Thursday, May 21, 2009

Some Random Writing Notes - And More Things to Read!

This time out, I'm going to keep it short and simple - with only a handful of notes about the writing that I keep posting here.

First, I really want to thank everyone who reads the pieces and gives me feedback. It truly is invaluable. In return, I've decided that, if Heroes... ever gets published, I'm going to include you beta-readers in the acknowledgements. (Yes, I know...I'm dreaming big!) I call that the least I can do. I've know everyone here who's done it, and I've got a list of people who have sent me emails and Twitter DMs with feedback. I also have a list of who has done it in the past. If you want to be included, join in.

Second, "Chapter 3 - Sloan" has been put to bed, and moved up into the corner with "Heroes... So Far." I'm not quite ready to graduate Melbourn there, but I will be in a day or three. Furthermore, I'm progressing with "Chapter 5 - Harbordown By Day."

Third, I've posted two new works in the WIP section next to this. The second chapter of The Wyrd Magnet is up, but I've left the first one up as well. I think they're better together, and might give a slightly better sense of what I'm up to with it.

I've also posted the prologue for Conduit - which is the newest working title of what I have called Spans Forever and The Bridge Across Forever. None of the titles really appeal to me. Maybe sometime down the line we'll have a contest to name the damn thing, because I've just about given up on it. The prologue is just a teaser, a little bit of the oddness to come.

I'm not even quite sure how to define Conduit. It's basically a refining of what has been a multi-year writing exercise for me. In the past, when I was blocked, or bored, and simply needed to write something, I went back to that and wrote. The product, as it has been written so far, is terrible. But I think there's good stuff to be had inside it, and that's what I'm working on bringing out. I don't know if it will be a novel, a series, a serial...I just don't know. But by putting it here, I'm pretty well committing to doing something with it.

That's it. I said I'd keep it short this time. Oh, all right. I'll make it easy. Links below:

Conduit: Prologue - Obelisks
The Wyrd Magnet: Chapter One - Sub-culture
The Wyrd Magnet: Chapter Two - Let's Go


  1. I think you are selling yourself short on The Conduit when you say the product as written is terrible. The prologue seems pretty good to me. I'm not going to do my usual nit-picky thing with it since you've said it's still at the experimental stage. Though I'd be more than happy to tear it up at some point when you've figured out where it's headed.;)Though, there's actually not that much I want to nit-pick here, surprisingly enough.

    At this point you've got me interested in the story. I like the way the hermit's perspective shrouds things in an air of mystery or the unknown, even commonplace things such as snow. This puts an interesting spin on the it. I want to hear more about his world...I'm curious if the rest is all from his perspective? This disjointedness from the rest of the society makes for an interesting effect and some intrigue for sure. I do wonder if it will be sustainable in the long haul, it could be problematic in creating too much distance between the reader and the story? I guess I'll have to wait and see...

    While I'm on this note though, I do really like the kind of skewed perspective he has, the radio being an almost alien object, for example. I'm wondering if you can push it a little farther? does he have his own words for some of the tools or things that he utilizes or that are in his surroundings, maybe something that we can identify but is still his own, like you did the frozen rain bit. For example, would he measure spaces in "feet" or would it be some other way of observing distance?

    Because he is a hermit and out of touch with the regular world the story inhabits, he becomes a "child-like" narrator, free to move throughout the story seeing things in a new or different light, with a sense of awe, wonder, or strangeness to things that are commonplace to us. This really gives you room to play with the story, the construction of the world, and the language, nothing really has to be described or interpreted in any kind of prescribed manner. This is happening already, but I would say you could probably get away with stretching it father, and taking a few more liberties if you wanted to. As always, just suggestion. And I really do only mean this as an option if you wanted to go that route.

    I feel like since it's a prologue its difficult to really comment until I see where things are headed. I think its a good set-up so far...

  2. Okay, I really didn't want to post twice in a row, but I guess I have to, sigh. I will try to keep it short...for once.

    I like the ninth and tenth phone numbers bit. It's a nice set-up, doesn't linger too long but creates a little intruige. Also leads in nicely to Billy Sticks.

    Re the twenties, you said easy go, easy go. The phrase isn't quite working for me, but I think easy come easy go is a bit cliche. Maybe some other variation on that?

    Okay, my next problem is in the part where he says he doesn't like lying to mama. I don't know if that is necessarily a lie that he leaves out the vampire sex bit. I think it's possible to discuss vampires without sex with someone like an elderly lady...more of a polite omission of some of the facts than a lie. Perhaps he could mention more that he hadn't quite told he the whole story. But then again, the "story" isn't really the background info on the sex thing. That's really more of info for the reader, not mama. I think this info could be worked in a little more cleanly to the overall narrative. **I like how I tell you to work it in more neatly while I ramble incoherently on the subject. I'm tired. and use too many words.

    Oh, also, would he really call an older lady that seems as proper as mama a prude. Wouldn't that more go without saying, in that I'd be surprised if she was the kind of woman one would talk about sex with...

    Paragraph after that I have a tense issue. Vampires "are all sexual creatures." Then "They all drained." It doesn't quite match up. I'm not sure the best way to fix it right now because of previously mentioned tiredness and incoherency, sorry.

    Aha! You explained the Judas goat. Much more clever than handler or what have you.And again I appreciate the wait to find out what it is.

    The black cabbie. I'm not being all PC, don't worry, but I dunno if I like the way it rings. Not really a big thing though. Maybe just me. Also I don't think I get the lying "cheefully."

    The "her" not taking his calls in a few seems a bit ho hum, when she is this enigmatic figure who can be reached without dialing numbers, is referred to as italicized her the majority of the time. I think it should be more clear that she has been difficult to reach, or it should be longer to add a little more oomph to the chick.

    That's it though really. Seems pretty good to me overall. I think you have set up enough small details, characters, past event alluded to, that sort of thing, to revisit or expand upon later that there is a nice sense of dimension building around the world of Martin Black and associates. He's not just dropped out of the sky and into this vampire case he's chasing. The more we get a look into Martin's world the more we realize that there is more to see. And he reads as a pretty accessible/relatable character thus far. I think this was actually my concern with the last chapter, that he might be a little blank. I think you've worked it out nicely... you are taking the reader along with you in terms of story and character, there's definitely a readability factor. It's nice to have this established at this point, so you don't have to worry as much about doing it later- I think it will follow naturally with the story as you have set it up so far.

  3. Oh yeah, and while I'm here...the hermit perspective being potentially alienating. I'm not saying it can't be done. Just should be undertaken carefully if you're going that route is all. But that's really dependent on how things develop...