Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Writer panic

I've written this thing, a space opera, it's 86'000 words long and within a spit of being a finished first draft. I'm probably finishing off the big payoff action sequence as you read this (or at least tweeting about it which si almost the same. IT IS.). This is my second novel where I think I'm writing at somewhere near a saleable level. The feedback for my last one was good writing but not commercial enough. Fair enough, it was written in a deliberately obtuse style cos sometimes I am.

So what I decided to do was to write something very commercial, Drop first person, drop intrusive voice and go third person multi viewpoint space opera. I suppose it was partly an experiment in 'can I do this?' I've written shorts in third person but I prefer first, it flows better when I'm writing and I've found third person to require a lot more thought*. Oh, before I go any further.

Disclaimer for Industry professionals.

Now just in case you happen to be a publisher/agent reading this I must stress this is my thoughts about it at the moment and I am always the worst person to make a judgement on my own work. If you find a version of this on your desk it's not cos I've thought, 'well, it's toss but they might like it.' It will be because I have decided I was wrong and have found a lot more than I expected when re-writing.

Return to stream of thought.

Now, there is a lot in this universe I like, I like the central characters, they are gray and I think even the (largely off screen) bad guys are not bad, just doing what they think is right. I have a good array of aliens that I think work without being humans with funny ears. I'm particularly taken with the mechanics of hyper space because I've wangled them into a way of telling the story. And therein lies the problem. Last night, I had an idea, it involved first person, it involves that hyperspace mechanic but now I understand it better it uses it in a much more interesting way. However, it cannot take place in this universe.

I think this new idea might be better. Which makes my 86'000 words redundant. I am going to finish it and hopefully my mind will change but it is an awful feeling. It's also an awful feeling to think I may have wasted six months. Infuriating even, it feels like I am losing the impetus I have built up with the last thing.

Last night I had a nightmare about this. I dreamed I sold the space opera to one publisher and then the other idea sold to a different one. All the reviews of the second one said I was clearly running out of imagination and had become artistically barren. The publishers sued each other for breach of copyright. Ended with me sat in a dark room with publishers and critics on lit podiums staring down accusingly at me. Eventually, I had to give Simon Spanton from Gollancz my dog.

Now, I don't have a dog but I suspect my subconscious was trying to give me some sort of message there.
Anyway, I am probably writing this so I don't have to do anything else so I will stop now. I will finish this project. I will re-write into some form and if this idea hangs around I will do that**.

*By which I mean considering what I am putting on the page rather than just losing myself and suddenly having dashed off reams off words. Last book was the latter, I wrote the 25'000 word first draft in a week of very little sleep and furious industry. And steroids. Maybe, in hindsight, the steroids had something to do with the furious industry.

**well I will add it to the list of ideas and roll a dice for which I do next.

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