After the rather heavy output of recent months, my writing daemon decided to take a break. Without warning.
I don’t begrudge the break, but it might have been nice to know the blighter was about to do it so I could plan to fill my day with other things… still, it was more a surprise it had taken so long in coming!
He flitted off to wherever writing daemons go when not muse-ing and I sat around wondering how to spend all the extra free time. Then… he came back.
This may be the shortest break he’s ever taken.
Since his return we’ve been working on novella 3 of the series and it’s… well, it’s not exactly been flowing. This had made me think some more time off would be a good idea ,until found the source of our problem. The subplot is apparently turning into something mega.
Of course this happens from time-to-time and usually indicates that the subplot is in some way more interesting than the chosen main plot. I don’t think that’s so here… we will see.
To send off 2019 in good fashion, it’s entirely possible that I will be writing at midnight tonight as opposed to my usual themed movie marathon. Though, it’s also possible I’ll be asleep. Feels like one of those years where the decision won’t be made until much later in the day!
For all my writer-peeps out there – I hope 2020 is a productive year for you. For all my non-writer-peeps – I hope yours is satisfying in some relevant way. And, of course, a safe and happy one for all!!
After completing the draft of Indestructible in November, I’ve been focussed on other things, but due to an offer from a friend to read it, I needed to tidy up my 1st draft a little. I re-acquainted myself with it, did a few edits and sent it off.
This project is noir, and it was always my intention to write the draft as it came and then “noir it up” in 2nd draft. After reading it through, though, I wondered if it was already noir enough. As my reader is a fan of noir, I guess he’ll tell me his view, but I realised I didn’t know what the definition of noir was!
Funny how you can know something when you see it, but not be able to describe it succinctly.
Apparently the definition is: a genre of crime fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity. So, how does Indestructible fare with all of that? Crime – tick. Cynicism – tick. Fatalism – tick. Moral ambiguity – tick. I think it’s doing okay!
For a few weeks now, whenever I’ve taken a break from writing/editing, I’ve been playing around with figures of rhetoric. This is a) because I have a cool book on them and b) because I’m looking for ways to play with language in one of newer novels.
The thing is that I write plain, sparse prose. That’s my natural style for fiction and I think it generally suits the type of sci-fi I’ve been writing. Just occasionally though, I play with dialogue. Usually because it makes no sense to me that characters from different planets all speak the same way. Sometimes I keep it subtle – like a character who never uses contractions – and sometimes I go the full Yoda!
But I’ve used up most of the simple approaches over my existing short stories and novels. So, now, I’m looking for new patterns that work in English to try out, which leads back to rhetoric.
The Ancient Greeks spent a lot of time sitting around thinking about language. They broke it down into all sorts of patterns that have different strengths and weaknesses and put a name to each one. Thus the title of this post, because honestly the names of the figures of rhetoric are almost harder to wrap my head around than the definitions!
You can tell I didn’t have a ‘classical education’.
My favourite for thinking “Yep, because that was totally obvious” is the pronunciation of zeugma (zyoog-ma) and for thinking “Stop with the syllables” was definitely epanalepsis.
Aside from struggling to pronounce and remember the names, the thing I’ve realised about many figures of rhetoric is that they work really well for applications where language is heightened, like poetry a speech, or types of theatre. They are a bit trickier to deploy in naturalistic fiction.
The draft of Blurty’s sister (sequel) is done. It’s rough and will need a bit of work to get it from draft zero to first draft, but that’s fine. Blurty was like that too.
For the observant bloggy reader, it will be clear why the extended “woot” in the header… yes, the completion of the Blurty Sister draft means I’ve written two novels this year! *Insert face of extreme happiness*
And I also completed my first screen play!
New trend? Once off? Who knows.
I did catch myself calculating what my writing capacity is like these days… that’s usually a sign that I want to keep up my momentum.
The obvious question is: what’s next? Well, I’m thinking I should return to the novellas. They’ve been languishing for a while due the protag in novella 3 and I having a debate about who he’s in love with. I may just have to give in and write it how the protag wants me to write it. Yup.
Of course next year, in theory, will be the-year-of-many-edits considering I now have three complete drafts that all need to head on to the next draft stage. In fact if you include novella 1 then that’s four…
I should stop thinking about that before I get scared and run away! Not that I don’t enjoy editing. It’s just that it’s sloooooow compared to writing fresh-y words. Mostly because you have to do it multiple times, and stop to get feedback.
Anyway, I’m giving my writing daemon permission to eat chocolate. I’m having some fireball bourbon to celebrate.
Blurty – which I am currently proofreading – was never intended to be part of a series. Now it is!
Or I should say, it’s on the way to being so, as I’m currently working away on a sequel. It’s probably more fun than it should be getting back into the world of Blurty and I gotta say, I’m enjoying it immensely.
After picking at a start, on and off for quite a while, the past month has seen work commence properly and we’re now at 10K. Writing daemon is feeling very pleased with himself.
It’s also the first time I’ve truly multi-project-ed for a while. Blurty’s Sister (as I’m going to refer to it) is running in parallel to continued work on Indestructible (as this year’s other new novel is called). I’m flipping between them effortlessly, which is nice.
Just to mix it up, I also re-read PAR again! Mind you that’s so a friend and I can project swap for some unusually early draft feedback. I do need to take out some notes-to-self from the text before I inflict it on someone else…
I have had a productive winter.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a few extra weeks off since my Wales trip and normally I buckle-down to the current WIP in these non-day-job periods. Not so much this time. Instead, my writing daemon has been doing disconnected scenes that belong to a bunch of different narratives… all in my head.
What I like about running scenes in my head in this way, is that it has a satisfying energy to it. Daemon flits between between genres and ideas that interest him, without the burden of having to write what comes before or after.
Yes I’m feeling guilty that the WIP isn’t getting much love, but I’ve learnt over the years that the daemon needs to stretch his wings and get a little crazy sometimes. Refresh and recharge moments!
And the WIP hasn’t been benched. It’s gotten a little bit of love. It also got given a name, finally! Its nickname, anyway, is “Indestructible”. Which makes perfect sense if you read the book, but I acknowledge probably seems a bit weird otherwise.
I think Indestructable is going to be hell to edit, but I’m enjoying the writing quite a lot.
I only realised today that I didn’t actually post about the most exciting writing thing for the start of the year… A new novel! Yes, I saw in the new year with a new novel sized idea.
It isn’t gushing like Blurty or PAR, but I’m doing that deliberately so I don’t aggravate my shoulder, which was bugging me at the end of 2018 a bit. Slowing myself doesn’t seem to be hurting the process – I’m nearly 27K in already!
Another sci-fi, but lower on the sci this time, it’s essentially a futuristic gangster story. Writing daemon is very pleased, and I’m having a lot of fun in my usual “pantser” fashion.
The other writing-y thing of recent weeks (in fact, in time to welcome the Year of the Pig) was that I re-read PAR after, what, 10 months maybe of drawer time? That was interesting. The early chapters are a bit sucky – “was I drunk when I wrote these sentences?”- but the rest was a blast to read! Given it’s due another two drafts before it’s done, I’m not at all unhappy with that.
Not that I’ll head back to PAR until the new project is well underway – maybe even at 1st draft – but it’s nice to think on it while I wait. Speaking of the new project… it needs a moniker. Can’t call it “new project” forever… hmm… the “not very sci-fi”… the “ganster-sci”… still working on it.