Next year I’ll celebrate 40 years of stories. I stopped counting before the indie revolution and I was already over 500 titles, with less than 10 unfinished.
Before you ask: yes, they suck. No, I will never publish most of those stories, although I did throw the very first in a couple of books, because I wanted to show bad writing and I didn’t know how to show that except by using my own beginner writing.
I’m not even rewriting most of those stories, just keeping them as background or world-building if it’s SFF, especially if I wrote them last century. Of course all were unpublished, since I started putting my work out there only in 2011 and joined KWL at its inception in 2012.
Barbara’s global sales via her Kobo Writing Life Dashboard map #KWLMap
You can knock Wikipedia all you like, but I discovered some truly interesting information about the descendants of J.R.R. Tolkein, just by doing a bit of research on the Mabinogion.
Christopher Tolkein deserves all the credit in the world for the existence of The Silmarillion. It was he who edited his father’s chaotic papers and drafts into the grand manuscript of the First Age. Plus, Christopher was actually part of the Inklings, the club of scholars and writers who included C.S. Lewis. J.R.R. called Christopher “his chief critic and collaborator”. He also drew many of the original maps of Middle Earth.
Simon Tolkein, Christopher’s son, is a novelist in his own right, and publicly broke with his father over the reaction of the Tolkein estate to Peter Jackson’s films. There was rumor that Christopher even disowned Simon over it, but they have supposedly since reconciled. His most recent novel, set during WWI and published coincident to the Battle of the Somme, is at least a partial homage to his grandfather’s experience in that battle.
Nicholas Tolkein, Simon’s son, is a playwright and director in Los Angeles. His first play premiered this past summer.
My writing tip #234: Don’t read books on writing while trying to write a novel. First of all, it usually sheds bad light on whatever you are writing and secondly, it can make you overly ambitious.
I agree. What you need when you’re working on something is Inspiration. It doesn’t come bottled, but in my experience, it comes in paperback form. So what you should be reading is what will make you want to write.
The cusp of the post is the writer giving herself permission to write the novel she’s writing, rather than the epoch-shaking political work she feels like she’s supposed to be working on.
I also agree. Writing is art, and art is more important than poltics. As I have above my Twitter feed: Politics is now; Art is forever.
I’m going through something similary with Last Tomorrow. I’m torn between wanting to polish its rough corners and letting it be the little postabpocalyptic homage to Mask of the Red Death that it is. It’s a novella. I’m not going to turn it into a novel. I’ve got an actual novel I’m working on, plus shorts for the next issue of Unnamed Journal. But I want it to be the best it can be.
And how do I know which way is right? I won’t until its over.
I may not have mentioned this before, but I have a blog on Tumblr that is devoted to a somewhat geeky and idiosyncratic project: reviewing every music CD I own. It’s called Every. Damn. CD. and it’s got quite a history. I’ve been working on it for a long time, because I have long spells of being unable to work on it. And the structure – by genre, in alphabetical order – makes sense for the blog, but doesn’t always inspire work flow.
ANYway, I’m in my jazz cd’s right now, and I’m currently working on John Coltrane, who I’ve never been as devoted to as other people who like jazz are. The fault is doubtless mine.
As I’ve announced before, a good bit of Last Tomorrow was written on the fly. Like the US Navy in WWII, I simply went around difficulties. That’s fun, but at some point, you have to force those little hidden Japanese jungle plot holes (I’m getting all the elasticity this metaphor has, thank you very much) to surrender. And I just hit a big one in the second chapter. Something happens and I don’t know who caused it to happen. It’s not super-important plot-wise, so I could just get rid of it, but it’s kind of important thematically, so I don’t want to.
And I need to decide who caused it to happen, otherwise it doesn’t make any sense. And I’m really not sure who it would be that did it. So I’m going to have to figure it out, or rework the event so that it makes sense.