Saturday, January 31, 2015


January has flown by.
I had hoped to get much more writing done on the current novel than I did before school started once more, but that didn't happen. While I watched the movie, "The Imitation Game," though, I suddenly realized why. The voice of the main character has always been soft. My original casting (you'll remember I'm trying an experiment where I use photos of actual actors to give me a face to put with the names) had put a very attractive young man as the narrator, but the book wasn't progressing much at all. The realization came when the young man playing young Alan Turing, an actor named Alex Lawther (who turns in a jaw-dropping performance, by the way) started to speak--I needed to recast with an actor who had as soft a voice as the narrator. So I recast the novel and things have been moving along much easier.
I usually like to write with Stephen King's advice in mind: "Write with the door closed." By this, he means that you need to keep the project close to your chest. Otherwise, you might get caught up in telling people about the plot, and get lots of positive reinforcement just for telling about a book that isn't finished. Instead, he wants us to use the desire for positive reinforcement as a motivator, staying quiet during the process, and then getting the praise when the work is finished. This is absolutely what got me through the Jacob Connor trilogy.
I broke the rule, however, and told a friend of mine the whole plot of the book I'm working on now during a conversation we were having. I was genuinely surprised to find that the plot works. By that I mean all the different pieces fit together much better than I've been fearing they did. I don't say that to try to get praise, but merely because--I'll be honest--for the past year or so that I've been working with this book already, I've had fear that it didn't work. I'm happy that it does.
Now I just have to get the damned first draft finished. After the gutting of what I had for the original first part, and the subsequent rewriting, the book is currently back up to about 30K words. I'm looking to write something bigger than any of the Jacob Connor books, though, so it needs to come out over 70K in final form, so there's still a lot of work to do.
Over the first weeks of January, I finally got a chance to read Samuel R. Delany's memoir, The Motion of Light in Water

What an intense and amazing work. What struck me most, I think, is that he was present in the Village at the same time as other revolutionary figures that, to be honest, one might think of first when thinking of "The 60s." The other thing was, of course, the sheer amount of sex the man had. People make all this noise about Gene Simmons' number of sex partners, but I bet Delany has him beat by an order of magnitude. Finally, on a writerly level, I was struck by the fact that so much of Delany's work was composed longhand and typed after the draft was complete. I realize that's not all that monumental to some, but to me, the idea that such revolutionary works were composed in such a traditional fashion is boggling. I had avoided some of his earlier works, but reading about them and the circumstances surrounding their composition has lead me purchase them. I'll be reading The Fall of the Towers as soon as I finish The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.

1 comment:

JillSHughes said...

While writing with the door closed is important, I think that talking some things out leads to great ideas. I look forward to hearing about updates on your progress....and you thought I didn't read the blog!