Novelistic Gibbery

22 Dec

Too sick right now to work on The Nondescript. I gave it a whirl for an hour or so, though. Recognizing that I was definitely too sick and muddy-minded to write on the computer, I got out my fountain pen and some paper and tried to write that way. I managed very little, and I’m not sure any of it is useful. It’s like I’m trying to write someone else’s book, through someone else’s hand, possibly while looking the other way. My head is a very useless thing right now.

So instead of writing, I will sit here and think about writing, out loud. Or out-typed, as it were.

I have The Nondescript mapped out from where I am, to the end. I’m very happy about that. Last night, after a bath that was intended give me some aching-body relief (it helped ’till the exact second I got out), I realized what was wrong with my ending and went and sat in the entryway, where a small light had been left on (everyone was asleep, I didn’t want to turn on any lights) and I wrote another half page of notes, changing parts of my ending. It wasn’t balanced. Or it wasn’t satisfying. But I figured out how to make it both, and still come to the result I needed. So that’s all right.

Sadly, because I am sick, I won’t finish the novel by the end of December. It would have been exactly a two-month novel, then. I was looking forward to that. It’ll be first week of January, maybe second, depending on how much time I lose being ill.

The nice thing about the state of The Nondescript right now is, I can look at any of the scenes coming up and see them in my head. I could write the rest of the novel backwards, or in any random order I wanted. I get all the scenes. That’s really nice. And it’s something I do intend to do. Write a couple of scenes at once. For one thing, it’s a good morale booster to finish up a scene and then, five minutes later, finish up another scene.

Beyond that, I am puzzling over what my next novel will be about. I have a couple of ideas, as it stands, but I’m unsure which of them has stood up and grabbed me and said “Oy.” I’m not sure either has yet.

I like ’em both. The first one is Dark, and is a realistic-super-hero story. I mean entirely realistic. It was intended to be a six-issue comic, but I decided I could do it much better as a novel. I have my beginning there, my ending, my characters, but I have no burning urge to start writing it right this very second.

But, for whatever reason, it’s appealing to me more than trying to actually write novel two, which is The Neon God. I have written this one before, and I hated where it went (it collapsed under itself, eventually). It’s a pretty good premise, and it lets me say some things that I like saying (and, sigh, probably said better in God in the Machine, or would have, if I’d continued). For this one, I have ideas and an ending (I always have an ending. AN ending. It’s not always the one I end up at.) but again, there is no fiery urge to write it.

If all else fails, I suppose I’ll start writing book one of the God in the Machine series, cannibalizing the episodes and shaping them into book form, instead of short story form. I figured out how to tell the story in three books. I say that now, I had a lot of story in the series. I could do five books easy, if I wanted. There were problems before in God in the Machine, but they were all on the author side of things. And the release schedule. That was rough.

I have muttered about this problem of not knowing what comes next to a couple people who have given me the utterly infuriating and useless reply of “you’ll figure it out,” which is as useful as a man who’s about to skydive saying, “Hey, you know, you’ll do great, huh? Let ‘er rip! Ha ha!” That is, it is entirely un-reassuring.

Granted, I’m sure I will figure it out. I have only ever once before hit a period where I suddenly didn’t know what to write and so wrote nothing. The only real pressure, as it were, comes from needing something to write for The Penman Shipwreck.

I have lots of novel ideas. There’s my haunted house novel (I have never gotten the ideas to gel properly, and I have nothing but a main character who I really, really look forward to writing, once I know what happens). I have a thick, thick (I mean dense) literary novel which, like so many things I’ve written before, currently has the title of “Ghost Love Score,” and which I have written several thousand idle words on, and liked none of them. What else do I have. Another science fiction novel which I won’t tell you the title of, because it gives away my premise. Um. I consider, off and on, starting over on my Rome novel and seeing where I go with it now, but I think it’s too soon. The wound is still fresh, as it were. I have a light-hearted and funny novel called Frankenstein Versus High Society (working title, clearly) and which I’ve had a blast writing. I know the story of that pretty well. I like the idea of writing more on that one. Maybe I will. Who knows?

There. I’m done musing for the night. I need more cough drops, and I would lie down, if I thought it would do any good.

Oh yeah.

I am a little over halfway through done with Love in the Time of Cholera. I know, I’m reading it slowly. It’s a thick and tough book to read and when getting sicker, I can focus less and less well. The funny thing about it is, I do not particularly like the characters as it stands — except for one, who’s dead — and the story does not seem satisfactory to me (I am only halfway through) and yet, I can read on just for the beauty of the language. The language and the writing itself carries me onward in a gentle glide. It’s interesting, and I like it. (My final judgment, of course, is reserved ’till I’m done with the book. Anyway, who cares what I think? It won a Nobel Prize. So what if Pete Tzinski thinks it was lousy.)

(I am utterly rambling)

Partially because of something Joe Hill said, in an interview done with Blood, Blade & Thruster magazine, may it rest in peace…and partially something Ed talked about, about the death of proper heroic fantasy…and partially something that has been very much on my mind…leaves me thinking about writing a fantasy novel. An epic, high fantasy novel. I have ideas. And I have the language I’d write it in (or I should say, the style, the tone, the voice. Tolkien had a voice in his novels, and I think it’s a shame that in so many of the High Fantasy novels that followed in his footsteps, voice was mostly regulated to some weird mysterious voice that is meaningless. If this whole paragraph is baffling, tell me, I’ll try to explain better when cold medicine gives me my head back). Here again, I have ideas and characters and influences and thoughts and so on.

Well, who knows.

My good friend down the hall played Rock Band last night at a friend’s house. He called me to abashedly say that he’d…he’d…enjoyed it. Abashed, because there have been many times when he has spoken ill and laughed about it and the Guitar Hero games (I have too. Some people who play ’em are really…really…creepy). But he enjoyed it. I told my wife earlier this morning, “I bet you five bucks that when I go over to see him later today, there will be Rock Band sitting in his living room.”

I went over.

Rock Band was sitting in his living room.

It amused me no end. And, er, I hardly mind. I am not the most rhythmic person in the world, but I enjoyed what little I played of Guitar Hero I and II. I like the idea of Rock Band. Sometime tonight, or tomorrow morning, I’ll go over and we’ll play guitar and drums and, depending on how we egg each other on, one of us might sing.

I was the lead singer in my high school garage rock band. Except I never really sung. We never got that far. I did — and this is typical of me — write nearly forty-five songs for the band, because at that age, my output was huge. Some of them are awful. Some of them aren’t bad.

Point being: I am not standing in my friend’s living room and singing. No, I am not. Not happening. It will probably happen. Who am I kidding? You are going to read this blog and find an ashamed note from me saying, “I sang Deep Purple’s Highway Star today…and loved it.”

(There are certain songs on the playlist. “Run to the Hills,” by Iron Maiden. “Paranoid,” by Black Sabbath. “Detroit Rock City,” by KISS. “Enter Sandman,” by some no-name 90’s band. I say without shame that I know all the words anyway, so…)

Good grief. A quick post musing on what novel to do next — and I haven’t even gotten into that secret writer’s fear, “What I do next cannot be as good as what I did with Nondescript.” — turned into a whopping 1,700 word babble. I’ll try to be succinct next time. Who knows, it might happen.


Posted by on December 22, 2007 in Uncategorized


15 responses to “Novelistic Gibbery

  1. Arachne Jericho

    December 22, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    I’ll be curious to see what you come up with for God in the Machine. I would love to see the story again, taken all the way out.

    Perhaps related: Elizabeth Bear mentioned a change in her writing processes that I think I’m seeing present itself in other, older writers.

    Guitar Hero III rocks the house. I’ve seen Rock Band around, and apparently Rock Band destroys Guitar Hero III if you’ve got friends who want to rock on with you.

    Go have fun!

  2. Pete Tzinski

    December 22, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Maybe it’s just the time for people to alter their writing styles. Me, Elizabeth Bear, Kristine, um, others, etc. My, that was a useful list.

    I didn’t actually know Elizabeth Bear had a blog. Thanks for that.

  3. Pete Tzinski

    December 22, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    I go back and forth on what I’ll do with God in the Machine . I have a good story for it. And moreover, with my new changes and altering writing style, I think it would turn out to be a differently told story. That’s good. It also means I’m less afraid to let it stretch on and on as it has to (though I don’t know if it’d sell). But the story is good. It goes a lot of places. And it says a lot of things.

    I think about it a lot. At the moment, I wonder if it’s too close, like the Rome novel was. If it’s too soon to dive back in. Beats me.

  4. Shadow Ferret

    December 22, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    You’ll figure it out.

    With the recent spate of rejections I’ve received, I’m second guessing myself and thinking of doing a major revision of my subbing MS. before I do another round with it.

    But I keep fighting this desire to trunk it and work on some high fantasy, too.

  5. Pete Tzinski

    December 22, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    I wish I’d been thinking about high fantasy before I wrote my letter to you, Ed. It would have been longer, and wordier and been filled with jabber about good, old-fashioned high-fantasy.

    The proper response here is to tell you “Don’t second-guess yourself,” and it’s good advice, although murder to try and actually follow through with. It’s hard to stop doing it, once you’ve started. And while gumption and a “screw it,” attitude help to put it off, it can always come back in the tired, quiet moments. Hey, how’s that for inspirational? 🙂

    All of this will be terribly ironic when the lot of us are collecting Nebulas and Hugos and stuff (assuming I haven’t completely wandered off from SF/F altogether and instead find myself competing for Pulitzers and Nobels and whatever. Ach.)

  6. Pete Tzinski

    December 22, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    It’s not worth a whole new blog entry, but:

    Is worth reading for the sheer laughing fun of it. It’s serious science! We HAD to do it! And we HAD to video tape it! For serious science reasons! STOP LAUGHING AT US IT WAS SERIOUS SCIENCE YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND! It was hard! I mean during the serious science! NEVER MIND I HATE YOU ALL!

    At least, that’s probably how the presentation speech went.

  7. Shadow Ferret

    December 22, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    If you ever write something worthy of a Pulitzer or Nobel, can I just pretend I read it, or would you really expect me to read it? :p

  8. Shadow Ferret

    December 22, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    NASA is so prudish that it censors guinea pig sex?

  9. Pete Tzinski

    December 22, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    ED: Oh yeah, totally read it. Way read it. Like, really good, and stuff.

    REPORTER: What did you think of the socio-political metaphor on page 291, in which he compares the political situation of Uganda to the Nubian empire in an attempt to make a moralistic statement about the current situation?

    ED:….it was swell! Ha ha! Did I mention that *I* have a new book out, please?

  10. Arachne Jericho

    December 23, 2007 at 12:58 am

    As Ed said, you’ll figure it out. 🙂 Do what you need to.

    A story that goes lots of places and says lots of things is great! But it’s also very hard to write.

    I’ve got a story like that on my own back burner, and I keep attacking it every so often because I know that, while I don’t yet have the skill to tell the story well now, one day I will.

    November for me was basically two long, sustained attacks on the left flank of the beastie.

  11. MidnightMuse

    December 23, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    I hear ya – when I wrote that letter to you, which I mailed already so I can’t go back and completely change it, I went on and on about Ether and the idea I had for it – and even as I wrote it out I realized how stupid it sounded. Now I’m floundering, worried about what exactly I should do on January 1st. Write Ether as it is, such as it is, and pray I have the talent to pull a rabbit out of my ass, or change it completely and make it a different novel.

    I have . . . what, a week left? Not enough time OR drugs to work it out! Gah.

  12. Pete Tzinski

    December 23, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Well, we’re in the same goofy boat. So Tori’s going to smear us both into a fine layer of paste. Surely we can figure out what novels we have to write. If all else fails, we’ll co-write a Science-Fiction-Fantasy-Historical-Horror-Novel called “Ether,” and it will confuse everyone. 🙂

  13. tjwriter

    December 23, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    What you folks don’t know is that January is the busiest month all year at work for my area, so I don’t even know how much overtime I’ll be working. I have more musings when I get home, as I’ve just returned from a small roadtrip to see my dad’s family, and I’m at my parents’ house.

  14. Pete Tzinski

    December 23, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    Right. This will be the quietest writing contest ever. Two competitors with nothing to write, and one competitor busy having a day job.

  15. Shadow Ferret

    December 23, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    There’s a reason why I never discuss future projects, it seems to kill all impetus to actually write them. It’s like the telling is enough and my mind thinks its time to move on to something else.

    If you guys want to consider me part of the contest, go right ahead. I’m not sure how much competition I’ll be since I won’t be mailing my stuff to Lori as it will be my only copy and I’m really lazy about getting things into the post.


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