Sunday, October 25, 2009

My writing week 2(43)

Hi all,

When my eyes are fixed, I am going to try a writing idea mentioned at the Emerging Writer's Festival. One of the panelists suggested that a good way to learn another writer's style was to type up one of their books. The novel I am writing is in the first person and past tense, so I decided to choose a similarly written novel. I remembered that James Bradley's The Deep Field is in first person, but it is in the present tense. I hoped Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake was in first person, but it isn't. I thought The Life of Pi by Yann Martel might be, and it is. It is also in past tense. It has the added advantage of partly being set in the jungle, because a lot of mine is set in the Australian bush. I won't type up the whole thing, just the chapters set in the jungle, and then see if I can find other critically acclaimed first person/past tense novels to study.

Still not doing much editing/writing due to tired eyes and mind.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

My writing week 2 (42)

Hi all,

I expected to be in a state of panic today as I prepared for cataract surgery on Wednesday, but after a meeting with the opthamologist last week I am relatively calm. Firstly, the opthamologist explained to a more receptive patient (me) the reason he had said there was slightly less of a chance of success with my eyes. He said the membrane under the lens on both of my eyes was thinner than normal, so there was a chance that it could split which would mean a hastily arranged second operation that usually fixes that problem. After initially refusing to give me any odds on the overall chances of success, he said it was probably 400:1. After a bit of thought, I decided I would play blind-in-one-eye roulette with a 400 chambered pistol.

The second reason is that, due to an infection, I have had to postpone the cataract surgery for three weeks. Nothing like putting time in the way of a good panic. The first cataract won't be done until the 9th of November and the second two weeks later. I have had a good practice, so my panic will probably be much better next time.

I am no longer editing Stalking Tigers, I am redrafting it. I have deleted and rewritten so much of chapter nine that I can no longer call it editing. The redrafting is mainly due to the compounding of subtle changes I have made, in previous chapters, to the two main character's behaviour that have rendered later actions out of character. It will still get to the same ending, but by a different route.

When reading Saturday's Age I thought I had slipped into an alternative universe, one where ignorance and peer group pressure didn't exist. In the book section there were not just one rare review of a science fiction novel, but two. And one of them was by an Australian author. Shit, hardly any books must have been released last week. The Australian was KA Bedford's, Time Machines Repaired While U Wait, which has just been published in Australia. I read the imported version earlier this year and thought it one of the better science fiction novels going round. I posted a review on this blog a few months ago (one of these days I will teach myself how to put in a link to a previous post, but not today as I will be too busy writing a panic guide).


Sunday, October 11, 2009

my writing week 2(41)

Hi all,

The countdown has begun: only nine more days until I have cataract surgery on my left eye. My stress levels are rising as I ask, what happens if something goes wrong? If the cataract surgery is unsuccessful and leads to my vision becoming worse in the left eye, I am highly unlikely to agree to surgery on the right eye, at least not until I consult a number of opthamologists (eye surgeons). I suppose I could get increasingly thicker glasses so I could read with the right eye, so at least for a few years I would be okay. Hopefully by then, new procedures would ensure success with the removal of the cataract from the right eye. And maybe they will eventually be able to fix the damaged left eye with stem cells or some new technique. All will not be lost if something goes wrong. Still it is a bit of a worry.

I finished editing chapter eight of "Stalking Tigers", only another twenty chapters to go. I added 2,000 words to it, which I wouldn't want to do for the other chapters or the novel could blow out to around 170,000 words.

I am hopeful that after the next month, with new eye lenses, my eyes will no longer strain to see commas, and my writing and reading output will dramatically increase.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

My writing week 2(40)

Hi all,

I'm still editing chapter eight of Stalking Tigers. I'm doing very little writing or reading at the moment due to tired eyes, general tiredness and devoting time to other things, like gardening. Warmer, wetter weather has caused a weed and snail surge in the garden, as well as a rapidly growing lawn. I was only going to plant tomatoes and lettuces over the warmer months so I wouldn't have to spend too much time watering, but I have already added carrots and will soon plant some beans. Oh well, I can consider it research for my novel as some of the story revolves around the stranded characters becoming self-sufficient in food.

Dan Browne has knocked Stephenie Meyer off the top of the bestseller lists. His new book, which has been getting good reviews, sold 126,000 copies in Australia last week.

The new science fiction series FlashForward looks promising. It's based on a Robert J Sawyer novel and like Lost has a continuous story line. Its premise has everyone in the world blacking out for 2mins and 17 secs. During that time they all experience a flash forward to the same moment six months in the future. It's currently on Monday nights at 8.30 on Seven, but probably will be shunted back to 10.30 in a couple of weeks and then disappear from the screens until it turns up on pay TV.

I went and saw two science fiction movies last week - another reason I did not do much editing. Only one of them lived up to their great premises. Surrogate was set in a near future world where the majority of people live their lives through a personal android they're virtually linked to. The movie turned into a pedestrian thriller with an awful ending, one often used in science fiction where some fascist decides that what is good for him is good for everyone. Bruce Willis - its star - should have remembered the lessons from 12 Monkeys (one of the best science fiction movies ever made) where a fascist releases a virus and kills 99% of the world's population.

The other film was District 9, where a huge spaceship stops over South Africa and over a million aliens are accepted as refugees. Years later they are living in a huge ghetto and racism against them is rampant, so the authorities decide to move them far away from the general population (sort of like putting refugees on Christmas Island). It has a gimmick of being filmed in a documentary style for much of the movie and has some of the most seamless special effects I've seen, with the computer generated aliens blending perfectly into real world scenes. Its ending leaves plenty of room for speculation. I reckon its one of the most original and better science fiction movies of recent years.