It’s the third day of Spring in 2018, and I congratulate all those in the northern hemisphere on the upcoming six months of longer daylight than nighttime.
It’s been a productive week, all things considered, though I haven’t quite started writing new material on Unanimity; I’m still engaged in rereading what’s already written, to get myself back into the swing of the story. I’ve enjoyed that process more than I thought I might. There were times, when writing it, that the words didn’t flow as easily as I would have wished, but as I’ve frequently rediscovered, such times often produce works that, when read, are superior to those fired by irresistible enthusiasm. This reinforces the wisdom of so many superb authors, who advise that one should write even when—perhaps especially when—one does not feel the stirrings of the muse. (I consider reviewing and rewriting to be parts of that process, so I don’t count my recent hiatus for review against my obedience to the recommendation, though it does chafe at me).
Of course, these processes would proceed much more quickly if I were able to devote my full-time efforts to them, but at least the continued need to earn a living by doing other things keeps me involved in many aspects of life that might elude me if I’d been a cloistered writer from the onset of adulthood. I’ve had a tremendous number of fascinating experiences that have deeply influenced the content and nature of my fiction and my nonfiction, so it’s hard to complain too strenuously.
Still, these things are far from absolute necessities. Arthur C. Clarke didn’t need to be part of a human race on the cusp of evolving to its next stage and joining the Overmind to write one of the most brilliant works of science fiction in the twentieth century, any more than Einstein needed to have personally experienced the process of traveling near the speed of light to work out Special Relativity. All fiction is, in some sense, a form of thought-experiment. This, I think, is one of the reasons storytelling is so ubiquitous and important to humans.
Thus, though I think I can make use of my exposure to so many of life’s vicissitudes, I don’t think it’s a pure necessity, nor do I think it should be an absolute requirement going forward. That being said, if you want me to work more quickly, and to produce my works in greater number and frequency, I entreat you to please support my work and to spread the word about it, so that I can make my living solely by writing. I, at least, would certainly not complain.
In addition to rereading Unanimity, I’ve also been working steadily on editing the audio version of I for one welcome our new computer overlords, which should become available within the week. I have to say, it’s been a surprisingly enjoyable process. Of course, the work is amateur, but I don’t feel too badly about that, since I’m not going to charge anyone to listen to it. As with all things, doing this well is a skill, and developing any skill involves trial and error. Still, it’s been a blast; even the seemingly tedious process of editing out my gaffes and retakes is amusing, and I’ve also been able to use the sound-editing software to introduce a few “dramatic” effects. Don’t expect too much from this—I don’t want you to think there are going to be sound effects and background music.* But I was able, for instance, to remove breath sounds (for the most part) from the speech of a character who does not need to breathe when he speaks, and to leave them in during the dialogue of the other characters of the story, at least when they are appropriate to the performance. That such a thing might be beneficial and even necessary would never have occurred to me before this undertaking.
There are residual flaws that irritate me, and which I can’t correct on this recording without going back and re-doing the whole thing, such as the occasional sound of air striking the microphone when I speak too closely to it. Some of that can be edited out, but not all of it. I don’t think it will detract significantly from your listening enjoyment, though, and for future recordings, I’ll take preventive measures against the problem. Again, it’s been an enjoyable experience, not the least because it’s been a learning process. The finished product will be about two hours long, and I hereby give permission to download it, if you have that capability, and listen to it at your leisure. You can also share it, if you like, though obviously you do not have permission to charge anyone for that sharing (as if you would).
That should about do it for this week. I have to stop somewhere, and usually it’s someplace arbitrary, since I otherwise tend to be the writing equivalent of the Energizer™ bunny. Next week I plan to post my author’s note for Ifowonco, which will nicely coincide with its audio release, and to follow up subsequently with that for Prometheus and Chiron and then Hole for a Heart. Then I’ll have caught up with my published works, and should be near completion of Unanimity. After that, I’ll probably do another short story before beginning my next novel (which is a sort of modern fable, and which I’ll discuss more as it approaches).
Thank you all for reading. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves and continue to enjoy my writing going forward. As always, your comments are eagerly welcomed.
* I actually dislike it when background music is added to audiobooks. There’s no music playing in my head when I read a book, and I don’t need sudden bursts of it to heighten the tension in a story performed by a voice actor. If the writing doesn’t elicit the intended emotion, then that’s its own problem. Added music just calls attention to the fact, and is a distraction, as far as I’m concerned.