Posts tagged ‘Novels’

September 4, 2011

“Getting Outta Here” [Novella]

This is a “prologue” and part opening of a novella I am currently writing. This is not a finished version, by any means, but an example of what this book should be like. It is uncharacteristic of me as it has no speech, but that will follow. I’m not happy with the speech part yet. All of these posts will be under the categories “Work” and “Ronsville”. (I am against prologues in any case.)

I cannot be sure exactly when this story took place, or even where. It is a strange occurrence. From recollecting the story I do see that there are certain news events that may indicate the year to which the preceding events belong. I know from the weather that it was high summer, maybe August. It is irrelevant to this story. One of conflict, division, isolation, racism and romance.

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I guarantee you have never heard of this place. You’ve never heard the name, you’ve never been there, heard it in the news, seen it in pictures. You can’t search for it on a map. I think it’s on the face of the Earth, but if you were there you wouldn’t know. It was living on a star far away. You can even see the Earth in the sky. At night you can see the motorway, the lights sliding along the horizon. That’s the closest thing to the rest of the world, and even that drifts by with out touching them. It’s definitely a different universe. And to the people that live there, it’s the Ronsville universe.

You may have passed Ronsville many times. Some people may pass it frequently if they use the motorway to get to work. Some of you may only ever go near it once in your life time, or not at all. Truth is you can never know. If you are on the motorway and you see a place in the distance, like a small town, somewhere a long way off where you can only just see it and you’re not sure what it is. You can’t always tell by looking, but it might just be Ronsville.

If you were to get on a train and ask for a ticket to nowhere, you might end up here, in the Ronsville Estate. Unmarked post ends up here. If you post an unmarked envelope it will reach the council’s post sortie. A different radio station is picked up every time you tune in; Radio Essex on a morning, GWR by lunchtime, Radio Glasgow in the evening, Classic FM through the night. Mrs Donelda Grey was certain she once heard Radio Hamburg. The news is a story, the credit crunch and the recession are the troubles of another country, government policies never reach here.

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September 4, 2011

Know What I’m Saying?

I once tried to decide what my “forte” was in writing. When you declare that you are a writer you get asked what you write, it would make sense to say what you like and what you’re (supposedly) good at.

I originally thought it was well constructed description. But description bores me, and general it slows down a story. There are too many cliches in description. (I do not consider cliches a complete enemy. Much original writing can come from identifying and changing it so that it is new.)Well done description can be something to behold, if it moves on with the narrative as well.I decided I was not so good at this..

Once finished with description, I moved onto the opposite; action. Describing action in its upmost detail to give across a blockbuster-like thriller. Films are not books. Action is not limited to shooting (I spent a lot of bullets and killed many characters before realising this).

I have settled, on dialogue. I may write a separate most on dialogue (because I like short posts and this is looking too long for me). Dialogue is immediate, it is action, it can convey ideas, thoughts, character, move on a narrative. I think it is brilliant, and may eleborate on that in future.

You may not agree with me, but we never got anywhere by agreeing.

What’s your forte?

September 3, 2011

A Sequence of Untimely Events

This is the title for a longer project I wrote totalling circa 30,000 words. It’s fairly short even by novella standards but it’s too long and I spent too much time with it to consider it as a short story, even by other standards not just my own (see “Short Short Stories“). I’ll be publishing it a couple of pages at a time, and if you’d like to read it search it by category (Untimely Events). I’ll have to finish editing it before it goes up.

I might put up current things I’m writing, but these might change in their finished form.

The “genre” of A Sequence of Untimely Events would be science fiction/time travel, though I hate to limit it by that label. And “science fiction always sounds pulpy. My book’s about an indulgent book worm who gets asked by men from the “department” (or buruea, can’t remember) for a time machine he hasn’t invented. The department men admit they’ve come to early. From then on Book Worm has the thought of building the time machine and it goes from there. It’s what science people call a paradox. But (hopefully) funnier and more engaging.

Anyway, it will be going up. It’s not the best. The best is yet to come (maybe. if this is the best I’m screwed)

September 3, 2011

Umm, who are you?

I tried writing a character once, from a 1st person Point Of View but I realised I didn’t know anything about this guy. I didn’t know how he would speak to the reader. It’s pretty stupid since I invented the man.

Something I tried to overcome this (and have yet to see if it works) was to ask the characters questions in an interview format. I chose questions like: what is your strongest childhood memory? Tell me something about you I didn’t know. How do you introduce yourself? What one thing do you want the world to know about you?

These are what I would call “big” or “life” questions, but some writers ask questions about their characters like what colour shoes they where and what they eat for breakfast. I’d rather ask the character, he knows best.

It might sound stupid since you’re asking the question and answering it but it makes you think what this character is really like and it builds up. If you give an answer and you think “actually he/she wouldn’t say that” then you scrap it.

Anyone ever done this? Does this work for anyone? Do anything else?

I might interview my characters but I’m not crazy. Was kinda awkward writing this in a straitjacket though

September 3, 2011

“Pick a Genre, Any Genre”

If you’re an author then you get asked by people what genre you write, or what sort of things you write. I don’t feel that I write in any set genre, or maybe I’m unaware of it. I’ve written a few different things in different genres and some that I wouldn’t put in a genre at all. I’ve settled on a title for one book (Not Science Fiction) which highlights the genre it should belong to but purposefully excludes it as well.

I think that writing to suit a particular genre is limiting on writing. I prefer to write and see what the genre is once I’ve finished it. Sticking to tightly to the features of a genre stops you writing freely.

There is always the possibility of genre crossing. I am lining up a novella to write in the style of Raymond Chandler, with the features of 30’s/40’s American crime fiction, but set in the context of a Shakespearean play, where there is a murder to be solved and the characters speak in verse (my own, imitating Shakespeare, hopefully) but the narrator speaks in American slang. Genre crossing is effective if you want to parody a certain genre, as it draws attention to the features of that genre by applying them to something not associated with it’s features, such as Raymond Chandler’s private eye, Philip Marlowe, investigating the death of Humptey Dumptey, for example.

I’ve written coming-of-age/young adult sort of thing, science fiction comedy, spy thriller, alternative history, fantasy alternate reality.

If I had to say that I had any favourite genre to write in it would be “people”. I like characters and they make a genre. Write about teens you get coming-of-age. Astronauts you get sci-fi. Characters make a book. A genre is a set of features a writer chooses to repeat or adapt. A character is a new creation which reflects the individuality of the writer, much like plots are re-worked with different characters.

Any preference on genre? Any interesting cross genre ideas/experiments/examples?

September 1, 2011

Short Short Stories

I don’t like short stories, even though they’re short. They have to be short enough so I can see the end. In a book, I don’t mind cause it’s a book, it’s meant to be long. So Sherlock Holmes and the Saint are quite readable.

It’s in magazines, when you can’t turn the page to see there’s one more paragraph but a load more prose. That’s when I put it down. And if it’s a short story on the internet and you have to scroll a lot… it’s dead to me.

Though I’ve written a few short story bits, I prefer to write longer, extended projects. You get more words to say what you mean (I know short stories are meant to be the “craft of a few words” and that’s the challenge. I think when you can choose any words in the world it’s still pretty challenging). You can develop things a lot more and you stay with it.

If it’s a short story I’d rather it was a novel.

If it’s a short short story I’ll read it.

If it’s a short short short story, I wrote it.

September 1, 2011

eBooks are Killing Paper

I haven’t got an Android or iPad or that, but I will confess before I write more, that I would like a kindle. To read eBooks. Because it looks good and I read too many books to carry around at once.

BUT I like the feel of a book. Like paper, and the smell of a new book, the odour of an old one. A hefty hardback is one of the most satisfying things to hold. To have the actual copy of a book is to own that copy. Once you’ve spent the required time with the novel you feel a little attached to it (I don’t, I’m just thinking for anyone else). You get to turn the pages (hence the term “page turner”, not “finger slide across the screen-er”). You can read any page you choose in a second.

You can call eBooks the new format if you want. They shouldn’t replace actual books. The Novel form is fairly new. Before the Novel fiction was recorded in epistolary novels (letters) and journal accounts. So a novel in a book used to be the “eBook” of its day.

eBooks look alright, but I wouldn’t give up having the paper in my hand.

August 31, 2011

Cheating on my Text

As much as I am a fickle reader, I am a fickle writer too. A novella will have to hold me long enough to spend considerable time and energy making it work. If you don’t spend enough time/energy you make rubbish. If it’s not worth the time, writer something else.

I like to plan a couple of projects while writing a page a day on my current written text, or at least editing and revising it. I plan the other texts so that I can have the fun of thinking them up while not becoming distracted from my main project. If the main project isn’t good enough then I divorce it, and start going steady with the better. Many of my novellas have been lost this way. Occasionally they are revived and re-written, but it’s never the same once you’ve cheated it once.

That’s the problem with writing for yourself (as I tent to do, as I have no audience yet). If it doesn’t interest me then I’m not going to bother writing it, just as a reader will put down a crappy book.

I think many authors have this problem, of falling out of love with their texts. I hope they do, otherwise it’s just me.