The Next Big Thing

The excellent Laura Stanfill tagged me for The Next Big Thing, a very interesting questionnaire about what you’re working on.

I am working on two things at the moment. I have decided to pick the one which is closest to being publishable.

The Next Big Thing

The rules:

  1. Give credit to the person who tagged you. 
  2. Explain the rules.
  3. Answer the ten questions about your current WIP. 
  4. Tag five other writers to participate.

1. What is the working title of your book?

A Turquoise Song. This has been the title from the beginning, although I am currently splitting the book in two so I will have to come up with a new name for the second half at some point.

2. Where did the idea come from for your book?

I was resting after a yoga session once and I dreamed of turquoise notes wending their way through the air. I knew almost immediately that it was about synaesthesia (a neurological condition where the senses are cross-connected) and the core relationship between Ghen and Ariel emerged very early, but it took a long time to figure out the story.

What made the story into something other than just a pretty title was moving the book from the present day into the future: having synaesthesia be an asset when working with artificial minds was a powerful insight, which did not work in the present (and I tried).

3. What genre does the book fall under?

Science fiction, specifically near future SF since it is set about 75 years hence.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters for the movie rendition?

The two most central characters are Ghen Wishart, a synaesthete and repairer of AIs, and Ariel McKenzie, his protegé.

John Cusack could play Ghen, although he might be a little old for the role now. Gethin Anthony, who plays Renly Baratheon in Game of Thrones, has the right look and is about the right age.

Mia Wasikowska as she appears in Alice in Wonderland would be good as Ariel.

5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

A synaesthetic repairer of AIs helps a deranged police robot and uncovers a world-changing conspiracy.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My original plan was to self-publish this one and then seek representation for the other book I am working on (called Bluehammer), but I think I am going to seek representation for this novel too.

7. How long did it take you to finish the first draft of your manuscript?

The writing took thirty days – I wrote the draft during NaNoWriMo 2011. The final validated word count was a bit more than 80,000 words. However, this idea came to me in 2005 and I spent some time before the writing on figuring out the setting and the plot.

I’ve just finished re-outlining the story from the first half into a full length novel.

8. What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?

Halting State and Rule 34 by Charles Stross for the near-future setting. There are also singularity elements to it which give another strand of comparison to Stross’s writing.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I have been fascinated by synaesthesia for a long time – it’s an extraordinary neurological condition, where every case is different: some people see sounds, others can taste colours, and so on. Having synaesthetes being uniquely qualified to repair artificial consciousnesses seemed like an interesting way of bringing the condition to the fore.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

It is very firmly set in Portland, which is where I live. One of the most entertaining things about the drafting process was coming up with ways in which Portland and Oregon might have changed in 75 years.

Time to play tag:

As Laura mentioned in her tagging of me, my blog is fairly new and I am new to the whole idea of writing community outside of NaNoWriMo. I’m going to tag a couple of authors that I know from Portland NaNoWriMo who I don’t think have done this questionnaire before: Gregory S. Lamb and Cathy Danielson.

3 Replies to “The Next Big Thing”

  1. Laura says:

    Fun to learn more about your work, Duncan. It’s especially cool to see how the deranged robot factors into the rest of the plot. Thanks for playing along!

  2. Thanks Duncan – Yep I’ve done one of these before, so I recycled it. I pushed the link on Twitter and Facebook to a few “Indies” I know and posted on my blog tagging another rather successful “Indie” so I think we’ve covered a few bases today:

  3. Yay! Thanks for tagging me!! I totally admit, I was a little skeptical about this being a real thing at first (Y’all probably know how spam comments are getting more and more sophisticated.) But I checked it all out, and yep, it’s real. I’ll have mine up soon, and I’ll pass it forward it to others. 🙂

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