Thursday, July 27, 2006

Peter F. Hamilton

Another post about writing.

Last night's BSFA interviewee was Peter F. Hamilton. I ought to confess, up front, that I've never read any of his books. The reason for this is that the ones my local library has are the three-inch-thick space opera series. (Which, according to Peter, required special new book-binding technologies to be invented in order not to have to cut them in half, or even smaller parts, as has happened in the US and Italy.) Since the majority of my reading time occurs on public transport on the way to and from work, and those books would have my arm off at the shoulder if I tried to carry them in my bag, I haven't read them.

But I now know that he has other books out, which are of a more practical size. (And if I like those, I can buy the space opera in smaller volumes next time I'm in the US...) So I'm looking forward to trying them.

Meanwhile, a piece of advice Peter was kind enough to say I could post here. According to Peter (who was only drinking ice-water at the time) there are three things you need in order to be a writer:

1. The ability to tell a story.
2. The ability to write prose.
3. The dedication to spend hours every day writing. "Even in weather like this."

Some of you may be aware that London (and indeed all of England) has been experiencing a record-breaking heatwave this month. But it's a good point - and the only reason I'm not working on a book now is that I've just finished the second draft of one - during the afore-mentioned heatwave. So now I'm doing research for the next one.

The thing I'm having trouble with is number 1. The story is all there in my head, it's just getting enough of it down on the page. I can do number 2, except when the story is giving me grief. If this heat keeps up, I know where I can find an air-conditioned library to write in. So watch this space.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Where did June go?

I haven't blogged much about writing here, but I may have to start. June disappeared into the black hole of me trying to write the ending of novel #2, draft #2. The monthly re-cap goes something like this:

June 1st: I've got it!
June 3rd: No I haven't.
June 7th: Yes I have, and it's bloody clever, too.
June 12th: No I haven't, it means making Jay act stupid on purpose.
June 15th: Well, back to the simple ending. At least it's finished.
June 20th: Noooooo! The simple ending sucks. I can't let anyone see it like this.
June 21st: But wait! If I just reverse what everybody does, the clever ending works after all!
June 23rd: Muahahahaha! It is written. Now to type it all in, carefully rearranging everything else so it fits.
June 30th: Phew! It's all typed in. It's done, I tell you, done!! Oh, except for the missing bits in the middle where I still haven't put real changes in, instead of notes to self.

I've left out all the moaning and beating my head against the desk. And I'm still doing those last little bits. And every week, I tell you, every week, I sat there thinking 'this week I'll finish it.'

So this week, I really will. Really.