Monday, 25 March 2013

One year after the Mslexia novel writing competition

Having had a busy winter, I'm ready to start spring in a new position. My first book, The Secrets of Life and Death is planned to be released in October 2013, I have an almost complete draft of book 2, and A Baby's Bones is ready to edit for next year. With rewrites, edits and new writing, I have written two hundred and fifty thousand reasonable words in one year. Book 1 is at the copy editor, and I'm waiting with bated breath to see what she has to say and what I have to do to get the book polished and sorted for the proof copies. Wow. What a fantastic year.

I'm also enjoying being part of a new imprint. Del Rey UK is part of Random House/Ebury and is concentrating on publishing fantasy, streampunk and science fiction, and all the crossovers between them. It's been lovely contacting Liesel Schwarz and E.J.Swift, and hearing their experiences of writing and publishing. It's also been great reading their own books and getting excited about Steampunk and Sci/Fi again.

I'm now in limbo (a bit). I've got a very clear picture of book 3, if book 1 and 2 do OK, maybe I'll be able to get that written and sold as well, but there are no promises or certainties in publishing. Meanwhile, I need to do what any writer at any point in their career needs to do, keep writing, keep coming up with characters and plot, and keep the fingers moving, despite the unseasonably cold weather. I'm getting involved with a community project, which is taking up some of my energy and time, but it would be too easy to let it take over! The house is also in chaos as we lift carpets and sand floors, and decorate the last few rooms. Just one bedroom and bathroom to go and then we're almost sorted. Well, almost ready to run around with a paintbrush again, probably, this house is like the Forth bridge, you get to one end and start again at the other. Chaos in my surroundings does make it hard to concentrate on writing, so I'm trying a new approach.

My crime book is three different perspectives on the same events, the victim's, the criminal's, and the man imprisoned for the crime. All three have quite abnormal psychology: one is traumatised, one is the victim of a violent and chaotic childhood, and one is a psychopath. Unlike most of my books, I've kind of met all three... I'm using a scrapbook approach rather than attempting a straight narrative. In order to stay in the victim's POV, for example, I'm writing her story in bits while staying, like a method actor, more in her head. Every now and then the psychopath intrudes with a journal entry of his own. It's slightly worrying when these characters start talking to you and push their way onto the page... It does help while the house is mad, anyway. I'm really looking forward to having the floors sanded and varnished and the furniture back in place. It remains to be seen if I can stitch a scrapbook of bits into a book that makes sense and has a proper narrative, though...