Sunday, August 31, 2008

My writing week (18)

Hi all,

Another week, another few thousand words. It's the start of spring and I have written every day this year so far, every day for two-thirds of a year, yaaa me. In the past three weeks I have picked up the word count as I started chapter fourteen, the chapter where everything changes.

I read a few more chapters of the novel I am critiquing. I've been reading it on and off for three months now and frankly, I would not be pleased with me taking so long if I was the author. If I am going to do this again, I think I will have to forget about reading any other fiction while doing it and just concentrate on it. Incidentally, apart from a few quibbles, the novel is better than a number of published novels I have read.

I have not read much of anything else, except a few articles on writing. In the AGE David Rakoff is quoted as saying, and I tend to agree, that writing is "like pulling teeth from my dick."

I read in the local Border Mail about a competition where people have three days to write a 150 page novel. I can't see how anyone could do that. Even with extensive planning, if I wrote for say eighteen hours a day for three days I reckon I would be lucky to finish 100 pages of utterly incomprehensible crap. Of course if you are writing a romance novel that might not matter.

I've spent a bit of time fixing a few problems with my webpage and then fixing the problems I created trying to fix the problems with my webpage, and then fixing the problems I created trying to fix the problems I created trying to fix the problems with my webpage. I think it works now though.

So where are all the writers from my masters and other writing courses? I can find no web presence for any of them except Chris Pavey. If they are serious about writing I would think they need to have a presence on the web. I would like to watch their careers unfold and I am sure it would spur me on if I saw one of them become successful.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

my writing week (17)

Hi all,

My eyes feel like they been nuked and have broken out in radiation sores. Now there's a pleasant image. Mentally and eyeballly I feel so tired, not so bad physically. Perhaps my eyes are suffering withdrawal symptoms after missing one of their thrice weekly dunkings in chlorine as I couldn't go swimming on the weekend due to the pool being closed for the Victorian short-course championships.

My writing started out in a rush last week, but petered out towards the end. Things just got in the way, as usual. I ended up writing just a few less words than the week before. I finished chapter 13. At the moment, I am not going back and editing chapters, as I am in a rush to get to the end now that it is in sight. If I was writing a screenplay I would be just about at the end of the second act.

I think I may have read a chapter of the novel I am critiquing, I am not sure, and I was too tired to read much of anything else.

There's always this week.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

My Writing Week (16)

Hi all,

I had the most productive week of writing since I completed my masters this week. Still less than half of what I am aiming for though. I finished chapter twelve and I am now 63,000 words into the novel. Sometime this week I aim to go through the outline and cut out anything that doesn't move the story foward. I figure if the characters behave themselves in the next chapter so the relationship seems to have finally reached some semblence of normalcy, I then can jump foward to the calalyst that is going to change that normalcy. I think I have about 40,000 words to go as a lot does have to happen before the story reaches its climax. That 40,000 words will be written much quicker than the first half of the novel.

I critiqued a story for critters, and I am finally making some headway into the novel I am critiquing. I am up to page 190 with 110 to go and so far the novel is as good or better than many of the published science-fiction novels I have read.

About the only thing not improving is my reading. Again, I was too tired last week to read much.

I have been putting together a ranked list of international science-fiction novels I have read. It's depressing to pick up a novel that I have read and have no idea what it is about. Other novels I remember for perhaps the wrong reasons, like the gratuitous homosexual sex in the novel "Stars in my Pockets Like Grains of Sands" by Samuel R. Delaney. I can't remember anything else about the story although I think it was a detective story. Hopefully I will blog the list this week.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

My writing week

Hi all,

There were a lot of articles on writing in last Saturday's Age and I enjoyed one that had comments from published authors aged in from the late teens to early seventies. The younger writers feel that a perception that they lack the wisdom of age is a problem, while the older writers feel like they are running out of time to write all the stories they want to. A couple of them like Robert Dessaux and Alex Miller didn't get their first novel published until they were into their fifties.

David Carroll, this years Miles Franklin award winner, says "books require long periods of substained intensity, five days a week...three or fours hours a day...over two to three years. Most of the authors stress that writing is hard work. Chloe Hopper says "I hadn't realised that each morning I'd wake to face a fresh mutiny; each chapter trying to overthrow me as the boat fills with water".

When I wasn't reading articles about writing, I did manage to write more than the previous week. I had a couple of sessions when the writing began to flow. Didn't read much though, too bloody tired. And I started to critique a story, off critters, written by a guy I ran into on the Infinitas site.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Australian book market

Hi all,

I've just read an article in The AGE (3rd of August) that had some encouraging things to say about the Australian book market. Firstly, sales increased by 7.5% in the past financial year to 1.25 billion. If the lastest installment of Harry Potter is removed then sales rose by 5.2%. Overall 63 million books were sold. According to Michael Heyward at Text 60% of books sold in Australia originate here.

Much to my surprise there were five Australian books in the top ten, but two of them were non-fiction. The three novels were Bryce Courtenay's The Persimmon Tree, Monica McInerney's (I've never heard of her, probably because she writes chick-lit) Those Faraday Girls and Mathew Riley's The Six Sacred Stones (he hasn't done badly for someone who had to self-publish his first three novels - bet there are a few publishers regretting not signing him).

The article goes on to say that 56% of Victorians in a Galaxy Research survey said they read for pleasure every day. I find this hard to believe, even if they include magazines and reading newspapers for pleasure. I wonder if the survey was taken at a writer's or book festival.

According to most forecasts, book reading should be decreasing as people spend more time on the internet and playing computer games, so what percentage of purchased books go unread?

I sometimes think that I'll finally have written something that would have had agents and publishers tripping over themselves to sign me when no one reads novels anymore.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

My writing week

Hi all,

Some day, hopefully soon, one of my posts will shock the hell out of its readers by telling them that in the past week I wrote over 7,000 words, read a novel and a speculative fiction magazine, and finally finished critiquing that critter's dedicated reader novel. Unfortunately, this is not that post.

I struggled to give myself enough time to write anything substantial on six out of the past seven days, usually finding that I was getting into the process just as it was time to stop. I enjoyed drawing a floor plan of the house my characters now inhabit. Once drawn, I had to retrace my main character's movements around the house in the current chapter to ensure he hadn't walked through a wall or urinated in a pot plant.

I am about to write up a critique of a story for critters. It seems that even though I am a dedicated novel reader my membership of critters will be suspended if I don't critique at least one story a month. The story I choose was wrongly listened as SF – it is a werewolf story – so the author can expect a wrathful critique - just kidding - but I find it hard to critique horror, especially when I don't find a story horrifying and fail to connect with, and therefore care about, the fate of the main character.

Oh, and I did read a couple of chapters of the novel I am critiquing.