Sunday, June 25, 2006

Taking stock

I've spent far too much time this weekend in front of my computer(s) (ss) (sss) -- yes that's actually three computers that I use regularly, here at home. One of them is my shiny new MacBook, which is turning out to be one of the most pleasurable (if relatively expensive) purchases I've made in several years. But nevertheless my eyes have been fixed on one bright rectangle or another all weekend (and still are, as I type this).

Have I been wasting my time? I don't think so, but I did have some other stuff to do, which for one reason or another has proved not so easily doable, and I've ended up in front of the screen(s) again. The problem with computers is that they are so capable. You can do so much diverse stuff with them, it's sometimes hard to knuckle down and do the stuff you should be doing.

Such as writing.

I have a novel in progress, which I'm writing in a decidedly episodic manner. I don't have a plot, only a collection of characters plus a series of cool events that I want to incorporate into the narrative, so I'm writing several disconnected passages featuring one or more of the characters, hoping that I'll be able to pull it all together into a coherent and logical form later on. As a novice writer I believe this is a perfectly acceptable way to proceed. If there's one thing I've learned from reading a ton of writing-advice books, it's that there's no single correct way of writing fiction -- there are as many correct ways as there are successful authors.

My first novel, soon to be podcasted, was originally intended to be a series of linked short stories, the first of which I hoped to sell to a magazine and get a captive audience for the subsequent instalments. Eventually, after reading Muriel Gray's excellent first novel The Trickster, I decided to make it a novel from the outset, ditching the single-viewpoint perspective in favour of interwoven multiple viewpoints.

That novel (130,000 words) is finished, at least in a form that I'll be happy to release as a podcast, after spending more than two years messing about trying to interest agents, who seem to think it's acceptable to request three chapters and a synopsis and then sit on them for six months, only to reject them with an inane comment about 'not doing science fiction' -- despite my query letter being completely specific about the genre.

I didn't sit idle, in fiction-writing terms, after I completed the rewrites of my first novel. I now have 75,000 words (about three-quarters complete) of another novel written with a far more rigid structure -- alternate chapters told from alternate viewpoints. But that strict rigidity has been difficult, and I've yet to convince myself that it will work. Consequently I've reached a point when I'd rather be writing something else -- so that's what I'm doing.

The podcast novel will be in addition to The Rev Up Review, which even now is overdue for a new edition, but I'm determined that recording weekly episodes of the novel will not affect the (ir)regularity of The Rev Up Review. In fact, it's my intention that RUR will be a major asset in the promotion of the podcast novel.

Sometimes it worries me that I don't get RUR out as often as some other podcasters produce their shows, that I might be in danger of podfading. But I do it for fun, and to promote my writing, which I also do for fun. If it wasn't fun, I wouldn't do it.

And as far as this blog goes, I'll write it when I feel like it (such as, two posts in as many days, even after a year's break...).

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