Monday: Lost

Bit late today, as I’m always likely be late after a weekend of important political developments. My blog writing always comes after I’ve finished my more serious work, so this morning that meant a 1000 words about Tulsa.

I don’t think I approach either my more serious writing or my blog writing any different, except the latter is easier in that I can riff about anything. I’m not just limited to the facts. I can mention personal details, such as going to bed far too late last night. Brooklyn 99 gets better and better. I’m now deep into Series Three and think it’s possibly getting even funnier. Can’t recommend it more highly.

As I sit here, I’m a bit lost. Sunday was a strange day. I’m still wondering about my next project. The cartoon book is coming along as quickly or slowly as normal. I can’t really rush it. I need new ideas and those come as quickly as slowly as they come. Doing this blog has also reminded me how much I enjoy writing. I really want to write another book but I’m not sure what. That’s why I spent part of the yesterday going through some of my old projects. I found a short story I wrote last year which I might post on here. Not that anybody will like it but I do worry about losing these throwaway things. Blogging them gives them a bit of permanence, so long as I keep paying for this blog to live here in the cloud. I drew illustrations that went along with it but I fear I’ve lost them. I’ve no idea how that happened.

As for my unfinished projects: I have 50,000 words of a non-fiction book I was writing which was a mixture of mild philosophy, politics, and technology. Bits of it are really good (imho) but I feel the whole thing loses shape because some of the ideas I try to make are simply too big – it heads off into the weeds of AI, at one point. It’s always a problem with writing about ideas. You begin wanting to explain how a cheese grater works and the next minute you’re trying to explain the origins of the universe. I need to go back, take the 20,000 words of the opening that work, recover as much as the next 20,000 which mostly work, and then scrap the 10,000 that led me into trouble.

Then there’s a detective novel I wrote and finished. It’s 90,516 words. Set around 1870. London. Slightly cliched but I like certain clichés about the literature of that time. Again, I’m not sure it’s any good. It’s like most drafts: in need a serious rewrite and I haven’t the confidence. Somewhere I have a collection of short stories I wrote about the same characters. I should try to find them, if I can. I remember them as being pretty good or at least better than the novel.

Then there’s a sci-fi novel I started but went nowhere. It accounts for the worst bit of writer’s block I’ve had recently. A problem with me (and I think other writers) is that I get bogged down at the beginning. I end up with a brilliant opening chapter and then… absolutely nothing. I need to sit down and work out the whole thing before I begin but that requires understanding structure. I’ve tried a few times, think I get it, but lack the imagination to create the plot. I think that’s a problem of how my brain works. I come up with ideas by writing. Without the writing, invention becomes impossible.

Lastly, there’s the properly weird comedy I wrote which was a surreal comedy set in world where there was no reality, just a series of shifting illusions. Some good bits, again, but hit a block.

My life is a succession of projects, some which succeed (a time number get published) but a few fail. Sadly, the projects I really want to succeed rarely reach completion. I have other novels tucked away, some completed, and one so finished that it was with a publisher and about to hit bookshops before fate intervened and screwed me over.

I need the confidence to pick up one of these old projects and run with it to the end. The non-fiction book is the one that I think I have the most chance of finishing. The detective is written but I’m really not sure the plot holds together. The other two: I’d probably be better advised to work out a plot and start again. Blogging has reminded me that I do like writing.

2 thoughts on “Monday: Lost”

    1. Is does? I mean: it does! Problem is, I’ll need a big stick to get it into shape. But perhaps I’ll give it a shot…

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Why Dunciad.com?

It’s a cool domain name and it was available. Yes, I know. Available. Crazy, isn’t it?

Really?

Yes. It also helps that it’s also my favourite satire written by Alexander Pope, one of the most metrically pure English poets who also knew his way around a crude insult or two. If you’ve not read it, you should give it a try.

So this is satire, right?

Can’t deny it. There will be some. But it’s also an experiment in writing and drawing, giving work away for free in order to see how many people are willing to support a writer doing his thing. It’s the weird stuff that I wouldn’t get published elsewhere in this word of diminishing demands and cookie-cutter tastes.