity over quality. It's all very well producing 10K of first draft in a week, but not so smart if 8K of those words end up getting cut from the final version.
So, though progress is slow, I'm looking on the bright side: the end result should hopefully require less rework.
Friday, June 25. 2010
The release date of the paperback of Consorts of Heaven has been delayed and will now be 29th July. This puts it only 10 weeks before the hardback and trade paperback of Guardians of Paradise hits the shops, on 16th September.
To allow for last-minute slippage and to co-ordinate with the local literary festival, the official launch/signing event for Guardians of Paradise will be on October 2nd . As is becoming traditional, this will be held at the Little Green Dragon Bookshop in Alton, from 2pm until we all go to the pub.
Sunday, June 20. 2010
That ideal world I referred to a while back would make the following tax deductible to help out us poor starving writers:
1. Chocolate. Because we need to encourage ourselves.
2. Massages. Because we spend a long time sitting in one (possibly uncomfortable) position while the words (hopefully) pour out.
3. Wine. See chocolate.
4. Pizza (when used as an aid to plotting). OK, that's probably just me.
5. Beloved (when I pick his brains). Yeah, that's definitely just me. But really, he should be.
It's been one of those busy yet quiet weeks in the garret, with little of import to report. However, apropos of last week's post, I will say that my so-far very limited sample of googled goodness implies that 'Guardians of Paradise' as a search phrase is going to be netting me a fair amount of eco-spam. Makes a change from god-spam I suppose.
Sunday, June 13. 2010
This week, I have mainly been proofreading. Specifically, checking the page proofs for Guardians of Paradise, which is due out in just over three months. Review copies should be ready to go out far sooner.
This means that the time has come to employ the marvels of t'internet to find out what, if anything, the (virtual) world has to say about my latest book. Or, to put it in language a geek might understand, to add the phrase 'Guardians of Paradise' to my 'Google Alerts'.
I already have alerts set up for 'Principles of Angels' and 'Consorts of Heaven', and some very interesting results they give. In addition to relevant reviews, articles and examples of my books being sold/resold there's an awful lot of non-relevant and often quite fringe religious stuff – mainly Christian for 'Principles of Angels' and Hindu for 'Consorts of Heaven'. I've also had: Mesopotamian spirituality, the Indian tourist board, Jack Russel breeding (no, I have no idea why either), King George III, ghost-hunting, Smallpox vaccine, past-life regression, Sandra Bullock, levitation, monoclonal anti-bodies, the American civil war and alchemy. Blimey.
I await with interest to see what 'Guardians of Paradise' will bring up....
Wednesday, June 9. 2010
I had intended to write about the 'two-thirds blues', that point in writing the first draft of a novel when the initial impetus is long gone and the end seems impossibly far away. However, my protracted writing wibble of the last few weeks means I'm over that hurdle now; I'm currently working on the climax of one plot thread, after which it needs to collide with the other plot thread, after which, um, some exciting events and startling revelations will occur, until we're all done.
Thanks to assorted Other Stuff, both writing-related and real-world, I don't currently have as much time as usual to write. However, in some ways this isn't such a bad thing. I've found that there's a kind of inverse law about writing fast-paced climactic scenes: if I write them in a crazy rush that mirrors the required result, then whilst the process might be fun, what I end up with isn't as good as if I take my time and consider all the permutations and possibilities. And then there's those 'exciting events and startling revelations' which need to happen later and which, in case you hadn't guessed, I'm still a bit hazy about. Having a lower daily word-count target gives me more time to work stuff out. At least that's the theory.
I have three main times when I work stuff out prior to writing it. There's plot pizza for the high-level stuff. There's plot walks for nuts and bolts and general problem solving. And there's the morning daydream, the time between waking up and getting up when I let my mind wander, and quite often find myself listening in on conversations between my characters, or watching detailed scenes unfold before my eyes.
So, when I woke up unfeasibly early this morning, I didn't try to get back to sleep. Instead I turned my subconscious over to the muse (pretentious? moi?). It even had a choice: wring more details out of that current climactic scene, or come up with some good ideas for the final denouement.
Either would have been fine. Instead, what did it do? It delivered up the opening lines of Queen of Nowhere, a book which currently consists of a title, a concept and the 300 word pitch I sold it on. According to my stated 'fractal quilting' method that opening shouldn't be arriving until I've got a lot more detail on the book. Looking at my schedule, I'd say some time around next Christmas.
As if the timing wasn't perplexing enough, the lines are written in the first person. I don't write fiction in the first person. OK, so I do write short stories in first, and yes, the story I used to work out what made the hero of Queen of Nowhere tick is first person. But a whole novel? Give me a break.
Sometimes the muse just pokes you with a sharp stick then sits back and laughs.
Friday, June 4. 2010
Firstly: the official launch/signing for Guardians of Paradise will be, as is becoming at traditional, at the Little Green Dragon Bookshop in Alton, Hampshire. The date will be Saturday October 2nd, which is actually a couple of weeks after the book hits the shops, but does coincide with the local literary festival. More details to follow nearer the time.
Secondly, just in case anyone thought I made him up, you can hear Beloved's side of it and see pictures of him in this article on the FanLit website. Oh, and win copies of my books too.
Finally, I am told, though I have yet to see for myself, that I am one of SFX's 'Hot 50' in the magazine's current issue. Who'da thought it?
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Consorts of Heaven
"A potential star in the making" SF Crowsnest