Every now and again I like to remind myself that this blog is essentially my writer’s diary. As such its primary purpose is to record events relevant to my life as a writer. Sometimes the links are a little tenuous but mostly I try to keep on track.
I now have the cover for the third in my Booker & Cash series Poor Hands. It was another difficult choice to make from the suggestions that the excellent cover designer Kit Foster sent over. After a little bit of tweaking this is the one I’m going with.
Now I must find time to give the thing another read through so that I can forward it along the line for proofreading. I really, really, must. But I can’t get away from my current work in progress (WIP) – my attempt at Young Adult dystopian fiction. It’s monopolising all my writing and reading time. I’m so engrossed in the new project that I don’t want to break the spell. Over the last two weeks I’ve averaged between four and five thousand words a day, which is pretty good going for me. One day this week I’d managed five thousand words by lunch time. My brain felt like it was going to overheat and I had to retire to the gym to let off some steam. Sometimes I have to force myself to leave the flat or I honestly believe I could sit at the computer all day.
I said reading time too. It’s a first for me that I’m reading other fiction to deliberately influence my fiction writing in a focussed way. I’m not talking about reading other fiction so that I can avoid using the ideas other writers have imagined for a dystopian world, I’m talking about reading them to incorporate the best of their ideas. There’s a good reason for this that I hope I can justify with the telling of the tale.
On my list of books to read, or reread in most cases, are George Orwell’s 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Jack London’s The Iron Heel. I recently read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and I’m currently reading We by Yevgeny Zamyatin.
I’d never heard of We until I embarked on this reading for research. It was first published in 1924 and is credited as being highly influential for some of the writers and the books I’ve linked with them above. I’m enjoying it and I can see a lot of the influence of this work in the writing of Orwell’s 1984 particularly.
A bizarre coincidence that I can’t begin to fathom to do with the book We. For reasons that I have no idea about I decided to call my central female protagonist Dee. A few pages into We and the name Dee is used. What are the odds? It’s not exactly a common name. The book is nearly a hundred years old and translated from Russian. I know what you’re thinking – I’ve read this book before. I haven’t. I would know if I had.
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a thing for dystopian and post-apocolyptic fiction both books and films. I’m very happy to be finally having a go myself.
Something I’ve realised about my writing: I need to ‘see’ it in order to write it. I’ve mentioned here before how writing B&C conjures up vivid images of Romney Marsh for me to draw on. I visualise every scene in those books and the Acers and the Romney and Marsh Files. But the current WIP is the most visually realised book I’ve worked on. It’s bordering on startling at times to ‘wake up’ from a scene and find myself not down a sewer in a broken city but at my desk. I wonder if I might be going just a little bit mad.
A couple of stats to record for posterity this week: Rope Enough (Romney and Marsh File #1) received it’s 1100th comment on Amazon UK and Goodreads ratings for all my books crawled past the 2900 mark with a fairly healthy batting average.