Monday, 14 April 2014

And a slight re-schedule...

In the attempt to spend more time with my partner, we're currently watching Game of Thrones in the evenings. My feelings for the show are pretty mixed; I think there's loads of stuff that's extremely problematic, and quite a few things I like. However, I've also been spoilered by the internet, so the whole Robb plotline kind of doesn't have the same impact. I think we're pretty much united on how much we're enjoying Cersei, though, and Lady Olenna has certainly made an impact. Otherwise, as a historian, I'm finding all the bits and bobs "loaned" from history amusing.

In writing/editing terms, I've got a novel edit back and am currently making my way through. And after much planning and hand-wringing and re-planning, I decided to place the historical novel on the backburner again. After pushing that book around for about three years, three more weeks won't make that much of a difference.

There's also going to be more about Silvio and Franco in 2015, which means writing all that by September. So, yeah, four novels to write by September, and that's just solo stuff. I expect we'll do at least 1-2 more Market Garden books and a co-written historical in the same period.

Monday, 7 April 2014

And it's a wrap

I've finished my editing pass on what I've lovingly called my #BehemothNovel on Twitter. It was originally 127k words, and I've cut 22k without any great losses to the story. I've become a much tighter writer in those 5-6 years since that draft.

I wrenched my back a few days ago, but went immediately to an acupuncturist and he did the needle thing (my first--never been), something with electricity, cupping and finally a massage. He did manage to keep me mobile rather than allow the back to freeze up, like it normally does. Five days later, I'm good--though my shoulder hurts from, I assume, compensating/tension. But I can walk and lift and put my socks on, so it's all good.

Now, I've been teasing people with my WWII novel for more than a year. It's the novel I hint at in Skybound, and the project is already about 30k, though I kept getting sidetracked with other books and real life issues. Now, with the Behemoth Novel in the can, and in between getting edits back on a different project, I'm returning to the WWII novel I've dubbed the Birds Book. Today I'll clean up my desk and arrange my research books all around me, then put the most recent version on my Kindle and re-read what I've written. I expect to go in deep and hard--that's not a book that's easy to write, or even light and funny, so I'm expecting to work on this for the next 6-7 weeks (end-May is about my estimate) and do pretty much nothing else but come up for air. (And those edits.)

In other news, I read Line and Orbit, which I enjoyed, especially for the evocative writing and the scale of the worldbuilding. It made me want to write some military sci-fi along the lines of Dark Edge of Honor again, but that will have to wait for a little. I'd definitely want to have a plot first.

Along a similar vein, I've also finished watching The Pacific. The Pacific Theatre is not something that Germans are usually very aware of, so quite a bit of that was news to me. I'd be interested to read a military history that focuses on that overall conflict (including Korea and Vietnam) with a strategic/sociological focus. Unlike with Band of Brothers, I won't be buying the book by Hugh Ambrose--as a military historian, Ambrose just rubs me the wrong way, which is quite possibly my fault more than his, but then, maybe I'm just not his target audience. Anyway. I do have a tiny bunny that's based on an event in the Pacific Theatre ever since I watched the still excellent World at War.

So, yeah, my headspace will be decidedly WWII/apocalyptic in the next six weeks. I'm hoping I'll make some serious progress by my birthday, that would be nice. :)

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The joys of editing

I know. Me saying "the joy of editing" is a bit like starting off on the pleasure of unassisted ocular surgery. But in this case, it's actually true. Self-editing is usually my least favourite part of the process, though it's obviously necessary.

In this case, though, the book's been sitting untouched on my harddrive since 2009. I thought it was a write-off, but I re-read it to ascertain just how bad it would be re-vamping it. And the truth is - the story is good. The characters are even very good. And the writing doesn't sound like me very much, but it has moments of brilliance. It also has a million tangents and repetitions and loose plot threads that I never really cleaned up. It was a book I pantsed, so I didn't really know where it was going, but it has a really quite special energy and mood, so I've been at it for a bout two weeks now, chipping away and applying what I've learned from my editors in the meantime.

And it's fun. Five years later, I have zero emotional or ego attachment to any of the scenes or sentences. (Though I still love those characters, hard.) There's moments when I roll my eyes at my younger self - "Oh, author really thinks he's being clever here" - and that's okay. I was a different person when I wrote it, and I now have the skills to fix this book, and most of the fixing is on the pacing/language level. It's amazing to see the story emerge from this fairly rough draft. And it's a luxury to have that amount of distance--a luxury rarely afforded in this "fast turnaround" type of publishing. I mean, I'm impatient with the worst of them.

So, yeah. This one's fun. It's also beautifully responsive and trusting. It's a breathing thing, this book, and it's so rewarding to polish it up. If wish self-editing were like this every time, because then I could really get into it. Fingers crossed.

ETA: NOT an April Fool. Honest. (I should check the calendar before I post stuff like this...)