Blogging on

26 Aug

This is my record blog – two! “Blog” is such an ugly word, so full of awful tones because of the l and the g that I’m pretty reluctant to use it, but it’s earned its place…it reminds me of “nag” and thus of a Kinks song from the 60s: “stop your nagging woman/naggingist woman in this land…” like blogging is designed to drive the entire planet mad and not just those reading blogs. This may well be true.

Over the past week or so I’ve been following a “blog tour” by the excellent human being who does the covers for my books, Joleene Naylor. Joleene, who has commented on the first number of this blog, is also an author of “vampire lit” and has done this tour to promote number four of a series she’s doing. Before I read the last two of these, I confess I summarily dismissed every vampire book after Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which was written rather a long time ago. As per usual with the not so excellent human being who is myself, this was yet more arrogance. Jo’s books, which can be found on Goodreads and on smashwords and elsewhere, are well outside what I had considered contemporary vampire literature – that is, a genre beneath consideration, definitely beneath my chosen genre of the thriller, not adult, without hope of redemption.

This is actually all untrue. Jo’s books achieve what I would like mine to achieve: they fulfill the requirements of the genre, but contrive to surpass them too. The series she’s doing isn’t finished, and I think her writing has improved as she’s gone along and will improve yet. They are adult, and not just because they are full of sex and violence. Adulthood involves more than that.

Naturally, her achievement makes me think of ways I might be able to improve my own work. The book I am writing now has been influenced a lot by the reading I did for my last book, The Russian Idea, in particular Dostoevsky. While I really do have enough humility not to compare myself with Dostoevsky, some of the qualities of his mind are like mine: he was fascinated by crime, and wrote what I would call intellectual thrillers. My aim when I began was to do the same but I never thought of Dostoevsky’s works while working out my aims, but rather other writers like Dashiell Hammett and Graham Greene. Dostoevsky, who is as removed in stature from these writers as they are removed in stature from me, worked out ways of addressing “the big issues” that have given me some ideas for the way I am approaching my current book. In particular, Demons, but also The Brothers Karamazov and even The Adolescent have influenced how I am structuring this book, its characterisation, and its overall perspective, or if you like, its theme. At the mo I am approaching 30,000 words.

But while in one sense this makes it more exciting to do, to write, in another it makes it harder, and makes me more aware of my limitations as a writer. The first bits of this new book are terrible; the writing is really drab. The second draft is going to be much more of a drastic revision than earlier books. There are other things too – there will be more characters and more complexity than my earlier books, and this makes things more difficult in writing terms. So while the working title is Kaos maybe the reality is too!

But while I’m sitting there thinking Dostoevsky, I’m also sitting there realising that Joleene Naylor has incorporated many of the elements I am trying to get into this one, without making it seem hard at all. That gives me a simultaneous feeling of hope and despair.

There you have it. This one is gynormous so worth more than the first one – let’s say a seven star number. Go well.

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Published on June 23, 2012 15:54 • 41 views • Tags: dostoevsky,joleene-naylorkinksrussian-ideasexvampireviolence

1 Comment

Posted by on August 26, 2012 in random chatter


One response to “Blogging on

  1. Joleene Naylor

    August 26, 2012 at 8:55 am

    They used to be called “web logs” way back in the day (I had one for a stuffed pig – long story) I liked that a little bit better. The worst words, though, are “ck” words in my opinion, excluding the all time favorite swear word. They all sound like swear words and as it is a swear word, well, it works 😉 also “rt” is not a good combination.

    Thanks so much for the shout out 🙂 I am sure you will whip the manuscript into shape 😉 First drafts, by their very nature, are always – nay, perhaps SHOULD always – be terrible. Russian Idea was quite good, and since you have hinted that is one of your weaker titles (I have to read the others to let you know my opinion on it) I am sure this one will be fabulous! 😀

    (another GR copy for speed 😉 )


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