Tag Archives: Being a ‘writer’

Hopes and Schemes – The Promise of Fiction

So, I have this problem.

I love reading, I really love reading. I’ve got huge stacks of books left to read and I’ve read huge stacks of book. The one problem is that bigger than either of these stack, is the stacks of books I’ve started but not finished.

I’m terrible at it.

I’ve started two books in the last week. One of them I only got two pages in before deciding I wanted to read something else first. (It’s the second in a series, I decided I wanted a break before continuing).

So instead I read something else. A book I bought on a whim last year because I thought the central idea sounded amazing.

Now here’s the problem.

I am enjoying this book thoroughly. But I’m pretty sure it’s not turning out to be the book I originally intended on reading.

It couldn’t be…that book doesn’t exist.

Yet.

But let me explain further.

The book I just finished reading is the first book in the Riverworld Saga ‘To Your Scattered Bodies Go’. I enjoyed it, despite it lapsing into sexist and old fashioned views quite regularly, it’s definitely a little dated now, though part of that is because the main character is a Victorian Explorer.

Now, the basic premise of this series is incredible. Everybody in the history of Earth has been resurrected. Absolutely everybody. By some mysterious force. On a strange and vaguely Paradisical world. With no idea what’s going on.

Just think about that for a while….think of all the possible stories you can have in a world where everybody in history, from the cruellest dictator to the humblest peasant. From the most modern to the prehistoric. Every person ever.

There’s a lot of fun to be had in that setting.

The book picks a good path and makes for an entertaining yarn. But as the book continues, the options and possibility narrow. A narrative path is chosen and the adventures you imagined become, well…part of what you imagined but no longer part of the world that you’re reading.

I enjoyed the book, but I enjoyed my imagination more.

I guess this ain’t that bad, but it is frustrating.

Now, the book I’ve just started reading is called ‘Dying Inside‘ by Robert Silverberg. So far it’s actually been great, and quite unexpected it it’s route. But I still can’t help but think that the central idea is so fascinating, that I’m missing out on a million other stories that I want to read.

The central premise is that an aging telepath, as he grows old, is losing his power to read minds.

Really simple, but give space to have the whole raft of fears and worries about growing old and fading in a totally new way. It’s even got that Epilogue to The Tempest thing going on for it.

The emotional depth of the book, even just a few chapters in is incredible. It’s winding mid life crisis, with being a bit of a moody bastard, with the touching beauty (and horror) of being able to experience another person’s mind, with losing that, and hating it even more than you hated the power itself.

It’s powerful reading.

But it’s not the story my mind was imagining.

But then, that’s actually the joy of books really isn’t it. Seeing how someone elses mind works. It really is a joy; surprises come from that.

Now, us writers (ha) we know what that’s like from the inside, we’ve been surprised by ourselves, but its still not the same.

You can get so angry at an author when the characters don’t do what makes sense to you. But you remember, the characters aren’t you. The author isn’t you. You’re finding out things that don’t come from you.

Seeing into another persons mind.

Books are great.

***

I’ve kind of rushed this because I have to go to work, but still, what do you think?

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Controversy and Short Stories

So, first of all the novel’s started off, not a great start, but a start nonetheless. Actually, I’m quite happy with it so far. I’m just very much unsure of where to start of the main piece. I’m gonna keep thinking about it and keep adding extra description to the opening. A more full post on this will follow.

Anyway, the real point of my article was to talk about the very controversial issue of abortion that I was reminded of by an excellent article by Zoe Williams in the G2 supplement of the Guardian on Friday. Without going into detail on this article, basically it’s a bit of a wake up call. It just made me realise that some of my qualms are unreconcilable with my actual beliefs. Read it, and see if you agree. If you want to discuss abortion feel free to do it on this post. Please don’t in the post which follows. The post which follows (above) is a short story I wrote for a course for a course on Short Fiction at my university. This course was a wee bit pretentious (as expected for English Literature) and so the piece I produced is to. It’s full of literary allusions and other pretensions, and even some obscure references to things that only a couple of my friends will understand completely, and some that only DOS users will understand (The whole thing is vaguely modernist/post-modernist in way; I attempt to get it to explore the issues quite subjectively and shockingly but also fragmented and incomplete). I don’t think the piece reflects my opinions on the matter, its more of an attempt to just muse and reflect on some things that happen in the world we are in. I don’t know how it comes across, that’s what you’re here for. In the comments line for that post I would like any constructive (or destructive, I don’t mind) criticism of the piece itslef. I just want to isolate the debate on the issue from the discussion of the piece. I don’t want to defend they views of the piece, as they are not necessarily my own. Sorry if I’m a bit odd about this. Just don’t want to stir up too much controversy. For those who want to read the piece, the password is ‘abortretryfail’. This makes it accessible to all who want to read it. If you suspect you’re going to get offended and start hating me, then just don’t read it. Even if you’re just a bit squeamish, part of it was very distressing to write and (hopefully) carries the same effect through to the reading, so don’t read if you’re worried.

Anyway, there you go…debate abortion here if you want, and read the story above if you want. Just don’t come crying to me when you’re eyes start bleeding or you get struck down by your wrathful Lord..or something like that.

Now I’m just courting controversy on purpose. Ah well.

Anyway, read Ms Williams’ article, read my story if you want and say what you think, as usual anything goes apart from attacking other people in a personal manner. Bring it on (or choose not to..its up to you).