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The benefits of taking a break

The one week break from writing turned into a fortnight's break, but I think that was even better for me because I seem to have got my ideas mojo back and I'm feeling much more enthusiastic about tackling the Interminable Re-Writes of Doom.

In fact, things are starting to come together plot wise for the historical zombie novel that I want to write once I've completed the Interminable Re-Writes of Doom. I know for definite that it will have the following:

- Zombies. Lots of zombies;

- A musket wielding heroine with a hunger for revenge;

- A sea voyage marred by monsters and storms;

- A neurotic male apprentice who witnesses things that make him even more neutoric; and

- A sinister villain ingratiating himself into the upper echelons of society.

I'm still playing around with the following:

- a friend/sidekick for the heroine. I'm playing about with the idea of their being a native American or a slave because both existed at the time and the research I've done shows that they could and did travel, but equally I'm nervous about crossing into race-fail. The thing is though - I get bored with just reading about white people (and I say that even though I am a candidate for Whitest Person on the Planet) and if I can justify having a more ethnically diverse cast of characters, then I would really like to go down that route;

- certain historical events. I'd love to include 2 key events from history but the difficulty is wrapping them into the narrative in a way that makes them believable without (a) disrespecting the original events or (b) stretching them too far from the truth;

- romance. I'm not a fan of romance (when it's done well, it's fine but too often it's in there because it's become a staple of YA fiction and it's annoying);

- disgusting openings. I have two to choose from - a horrible event that kickstarts one character's story or a disgusting (and historically true) medical procedure that would introduce the other character. Narratively, I should do the former, but the disgusting operation just really, really appeals to me (because it really is absolutely digusting).

I did manage to get my dates wrong this week because Joshua Ferris was speaking at City University on Monday and not Tuesday, which meant that I didn't make it to MM on Monday night (and then couldn't go on Wednesday night either due to work matters). All rather frustrating.

For those who might not know of Joshua Ferris, his debut book was the multi-award winning Then We Came To The End, which is told in the first person plural (and there aren't too many books that use that devise) to tell of the adventures of a group of office workers at an advertising agency going through tough economic times. His second book is The Unnamed, which is about a successful lawyer who develops a strange (and unnamed) condition that compels him to keep walking. It's had much more mixed reviews although, I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

Anyway, Ferris himself was an interesting speaker and talked about a large number of things, including his writing method (he writes in longhand on huge notepads and then transfers it into type), the success of his first book and some of the feedback he's had since he started doing promotions for his second. There was one particularly funny story about an experience he has in San Francisco, which is one of those things that makes you wince as well as giggle. From what he said about the second book, I've got to say that I left with the impression that it probably wasn't going to be my kind of thing. But the author was great and the fact that he was willing to speak to a load of MA Creative Writing students has undoubtedly won him a lot of fans (myself included).

I'm on holiday for the next few days while I knuckle down on the old writing. I've promised myself that if I get one of the Really Horrible Chapters finished then I'll treat myself to seeing The Crazies on Monday night because it's kinda sorta got zombies in it if you squint really hard and ignore the fact that they're not technically zombies. Ahem.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Feb. 28th, 2010 11:18 am (UTC)
I saw "The Crazies" Friday night. It IS a zombie movie only instead of zombies it's living people with a disease that makes you look and act exactly like a zombie, down to be being grey-fleshed, cloudy eyed, having dark blood running out of your orifices, and being possessed of an irresistable urge to kill.

So you won't have to squint very hard at all, is what I'm saying.

Today I am doing Nice Movies. Ponyo and hopefully The Princess and the Frog.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )