Wednesday 24 March 2010

Busy busy busy

Passed a wordage milestone on the new book, which is always good, and at last the thing's starting to feel that it has some momentum - I've been hitting 3000 a day for the last couple of weeks, whereas the first three to four months felt like chewing my way through solid granite. And, of course, there's been the odd interruption connected with the release of Terminal World, and a couple of conventions. Eastercon, too, is coming up fast, and I must do some preparation for that.

In the meantime - and following on from the Crispy Ambulance mentionment a month or so ago - here's a Guardian piece on another Factory band from that wonderfully fertile era, the somewhat underappreciated Section 25. I've always liked this band (and this track especially) so was saddened to learn that Section 25's Larry Cassidy has just died. As Jon Savage says, "let this transcendent masterpiece be his fitting testament."

By the way, tragically behind on email (as ever). If you've been in touch but haven't had a reply, please bear with me - and thanks for your patience.


  1. As usual you make me go back to my cd collection and pull out the old goodies. This time Palatine, The Factory Story. Little baby Adam in my lap, thunderstorms rolling through Dallas, and OMD 's electricity. Thanks for reviving the Factory memories.

  2. Bob, I'd love to say that I was listening to this stuff at the time, but circa 1984, aside from a bit of New Order, it was mainly prog rock for me all the way.

  3. well Al, all the Yes and King Crimson references do give that away already..:o)

  4. Three thousand words a day? That's impressive. I'm lucky to get a couple thousand in a week, myself. I've been hammering away at a short story, and my new novel has been like "chewing through granite" now that I'm approaching it's climax. That's rather frustrating. Hopefully, I'll be a published author before I'm old and gray.

    I wanted to thank you for broadening my musical horizons, especially with fc kahuna. Hayling is a song that I find myself listening to in my daily writing routine.

    I also wanted to thank you for the awesome masterpiece of science fiction, Pushing Ice. I've finally come across an author that I can't stop reading, other than the late Frank Herbert.

    What, if I may ask, is the odd interruption concerning the release of Terminal World? This book simply cannot come out quickly enough!

  5. mwgriffith: the important thing is to find your own writing rhythm, whether it's 500 words a week or 3000 a day. If I could always write exactly the *right* words I could probably get by 500 a day, maybe less. But my writing process is to generate a lot of raw material which I can then (hopefully) shape down into something coherent.

    Glad you liked PI...

    Re: Terminal World - it was released in mid-March. Have you encountered difficulties in obtaining a copy?

  6. Al,
    Tearing into Terminal World now and absolutely loving it. I found it interesting that they/you changed the font on the DJ and Spine from all the previous books.
    Anyhow, I just wanted to say thanks.

  7. It basically comes down to trouble with living in a small town. It's actually called a city, but I consider it to be an overgrown rest stop on the way to Nashville. The bookstores have only been carrying two of your novels- Revelation Space, and Pushing Ice. No worries, though. I was unaware of the novel's release date, and have decided to neglect local outlets by ordering Terminal World through Amazon.

    I apologize, it seems that I have misread. Three Thousand words a day is beyond impressive! Some days I don't write at all. I've been working with a short story because I hear that you need publishing credits before you send off a novel. I write novels, and having yet to be published, I think that it might be a good idea. I cheated, however, and based the short work in the same universe that my new novel exists. :)

    Thank you for the information.

  8. mwgriffith: sorry, I assumed you were looking for a copy after the UK release date. The US edition isn't out until June, so you may have a couple more months to wait.

    Re: publishing credits: it certainly helped in my day, but that was 20 years ago and I doubt that it's necessarily valid any more. However, by all means write short fiction!

  9. It's okay. I ordered it through amazon,or rather pre-ordered, just today for 17.79.

    Thanks for the advice. Short fiction is not as much fun as novel length fiction, in my opinion, but it could be worth while.

    I heard a rumor that you are going to write a sequel to Pushing Ice? To me, the story worked very well as a stand alone. I'm sure that it has plenty of opportunity for continuation, but I could go either way. Is there any truth to this?

  10. I've talked vaguely about doing a sequel to PI ever since the book came out, and it may happen one day, but it won't be for a little while. What I would like to do is explore the menagerie of different alien cultures trapped in the Spican artefact at the end of the book, and perhaps reveal a bit about the expedition beyond the structure.

  11. I am working with the science fiction short story that I mentioned previously, and have encountered a problem with the length. Don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to read the material, especially considering that several of my favorite authors tell me that they are entirely too busy to read- what sort of authors don't read other writers work?- but the story is almost at four thousand words. There are several more events that I've mapped out as tasks to complete in the story, however, the only way to meet a typical short story word count would be for me to skip some of these tasks. My question is, in your opinion, should I skip these events in the story or write them and trim the material down before submitting to anyone? I don't think there is a market for five or six thousand word short stories, at least that I'm aware of. So... I've reached a stand still. Do you have any suggestions?

  12. Hi mw: I don't know who told you that there isn't a market for 5000 or 6000 word short stories, because there most certainly is - in fact, I might go so far as to say most published short stories might well fall somewhere in that word range. Anything over 7500 is - according to some rules or other - generally regarded as a novelette, at least for the purposes of binning things into award categories, and anything over 17,000 is a novella, unless it's a short novel.

    If you are trying to break into a new market as an unknown writer, then I would indeed caution against submitting something of novelette or novella length. But there's no reason in the world not to submit a 6000 word short story. That said - it's a very good habit to see what you can leave out, and if your putative story can be packed down into 4000 words, then by all means try to do so. I routinely cut 10 - 20 % from my short fiction before submitting it.