What’s next for Poindexter?


Interminable update ahoy.

A wise man may once have said something along the lines that persistance is the mother of invention (that’s blatantly wrong, but I’m feeling playful). Or maybe it was the borg…persistance is futile? Anyway, I have ground to an almighty stop with my big piece de resistance.

lemur_faceSo I have begun something else. A darker piece, written in the third person instead of the first person – first person is bloody limiting, if you ask me – I am intending it to be faster-paced, and including all manner of weird magic and a whole pantheon of godlike entities. Influences, in this case, are the Stephen Erikkson novels (partly) and also a bit of Brandon Sanderson. I know, it sounds naff, but…hey ho, it’s summat to do.

I am too old and withered (mentally) to be bothered about the restart. It’s not like I can’t go back to the behemoth at a later date, and in the meantime I am learning, learning, learning. What, precisely, I cannot tell yet. Meh.

So, 7k words into my new venture, and how is it going? Well, I’ll keep it short, but there is a talking lemur in it. I will not go into details in order to preserve you from spoilers. As if…!

 

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Check out the heft on THAT milestone…!


Look, if you didn’t want me to write updates about my word count you should have avoided looking at my blog. Oh, you have tried? Well screw you, here’s an update.

And so this week I hit 60k words for the first time on one project. I think I did a 52k a while back that died on its arse, but never 60k. Let’s, good people, put that into context.

That’s 1.65 times the size of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and there’s NO slimy christian allegories in sight.

That’s 1.30 times the size of Fahrenheit 451 and no books were harmed in the crafting.

It’s also 0.67 times the size of Orwell’s magnificent 1984, although sanity, as they say, is not statistical.

It is 0.29 times the girth of Moby Dick, and, incidentally, I have some whales in it. Don’t ask.

Finally, as I have just spent pretty much three months (it could be longer) writing it so far, I think to have completed the equivalent of 0.131 of the Lord of the Rings is not a bad job, and there are no dull elven songs messing with your mojo. Bloody elves.

That is all.

 

PS, that’s twenty-thousand of your English words done in eleven days. I’d say that counts as a spurt.

The Appropriate tale – an update


Forty-thousand words. Many of them meaningless out of context, and much of the content spurious. That is the current condition of my latest attempt to string the bullshit into some sort of story.

Not bad, you may think, but you’d be wrong.

As I embarked upon this literary adventure I took heed of advice from the great, the good and the prolific. They said, write about what you know. So I did that. Or, rather, I am doing that. But the results are not fun to read. There are great swathes of text where my character (whose name, is Appertan, or ‘Apt’, because it is appropriate. I am a funny man) just bumbles around not knowing what’s going on. The character is, of necessity, something of me, although not directly. There are elements of me (the self-deprecation, the scything wit and the idleness), but I have mostly just tried to make him flourish organically, rather than try to follow some masterplan. The way I see it is that if I try too hard it’ll become noticeable.

The same goes for the locale. I have set this particular tale in a place that reminds me very much of the hebridean isles of Scotland. Why? because it’s braw. This has allowed me to use my familiarity with the environs to give the some texture without too much in the way of being geographically creative. The result is a place and a person I am comfortable to write about. And lots of rain, heather, and a baddie with ginger hair (he may not be a baddie – I am undecided).

Unfortunately, I have found the actual plot somewhat difficult to pin down. Yeah, that really IS a big problem. I have plots ongoing (revenge, ambition, etc) but am struggling to forge them into a working tale.

But you don’t want to hear my griping, so I’ll shut up for now. I have some writing to do, and I have to inject it all with some drama and verve. So…that’ll be easy then. But if it were easy it wouldn’t be rewarding, would it?

Ouroboros post number one


Once upon a time a certain aspiring novellist said to his friends, colleagues and others that he would do a writing blog and populate this with his thoughts as he went about writing his book. He was a fool (albeit a shining, rosy faced, beautiful one).

He had not considered the implications of his rash decision. Not only would he have to go through the brain-shrivelling rigmarole of actually trying to write, but now he had to summon the requisite self-absorption to tell everyone what he was doing, package it into a neat little post and shove it onto the internet – where, presumably, it would be categorically ignored, and in a few cases not even that.

Added to this kerfuffle was the inherent problem: The more he wrote, the less he could find to tell the word about. It was like he was stuck in a never-ending retrograde cycle of pointlessness – an ouroboros of wordiness disappearing up its own arse.

To solve this he wrote a post about writing his post, which caused a rift in the space-time continuum  (or something) very much like the winner of the Ignoble award here, which is a report about reporting on reports. Humans are ace at this sorta shit, as Ghandi would never have said.

Anyhoo, there you have it. A post on posting posts. And it is not the first. I may have to write a book about not writing books. That could work.

Get thee hence, draft…


Well. That’s that then. Another 23,000 words consigned to the ever-increasing pile marked ‘Put down to experience’. Yes, it’s another writing blog post big on introspection, flimsy on entertainment. I could not blame you for being bored already, but hold on, young and easily strung-along readers, there’s more…

Having enjoyed a period of relative productivity (I have low standards) I have ground to an almighty halt. I have bored myself with my characters and story, which can only mean one thing…it’s crap. I was listening to Fantasy Faction’s podcast interview with Joe Abercrombie, that giant of modern fantasy. He said something that resonated with me;

“…if you don’t read what you write and think, actually that’s quite exciting, you’d never get past the first page.”

Characterisation is becoming distinctly problematic. I don’t have confidence in my own hodgepodge half-arsed approach and I may have to actually go and do some bloody learning on how to do it – a course or some such huge annoyance. This is not to say I will stop. The world-building is coming along. I have places I can visualise, and a general awareness of the layout and set-up. I have got an idea about the magic system that is pretty much nailed on. SO there are positives…I shall contemplate further.

Meanwhile I will start again. Surprisingly, this whole tortuous process has revealed a more refined plot and structure, though the ‘how’ to address it remains elusive.

Women, know your place!*


*This post title is a reference to Harry Enfield sketches that parodied the nineteen-fifties attitude to women, and NOT my personal opinion. I thought I’d better say that first rather than suffer the wrath of female-kind. I also thought it might send a rocket up some bums. That’s not a euphemism. Oh dear…

That said, the reason behind this post lies in a quick looksee at the Amazon top lists of Kindle Fantasy books, and how it showed that there were far more female fantasy authors than male (on the list at least), and that I had just finished reading some Trudi Canavan books.

Every pore of my being is teling me to just let it go and that whatever I say will be put down to misogynistic generalisation, but I am so bereft of inspiration for this blog that I am desperate and willing to court controversy to ease the blockage.

The books in question, by Ms Canavan, were her Traitor spy trilogy. To be honest, I forged through them only because I’d been foolish enough to fork out hard-earned cash for ’em, but I was perpetually annoyed by the tone throughout. I’ll concede it was well-written, but where I would normally get lost in the story – the characters, the scene-setting, world-building – this time I was constantly being reminded that the author was female. Whether it was the perspectives, the emotionally texture, the relentless FEELINGS, or the overt female-centric nature of the protagonists/plot, I just kept feeling that ‘gender’ was hovering over it like a big, lovely lady cloud, and that is not a feeling I get from male authors. That’s probably because I am a man, or maybe the title tricked me into not realising this was a romance…

I am not saying that there shouldn’t be love, romance and frissons aplenty (that’s part of the genre), I just don’t like it being overt and in yer face.

What that says about me as a reader (aside from I probably wouldn’t like 50 shades) I cannot tell. Maybe it infers that I am, on a fantasy novel basis, a misogynist? A fantamisogynist, if you will (dammit, that word is now MINE). It is certainly true that some of my favourite fantasy books have been by women, but I found myself scanning that Amazon list looking for male authors to look into, which surprised me somewhat. It may also say that I am repressed, emotionally, but I cried at Lassie films as a child, a fact which scotches that misconception sure enough.

It may come down to the nature of the beast. It would infer that writing in the fantasy genre is much more popular to women than men, or that female fantasy writers are just more successful, but I think it is certainly the case that fantasy is not a purely masculine vice as it might have seemed to have been in the past. I think that this is a damn good thing, but it is a shame that Trudi Canavan’s work (and it is a very well crafted bunch of books) and a number of other works by women, has made me yearn for male authors. Perhaps that is not a criticism of the books, as much as evidence of my own intransigence.

Saying that, I am very willing to be persuaded otherwise.

Navel-gazing


As both regular viewers of my posts will know, I am consistant in my inconsistency. I am 15k words into version 3.0 of my current project and I am at the point where I have to decide what my direction is, which has occurred on precisely two other starts of this story. It is a time of ponderous thought and introspection, which is what the regular blogger absolutely LOVEs. There’s nothing better than pontificating about yourself, even if you are pretty much the only person listening.

But you don’t want to hear about my woes, and my crippling inability to get more than a couple of thousand words out on a good day (an optimistic estimate) or how I have no actual talent for writing. No, you want to hear about something interesting.

Well sorry to disappoint, but the forging of a piece of writing IS introspection personified. It is no surprise that agoraphobics love to be writers, as do misanthropes and the perpetually angry, and the reason is that you can dwell on your opinions, your feelings and your peculiarities and use them as fodder to the writing. There are other reasons, but as an angry agoraphobic misanthrope I forget them.

Cathartic is the word. For me the writing is a chance to face the inner demons, of which I have a few –  impressive ones stacked away in my subconscious like angry bats. If I didn’t have my writing I would find my life significantly less bearable. Thank you, words.

 

Love spreads around…


Love is the topic for today. Love…rhymes with glove, which is interesting in ways I have yet to think of. Perhaps something about it sheathing the hand or something to do with fingers. Unpleasant and leathery.

But I digress.

I have been scribbling away in my sporadic manner, and I have found myself describing a scene where the thorny issue of love has raised it’s head. I am sure that many writers out there absolutely LOVE a bit of the old romance – it appears to be easy for them, although I have not looked into it (that spanks too much of research which itself spanks too much of organised effort, which all right-minded people should avoid at all cost). But I find the whole process enormously ridiculous, despite its necessity. Or perhaps because of that necessity.

Of course, LOVE is a part of life, as much as tedious local TV news and the rightful aversion to camping out, and as such it should feature in my character’s lives, but why do I find it all so, well, embarrassing?

Can it be my Britishness? We do have an aversion to overt expressions of intimacy or feelings (at least we did prior to 1997…Lady Di and all that….wow…talk about over the top. Thanks US). Or could it be more personal? Probably the latter.

It’s not a big issue, don’t get me wrong. I can write romantic shash until the cows wend their way back to their barn-of-birth, but while I am doing it I am realising with increasing annoyance that it IS shash. To me it seems that any real attempt to impart the feelings that occur in a romantic triste cannot help but be tawdry, tedious and contrived. It is so subjective.

Romance is the bedrock of a lot of stories, as is action, adventure and a beginning and an end, but the extent to which it features is up to the author. I am going to be careful that it does not become a central theme, which I admit is a decision of personal taste.

I’m just not going to dwell on it. I’m going to be doing the equivalent of sitting down, having a cup of Yorkshire Gold and being sensible about it, like a good old fashion Brit. I prefer it that way.

All the above is an excuse to post this drawing of mine. I LOVE IT!