Friday, 25 March 2011

Talking to myself

Indeed I am. Over and over and over.

As I have said before, I am now on the infamous reading aloud stage and I feel that I have so far been very productive. I am currently on page 151 of 963 (15.7%) and that's taken a little over 3 weeks. It has to be taken into consideration, however, that I've had the past week off and this has boosted productivity, somewhat. It's a long process but the result is worth the effort as what has come out of the other side is a leaner, fitter story, losing some of the unnecessary descriptions that seemed so important when I wrote it.

On another note, Earworm Turns was turned down by Albedo One and has now gone to a blogzine called Un:Bound and Kids has been taken by Bete Noire Magazine for a reprint. Huzzah!

Other than that, little to report.

Books read since we last spoke:

I finished Name of the Wind, which was fun.

Traction City - was very short and only took me a day, written for WBD and therefore slower readers which took some of the fun out of it and all in all was not really what I'd hoped for. I was expecting something a little more Noir. Roll on Scrivener's Moon.

The Ask and The Answer - What can I say other than this was brilliant. Patrick Ness has taken quite a difficult concept (pretty much everyone's psychic) and managed to make a clever story that keeps you guessing. You think the concept would grind everything to a halt since the villains know the protagonist's every plan and secret as soon as he thinks it but no, he keeps the story at a brisk pace, all written in the main character's semi-literate patois. I'll say it again, this is brilliant.
Fevre Dream - a great vampire story by George R.R. Martin. Good characters and brilliant descriptions. Every line he writes speaks of the setting (1850s Louisiana). Not as great as Ice & Fire, but then what is? Getting completely over-excited about the TV series and announcement that A Dance with Dragons will be hitting shelves in July.

Life - Keith Richards' autobiography. I don't normally read biographies but I'd heard so much praise for this one and (admittedly) knew little about Rolling Stones that I thought I'd give it a go. I found the beginning very enjoyable how he and the band got together, his passion for music and learning to play things by ear. You remember that behind all the drugs and the stories here is a very intelligent, articulate man who loves his medium. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The second half isn't so much fun as it becomes more a list of tours undertaken and famous musicians played with.

And I am currently reading Monsters of Men, the third of the trilogy after The Ask and The Answer and Knife of Never Letting Go. About 200 pages in and it shows every sign of being just as good as its predecessors.

I've also read a few comics. Morning Glories has got off to a good start, filling the reader with questions which will hopefully start being answered and not succumb to Lost-syndrome.

Crossed is another creation of Garth Ennis. It's his usual stuff, harrowing and sick, and made me feel unclean reading it. I'm glad its over. Kinda good, though.

And I have bought the third installment of The Unwritten by, my hero, Mike Carey. This is no doubt my favourite comic of the past couple of years. Nuff said.


It's time to get back to talking aloud.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

In Pursuit of Perfection

Yesterday, I finished the plot draft of Part 3. This means that in theory I should be pleased with how the entire story fits together and every character's place in it. And you know what? I think I am. I have my doubts, of course, but writers always have doubts. There are definitely things I want to change but none of them seem major and will simply serve to make the story better in a few subtle ways.

I'm very aware that I could go on changing and editing this story forever, ideas can evolve and change just as I change and evolve. I'm not the same person who started writing this thing all those years ago. But there comes a time where I know I'm going to have to put this one aside and send it out into the world and hope someone likes it.

Anyway, so I'm happy with the story but what troubles me at the moment are the words. This happens with every story I write as I near completion, I begin to loathe the words I've used so that means it's time to start printing it out and reading it aloud. Since the story is 286,000 words long and 963 pages this might mean that it's going to take a while but I'd hope to be done by the end of the year and hopefully have the whole thing finished to my 'satisfaction' maybe this time next year.

Here's hoping.

Since my last blog I have read many books. Last Light and its sequel Afterlight by Alex Scarrow were both enjoyable 'what-if-the-oil-ran-out' post-apocalyptic stories but were also quite scary as the crisis was quite believable. My only conclusion to how to survive such an event is to immediately firebomb the chavs who live across the road the moment I even hear the words 'peak oil' on the news to save us all from grief later on.

There was The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West which had some great lines and observations in it.

And I am currently reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss as it seems to be a book everyone is getting excited about as its sequel The Wise Man's Fear hit the shelves yesterday.

On a final note, I heard a great radio play recently about Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder and their struggle to write Double Indemnity. At one point Raymond (played by Patrick Stewart) said 'Every moment of writing is agony'. Sometimes I think I know what he means but I wouldn't give it up for the world.

Right, back to that pursuit.

Thanks for reading.