Sunday, 26 June 2011

Back on Track

I hope I'm not being premature with this but I'm feeling back on track with the novel.

There came a point where I was feeling that all I was doing was hitting my head against a brick wall. Everything I read I thought inferior and needed a rewrite and then those new attempts were equally bad. But I knew deep down that there was nothing wrong with any of it. Sure, there were a couple of sentences here and there that could be taken out, a phrasing a little clumsy but overall the writing did what was needed: It told the story. The problem was originating from my outlook and emotional state and from nothing else.

Admittedly, I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to finish these novels. I've been working on them a long time and I'm more than eager to send them out into the world and see what happens. But they're just not ready yet. A few more months and they will be but I'm not about to throw all this hard work away just because I got impatient near the end.

But sometimes I'm trying so hard to write these beautiful sentences that I'm neglecting their main purpose which is to communicate the story from the page right into people's heads with as little effort as possible. Read George Pelecanos or Elmore Leonard. Their writing styles are very stripped down but they always get the point across, making it as simple as possible to form that image in your head that makes a good story enjoyable.

So I managed to uncurl my fingers off the manuscript this month and wrote the first draft of a short story called Tribes which I'll go back to and fix at a later date.

At present, I'm back on the novel and feeling a lot more peaceful about it and as a result those same words I was gritting my teeth over in May are looking mighty fine. I should hopefully have Part One done and dusted by the end of next week. It's just the final scene that needs a tweak. Then I'll correct some more scenes in the first half of Part Two before tackling the second half.

Right. So what have I been reading? I've read a few bad books this month so I'll just do the highlights.

Scrivener's Moon - Philip Reeve's new WOME book. I have to say that this is probably the best of the Fever Crumb books so far. Some great imagery and a great story. I really enjoyed this one.

Stories - a collection of short stories with some top writers. This was my first time reading anything by Joanne Harris, Jodi Picoult and Joe R. Lansdale. They were all brilliant and I will definitely read them again. It's satisfying to be entertained by pro writers at the top of their game.

The Hot Kid - currently reading this Elmore Leonard, the first thing of his I've ever read. It is very much like the TV show Justified (or rather the TV show is like this book) and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

I've also heard that there are going to be two great-sounding TV shows in the making that I'll have to add to my list of things to look out for.

Apparently, David S. Goyer is looking to do a show based on 100 Bullets, possibly my favourite comic and Michael Chabon is doing a show for HBO called Hobgoblins, which is a naff title but it has an excellent premise. Check it out.

And that's it from me.

Thanks for reading.

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