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Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Writing Links!

The Millions bring the awesomeness as always. A great article about the 40th anniversary of Fear And Loathing.

I am not unique in calling anyone's attention to this (Thanks Mister Booze and Gerry Canavan), but it is still one of the better DFW articles I've read recently. It's ambitious. Like DFW himself.

China Mieville unleashes a rejected proposal for a new comic hero. You have to read this, especially if you're interested in the woes of the Rust Belt. It starts off sounding cliched, and ends sounding absolutely brilliant because of its cliches. Read it here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Year of the Novel: Where O Where Have The Days Gone?

Seriously, where have they gone? I feel like I blinked and suddenly three weeks had passed and I hadn't written a damn sentence. Various things conspired to keep me from my keyboard, among them are child-rearing, lethargy, laziness, working for a living, a trip to NYC, and writer's block. I'll talk only about the last and the second, since they feed into one another.

I can tell you that any number of distractions are easy to get over if you know where you are going in your story and your'e excited about it. However, if you are unsure of the shape of your story and aimless, then it can be equally easy to just not get up early in the morning or watch that extra TV show. That has been my last three weeks. After the glorious triumph of finishing Part One, I sat down at the computer to begin the next section and realized, horribly, I hadn't the foggiest idea where to go next. Well, that's not entirely correct, I have a foggy idea, but fogginess is only ok for future chapters that you haven't gotten to yet, not for chapters that are staring at you from a blank word document. So, I did the only thing any uber-distracted writer with writer's block does, I procrastinated and stopped working on the novel.

Now here's the part where I don't lose heart and turn this into a woe-is-me-I'm-quitting-this-crap post. I have been doing this long enough to know that sometimes, especially after large benchmarks like finishing parts of a book, you need a little space, and pushing through only makes for a lot of revision later on. Creative inspiration is not a well that can merely be pumped and voila! out shoots awesomeness. No, it's something that takes time sometimes. It's good that I've grown slightly more patient in my old age because I was able to realize I needed a little space from the story, and focused on any number of other things I needed to do, until the beginnings of Part Two started to coalesce in my mind.

This week I started up again and made a lot of headway. I've written almost 2700 words with four more days left in the week, and I'm starting to see the shape of Part Two more clearly, which will help significantly in the coming months. I don't doubt that I will be stricken again with the lazies, but with any luck I will be able to get my word count back on track and still have this thing done by the end of the year. Either way, though, I think I'll have a better manuscript because of the time off than I would have if I'd just berzerker'd my way through the writer's block.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pocket Book Review: 2666

I'm not really certain how I can do a pocket review of this massive book. At 900 pages, 2666 pretty much kicks its readers' asses the entire way through. It took me about six months to read it, partly because it wasn't all that fun the entire time, and partly because it takes me a long time to read books, which is itself partly to do with my limited reading time and also my slow reading ability.

2666 is really five inter-connected novellas that span the globe from the UK, Spain, Mexico, the US, Germany, the USSR, Italy, and France. Each novella swirls in some way around the fictional city Santa Teresa on the Mexico-US border (and based on Ciudad Juarez), where hundreds of women have been found raped and murdered in the desert, picking up bit characters and detritus and grime as the story blows through these countries, and these people. Despite each novella being inter-connected*, they really have their own unique character and pacing and depth, designed for different purposes, to tell different stories about the character of brotherhood and violence in our modern world.