Writing

Novel Update #8 – Paused

What Dreams Update

What Dreams and Interesting Carictars have both been on hold most of September while I’ve been working on my research paper. I hate it, but you know how it is. I can multitask, but a novel and a research project both require a kind of permanent attention from me. It’s always got to be in the back of my mind for me to make progress, so I can only do one at a time. (And I just plain haven’t had time for IC.) However, as with last month, I left off WD at a good point where I’m happy with what I wrote and I know what comes next, and I’ve been itching to get to it for weeks. I’m making good progress on the paper and associated tasks, so I should be back up and running during the end of October and/or November.

I’m at 23,375 words, which is actually a bit lower than it was last month — I consolidated a few things.

Supplemental Reading

man who bridged the mist, johnsonI do have a good supplemental reading to recommend — the short story/novelette “The Man Who Bridged the Mist” by Kij Johnson. This was recommended on Speculiction and I found it in the 29th annual The Year’s Best Science Fiction. It’s a long short story about a man who builds a bridge over a river of mist filled with monsters, and how he falls in love during the five-year project, and how it changes lives. I loved it. I was impressed by the characterization — it’s hard to do character-based short stories — and the excellent worldbuilding. We get enough of everything, always, even more than enough, but not enough for us to stop wanting more. Kij Johnson did a great job of incorporating the mechanics and engineering of building a big suspension bridge, and I need to work on those technicalities more. Kij also does a pitch-perfect job of describing a character’s internal life, without just infodumping everything… Showing earlier and later times, showing emotions, showing thoughts the way people actually think them — invested with meaning. That’s the kind of tone I want to keep in mind. Highly recommended!

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7 thoughts on “Novel Update #8 – Paused

  1. I know what it’s like to have to put fiction work on hold thanks to school – just don’t leave it hanging for too long. I studied journalism, and since it’s not only writing, but a different kind of writing, I put my fiction work on hold for several years. By the time I finished it, I lost interest in what I was working on and started on a new series. I might eventually return to my previous stuff, but probably not for a while and I’ll probably just start over if and when I do.

    Good recommendation too. I haven’t decided on my reading goals for next year yet. I might try to mix it up with more novellas and short stories instead of just novels and comics.

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    1. Heh, I nearly went into journalism. Ill-advised choice, ditched it after two classes, but do still think it’s interesting! I’ve wandered off from writing for that long before, but that’s part of the reason I’m determined not to do it this time. I just change too much from one point to the next, and nothing will ever get written that way anyway.

      Let me know what you think if you read it! That blog I linked to is a good source for recommendations on both full-length and shorter sci-fi, edging into fantasy. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on short fiction as well.

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      1. I’m starting to think it was ill advised too. While parts of it were enjoyable and it did help my fiction writing in a few minor ways, I graduated more than a year ago and have had no luck in finding a job.

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        1. I’m sorry to hear that. Those are hard to come by these days. 😦 I just knew it was too high-pressure for me on the one hand, and I didn’t get any enjoyment out of it on the other — I could write articles, but it was all perfunctory.

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  2. I’ve always meant to read Kij Johnson… I will have to check this out!

    Also! It occurs to me that you would highly enjoy a short story collection I just finished. It’s called Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee. Her stories are literally the most complex and highly developed short fiction I’ve ever read. It’s mostly hard sci-fi (and a little fantasy) heavily influenced by Korean history and culture, and every story features a strong female main character in some way. I was totally blown away by the collection and I think you’d really enjoy it. 🙂

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