Month: November 2012

The Pleasure of Multiverses

I really like complicated stories. Some of my favourite books are kilopage novels or involved sagas, but complicated stories do not need to be long.

Three stories I have read in the last year strike me as being thematically connected through their use of multiverses. All of these are by authors who I follow.

Palimpsest is a novella by Charles Stross (collected in his short story anthology Wireless) which describes the many possible futures of humanity using a multiply braided lifetime of one man. It’s an invigorating read, and it’s easy to see why it won a Hugo.

Interworld is a YA novel by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reeves, is about a young man discovering his world-walking powers and being challenged to fight against extremism in multiple forms. This was originally conceived as a TV series, this book effectively being the pilot episode, and it would have been glorious.

Transition is a nominally mainstream novel by Iain Banks, but this is even more plainly science fiction than some of his other non-M books such as The Bridge. Transition describes a multiverse spanning organisation called The Concern whose mission is stability, but which may have a hidden agenda. This is the most difficult read of all of these since the narrative structure is the most complex, but this adds to the interesting complicatedness for me since a good deal of the fun is in figuring out just who is talking and when.

Any of these are great brain stretchers..

What are some of your most invigoratingly complicated favourites?

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 22

Words for the Day: 615
Total To Date: 51,403
Chapters Written: 21 / 33

Short day today since we have family visiting in amongst the usual festivities of the day, but this closes out the twenty first chapter of this month’s story. Twelve left to write.

For those in the US, happy Thanksgiving. I hope you enjoy the day, and if you don’t that the experience will be good fodder for your writing.

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 21

Words for the Day: 2,372
Total To Date: 50,788
Chapters Written: 20.8 / 33

50k! Hooray!

This has been an interesting day in terms of ramifications – the thoughts I had yesterday about justifying certain plot details have been reified today, MC #3 has been brought properly low, and I am ready for the stage-setting on the next phase of his plot arc.

I have a little more than twelve chapters left to write, which will probably be around 2.5k in length each. That means I have at least another 25k to write, possibly as much as 37k. The question again arises of whether I will finish the story by the end of the month.

But I have, in NaNoWriMo terms, already won. It is not the end, but it is remarkable how much of a load off my shoulders that feels.

How are your goals? Are you on target? Even nearly?

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A Process Still Evolving

I have been writing novels for nine years. I am pretty effective at generating words, at least during the month of November and when other similar deadlines are introduced.

Where I have trouble is in turning that ball of words into finished manuscript.

This is the hard bit that I have not got a handle on yet.

I start by reading the manuscript – is it worth continuing with?

The second thing I do is to do a typo edit. I am a colossal pedant when it comes to language and grammar, a tendency I have to fight against so that I do not use too many words and too repetitive a phrasing. What this really does is give me a second go through the story.

After that things get a bit more wobbly. I have done outlines after the fact, and I have spent time scraping the text for setting information (I have three extensive mind maps which form the world book for my main WIP), but what I am really looking for is a way to have compelling narrative within the story so that the readers will want to keep reading.

That is what this November is about for me, in fact: taking an aimless story and introducing plot elements that give more punch to the narrative. I have also done some rework on the main character plot arcs so that they are also a bit more compelling. Come the end of the month I should have a great deal more material to work with to construct a manuscript which is more compelling.

And a few weeks after it is printed out, I will sit down to read it.

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 20

Words for the Day: 2,944
Total To Date: 48,416
Chapters Written: 19.5 / 33

A productive day! Quite surprised, but a couple of important justifications for plot points I had struggled to make sense of emerged today. For example, rather than have the Church reveal real reasons for the persecution, I have come up with a much more satisfactory fake reason.

But – 50k tomorrow! I can feel it!

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 19

Words for the Day: 2,010
Total To Date: 45,472
Chapters Written: 18.5 / 33

A pretty well disrupted day, but I have a better sense of how things are going with the side plot for MC #3. He’s up to his eyes in a plan which he is doing for all the right reasons, but will it pay off?

The actual writing time today did not start well since I just could not get out of bed first thing. It seems I am fighting something off – I had a teeth cleaning this morning, and the dental hygienist said my tonsils looked pretty swollen. So the fact that I got more than a thousand words at lunch, and then another few hundred just now before I toddle off to bed, is all that saved me – no writing on the bus home because it was too crowded.

On with the jollity tomorrow. Hopefully I will be able to get out of bed early enough to write.

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Plugging In The Plot

I hope I do not jinx things here, but it seems pretty likely that I will reach the NaNoWriMo word count goal. However this is an unusual year, since I am not only working on an existing manuscript, I am working on only a part of that manuscript: the material I am writing is intended to be inserted in amongst existing text.

This means that my process at the end of the month will be rather different than usual. What I usually do is to type “The End”, then print out the book and hide it away in a drawer for a bit.

But when I finish the last section of text in this work I will first have to integrate the new text in with the old before I make a hard copy.

I want to avoid doing editing – I will be far too close to the material to make good choices – but how I am working on this means that editing should not be too much of  temptation. The chapters I am writing are for the most part either new or simple replacements for existing chapters, so the actual plugging in process should not require me to smooth things out too much – I have a plan that I am following, here, a detailed breakdown of how each scene in the existing outline relates to the new plot concepts. I reckon that will take a couple of solid hours to implement.

Then I can print it out. It should be about 150,000 works or so in total for the draft.

That is something I am rather looking forward to seeing. I will no doubt expend the juice of many red pens when reading it through for the first time.

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 18

Words for the Day: 0
Total To Date: 43,462
Chapters Written: 17.5 / 33

No writing today and no prospect of it now, so I am officially declaring this a Day Off.

I did fix the kitchen tap, though, by replacing the leaky one with that that doesn’t leak. Not a completely satisfactory solution, but the leak was inside the moulded body of the tap which is not meant to be dismantled. So, new tap.

Back on the halter beast tomorrow.

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 17

Words for the Day: 2,643
Total To Date: 43,462
Chapters Written: 17.5 / 33

Bit of a change of pace, today. Yesterday I finished a big climactic scene, and today I am back to building up to another climax and writing about a different character who has a rather different relationship to the Empire and the Church than the other two MCs do.

I am pretty pleased to have got any writing done at all today, really. I feel pretty rough after the game last night and although I was granted some time to write, I was not sure how productive I was going to be. So, a decent day by those standards.

I should hit 45k tomorrow – even with the necessary plumbing – and probably 50k on Tuesday.

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NaNoWriMo 2012: Day 16

Words for the Day: 3,753
Total To Date: 40,891
Chapters Written: 16.5 / 33

Another flying day – got two chapters completed, and made a good start on another one in a different MC’s narrative. I am hoping that jumping stories is not going to throw people off too much when they read this.

And I am at last at the halfway point on chapters. Woo hoo!

Weekend looks doubtful as weekends often do – I am roleplaying tonight which tends to muck up Saturday, and at some point this weekend I have to fix the kitchen tap.

I hate plumbing.

But a good day and I have reason to be pleased with some of what I have written I think.

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