Okay, once again I’m taking a week-long break between author’s notes, just to give those who are interested a brief update on my doings. Next week, I will post the author’s note for The Death Sentence, the first story in my collection Welcome to Paradox City, (unless, for some unforeseen reason, I decide to write it about something else).
As you know, if you follow this blog, I’ve taken a short break from working on Unanimity, my upcoming horror novel, to complete the editing and rewriting of Hole for a Heart, an earlier version of which appeared here. Like its predecessors, I for one welcome our new computer overlords, and Prometheus and Chiron, the story is benefiting greatly from the process, at least in my eyes. Hopefully, anyone who ends up having read both versions will agree with me.*
It’s always nice when, upon rereading his or her own story, an author finds himself or herself excited and moved by that work, and this has been true in spades on Hole for a Heart. I’ve experienced brilliant moments when, going through the rewrite/edits, I found myself getting mildly creeped out. This is a good thing; it is a horror story, after all. Of course, it helped that I was doing the work in the early morning, while it was still dark outside, and I was alone. But still…obviously, I knew what was going to happen in the story, but still found myself at least mildly chilled. It’s nice that the atmosphere I’d tried to create worked, at least on me. Whether it will work similarly on other readers remains to be seen, but I have high hopes.
On another subject: I’ve struggled to find the time to work on my non-fiction-related blog, “Iterations of Zero.” I did write a brief post there earlier this week, detailing some puzzlement I have about the nature of gravitons, and how they might interact with an event horizon, because I felt compelled to get those thoughts out into the meme-pool, but it’s difficult for me to get all that I want to get done there. I have three partially written articles languishing in my computer, as well as two full files in the memo app of my smart-phone, stuffed with ideas about which I want to write, issues I want to address, questions I want to raise. When I say full, I mean it. The files are as large as is allowed by the memo app…or at least the first one is, and the second is within a hair’s breadth of fullness.
By comparison, the file containing my story ideas (admittedly it’s not the only location for such recorded inspiration) is only one, nearly-full, memo file.**
The main reason that I have trouble getting IoZ as productive as I want it to be is time, that limiting factor on all things, so beautifully lamented by Andrew Marvell in To His Coy Mistress. I work eleven out of every fourteen days, full time, and my commute is an hour to two hours in each direction. This transit provides a wonderful opportunity to listen to podcasts and audio-books, but otherwise, those are unproductive hours.
Obviously, I can’t just write while I’m at work. My boss is about as pleasant and understanding as it’s possible to be while owning and running a business, but his patience would be strained if I were to spend a significant amount of my work time doing things that had no relation to my job. More pointedly, long before I would reach the threshold of annoying my boss, I would be curtailed by own conscience. It’s simply not in my nature to be able to freeload while earning a paycheck, and I’m glad that it’s not.
So, my time is limited, and if sacrifices have to be made in my writing, I must regretfully choose to sacrifice the non-fiction, since fiction is my primary calling. Of course, if enough people buy my books, I may make enough money to write full time, which would not break my heart. If you’d like to see that happen, please feel free to buy them, and encourage others to do so as well! ^_^
On yet another note, rewriting my short stories, and listening to audio books has re-ignited my desire to post my own audio recordings of the three short stories I’ve been working on recently. There’s something special about a book being read by its author; at least there is for me. I know it isn’t always workable for everyone, but I have a pretty decent reading voice, and I’m frequently told that I sound pleasant on the phone, so I’m not worried about my words grating on the listener’s ears. Also, it’s just wonderful fun – for me – to read things out loud. It always has been. I’ll read books out loud to myself, if I’m enjoying them enough, especially when the dialogue is good, and it’s nice to think of sharing that enjoyment. I don’t really foresee recording any of my novels, at least not in the immediate future, and definitely not just for posting on the blog. That kind of work would require remuneration.
On yet another other note: I don’t recall whether I’ve mentioned this here before, but in recent times I’ve had a real block on reading fiction, which is quite new for me. Forget finding new stories to read; even stories that I love deeply have been unable to grip my attention, and I am one who reads and rereads his favorite books repeatedly, in true geek fashion. I read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince seven times between the midnight when I bought it and the time Deathly Hallows was released…and it was by no means the only book I read in that time. But lately, no fiction, either familiar or new, has been able to hold my attention for long. My sister, however, recommended the Rick Riordan novels as uniformly enjoyable, and I know that my son loved the ones he read, so I purchased the Kindle version of The Lightning Thief, and so far – admittedly less than a tenth of the way into the book – I’m enjoying it. I’ve been seriously worried, because I even had to force my brutal way through rereading the first four books of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. Frankly, I skipped a lot of book four, and then I just hung up on book five. If Stephen King’s magnum opus can’t keep my attention, I’m in trouble.
Reading nonfiction, though, has not been as problematic; I love science books of many kinds, and have recently become enamored with more philosophical, political, and historical works as well. Interestingly enough, some of my best story inspirations come to me from reading science books rather than as part of reading fiction. Many of the ideas that appear in The Chasm and the Collision were triggered by my reading of The Fabric of the Cosmos, by Brian Greene.
Well, this post has gone all over the place, and has by no means remained as brief as I expected it to be when I began. That’s okay, though. Technically, this is a blog, and as such can function almost as a public diary. In closing, I repeat that the work on Hole for a Heart is proceeding well, and the story should be available for sale in e-book format within a month, probably sooner. It’s longish for a short-story, but that seems to be just how I roll. (At least you’ll know you’re going to be getting your ninety-nine cents worth.)
Then, once that’s out, I shall return in full force to Unanimity, which is getting close to the end. This is reassuring, since it’s already much longer than I had expected it to be. These things do happen, I suppose. Again, it just seems to be how I roll.
I welcome your feedback on this posting, on any others I have written, and even on anything else that might be on your mind. The comment section below is open, and my Facebook and Twitter accounts are public. I am a bit socially awkward, but nevertheless, I welcome you to contact me, at least regarding matters that I’ve discussed publicly. And I also both encourage – and even beg – those of you who have read my work to give reviews, or at least ratings, on Amazon. It really makes a difference.
Be well, all of you. That’s an order.
*As part of this editing process, I’ve noticed, or discovered, a fascinating fact and trick: Changing the font of your writing between edits can help you notice things that need fixing, and which you hadn’t noticed before, in the original font. This is a fascinating psychological fact, at least about me, and now that I’ve discovered it, I mean to put it to full use from this moment on.
** I actually posted one of those entries on my Facebook page recently. It’s the opening paragraph for an eventual story, the trigger for which I can’t currently recall, and for which I have no idea what the story will be. I like that paragraph a lot, though I can see a few edits that I’d make in structure and wording if I ever do write the story, but first that story has to reveal itself to me.