sharplittleteeth: (Default)
There are no new stories. This book I'm writing? It's Orpheus in the Underworld.

That's fine. That's good. I can use that.

My original plan was that the two storylines - the 1990s and the present day - would weave and alternate like the snakes of the Caduceus.

But I don't think it's going to work like that. The problem is, the present-day story depends on you knowing who all the old characters are, and everything they've suffered through together.

This is where the Orpheus stuff comes in.

Because... what if I structure the book like Orpheus's journey? What if the 1990s section is the climb down into the darkness, and the modern day stuff is the slow, hard climb back to the light? And all the while our hero is hoping against hope that Eurydice is following behind.

I think that could work.

It's not as clever as the interweaving idea. And frankly, I'll have to do a lot of foreshadowing and setting up so that people don't get annoyed when their happy little grunge band novel suddenly turns all goth.

But the emotional journey would make sense. There's a Joss Whedon quote, something about how the characters and the audience have to be feeling the same things. I'm warming to the idea of splitting the book into two great big sections-- PART ONE:THEN and PART TWO: NOW.

Argh! Stop overthinking things, David. You haven't even finished the first draft yet.

*cracks whip*

*cowers and goes back to writing*

A Note

Apr. 6th, 2010 08:03 am
sharplittleteeth: (Default)
Dear Insomnia-

My parents tried their best to raise me properly. If I received a gift, for example, they insisted I send the giver a thank you note.

That's what this is, Insomnia. A thank you note.

Because you gave me your special gift again last night. Which meant I was wide awake at 3 am. Which is when I have my best ideas.

I've been stuck on the novel. The 1990s band stuff flowed out like honey from a crumpet. But the modern-day ghost bits-- I had characters, and themes, and broad philosophical ideas. I just didn't have a plot.

And then: 3 am last night, it all clicks perfectly in to place. And I'm left thinking "Oh. Of course that's what happens."

And then, just because you're awesome, you gave me the plot outline for a completely different book as well. About punks who run a second-hand bookstore.

So thank you. This is wonderfully generous of you.

It's just... I have to go back to work tomorrow. So could you please fuck off?

David W.

sharplittleteeth: (Default)
Taken the week off to write.

Passed 20,000 words this morning. That means I've written as much on this novel in a fortnight as I wrote on the previous one in ten years.

(Not really: I wrote about 60,000 words of the last one. The problem was they were the opening 20,000 words, rewritten three times.)

And last night I killed one of the main characters.

I knew this was coming. She was fated to die from page one, and there's no ghost story without somebody carking it.

Still, it was a little bit distressing.

I sat up late after writing the death scene, listening to Death Cab for Cutie's 'I Will Follow You Into The Dark' on YouTube. Until I discovered that a cover version was used in the Twilight movies, and I quit, feeling soiled.

Today I was writing all the post-death fallout, which came surprisingly easily considering I've never had anyone close to me die. *touches wood*

Anyway. I'm boring you all with this writing nonsense. Next post: jellyfish!

sharplittleteeth: (Default)
Passed 12,000 words on the novel this morning. I wrote a scene before I left for work: two girls dying their hair. It felt more like porn than the sex scenes.


No one wants to read your private wank fantasies.
sharplittleteeth: (Default)
Writing away...

Writing requires research.

The new book is about two girls who start a band in the early 90s.

Therefore, research requires viewing this: PJ Harvey and Bjork covering 'Satisfaction' for the Brit Music Awards 1994.

I suffer for my art. SUFFER!

sharplittleteeth: (Default)
Chest feels like I've been snorting thumbtacks. Throat infection. Not fun.

Except for the fever part. Which turned me into a writing beserker the last two days. Seriously.

I've been trying to write the same damn novel for the last ten years. This year I decided: take it out the back paddock, shoot it in the head. Write something new.

A Victorian murder mystery, I thought. Set in Melbourne. Lots of juicy history and Gorey-esque black humour. That could be cool.

So I've been researching away. I've got a pile of facts and dates and figures. But it feels like the more I learnt the more I still needed to learn, and it was an exponential curve. I wrote a 500 word prologue and resigned myself to months more work before I could really get started.

Tuesday night we saw the Paradise Motel, back after a ten-year split.

Wednesday morning I felt myself coming down sick. Tiredness. Upset stomach. Fever.

But an idea popped into my head. I started writing.

Now I have 6,000 words of a rock and roll ghost novel. I couldn't walk straight, couldn't think straight, but the words just leapt out of me.

Thursday night was... horrible.

I Did. Not. Sleep. At all. My brain was firing all night, good ideas, beautiful ideas -- subtle character nuances, witty phrases, plot structure solid as iron bridges. And I was pleading shut up! shut up! shut up and let me SLEEP. Around 3 am I gave up, got up, wrote. Went back to bed around 4 and seriously wondered if my brain was broken, if I had manic-depression and would never sleep again.

Friday morning I was wrecked. The fever had broken. I had a bog-standard sore throat, and my writing was back to normal -- like pulling dead tree stumps out of a muddy bog.

I hate writing. I love having written, or dreaming about what I will write next. But the actual process? I never feel as clumsy and graceless and stupid as when I'm trying to make one word follow the next. I can't plot for shit, and I have all the eloquence of a bag of wet cement.

And then something like the past two days happens. My writing doesn't just take flight: it shapeshifts into a wedge-tailed eagle. With jet engines. And laser-guided missiles. And an 80s hair metal theme song.

All because of a fever. All because little microbes were happily breeding away in my throat, and my body was trying to kick them out.

Consumption is starting to look like a career move.
sharplittleteeth: (Default)
Still sick.

Did I mention I was writing two minor characters in The Novel yesterday?

Their names are Ratchet and Bolt. They're network technicians. And they're lemurs.

It's an... odd sort of novel.
sharplittleteeth: (Default)
The biggest problem I've had working on my novel recently is not ideas or motivation, but simply finding the spare time to write.

But in the last two weeks, I seem to have cracked it. My perfect writing time? The twenty to thirty minutes between me getting ready in the morning and me leaving for work. It's just enough time for me pump out about 500 words.

500 words may not sound like much, especially to you hardened NaNoWriMo veterans. But that's like comparing hares to tortoises. Gene Wolfe used to write 500 words a day before work. Max Barry set himself a 500 words a day maximum writing his last novel. He felt it kept him excited.

I agree. And it keeps the plot moving, since I want to write something exciting each time I sit down.

So. Progress. Happy.

I've had a throat infection for the last week, and taken the last two days off work. Normally when I'm sick, I'm useless for anything. But I've been exercising. And who would have guessed? It makes a difference.

Anyway, while I've been off work I've learnt the secret to neatly winding new strings on a guitar (you pull the other end, keeping the string taught), cooked bacon and eggs and mushrooms for lunch, and done a lot of writing.

2000 words yesterday. 2,600 today. That's like two weeks writing in two days.


Explain again my motivation for going back to work?
sharplittleteeth: (Default)
I haven't done any real work on The Novel in months.

I knew what the problem was. I'd got about 30,000 words into it. Realised I was going nowhere. Restarted it. Got about the same distance in. Realised it still was all wrong. And gave up in despair at the thought of having to start all over yet again.

The solution was obvious. But I had to climb my way out of the pit in order to implement it.

So this afternoon I took my iBook down to the Richmond library to kick start the process. Rather than starting all over for a third time, I'm just going to pretend I've made the required changes, and keep writing forward from the point where I stopped. To help me do this, this afternoon's work was writing out a snappy yet detailed outline of the plot.

So... I didn't make any actual progress today, in that I haven't added to my word count. But I've got a nice shiny map of where I have to go.

Which is much, much nicer than being stuck in the slough of despair.

In other news: can I be Leonard Cohen when I grow up, please?

And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu


sharplittleteeth: (Default)

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