A new SFBRP episode is up where I review The Time Machine by H G Wells. I think I’ve talked enough about my reading experience of the book on this blog already.
Yesterday I was a guest on the SFFaudio Podcast. It’s the podcast from Jesse and Scott, the team behind a website that reviews sci-fi and fantasy audio books, radio plays and podcasts.
We had a really good discussion about reviewing books, as that is what we all do on our respective podcasts. Topics include “how we approach a review”, “to spoil or not to spoil”, “to use ratings or not to use ratings”, “subjective or objective”, “reviews that are too negative” and of course we generally chatted about science fiction novels and authors we really enjoy. And a bit about my own fiction and if it will ever be podcasted.
Last night Pola asked “Do you want to watch a DVD with me?” I wasn’t feeling well, and suspected she wanted to watch the Sex and the City (while I’m more of a City and the Stars kind of guy).
So I sat in bed with my laptop and plugged away at my novel. I didn’t realise when Pola put on another film, so I ended up writing far longer than I intended. After about 3000 words I not only reached the end of the story, but wrote the last two chapters which I’d intended to be some kind of epilogue.
Ok, let me clarify; the story isn’t a finished novel, but I reached the end. There is going to be a LOT of editing on this one. The first novel I wrote was set on Earth, and even though it was set (mostly) in the future, I didn’t have to do a whole lot of what science fiction authors call “world building”. The current novel is set on an alien planet and has non-21st century levels of technology, and there are lots of small plot points that rely on other small things, with details spread throughout the narrative.
As I was writing I’d notice something didn’t fit with something else I’d already written, or that I needed a new character, or could combine two other characters, or that this one piece of technology stood out too much and needed to be replace by another… but when I made the change, I didn’t go back and rewrite the previous material to fit with the new, I just continued to write as though the later facts were true and the earlier facts had already been changed.
This means that if someone else was to read the story now it would make zero sense. For example, in the opening chapters I introduce two characters who, in the planning stages, were going to play a major role in the last thirty or forty pages. But as I was writing I completely forgot about them, and their roles were filled by other characters. So they need to be edited out. Also the shape of the main camp changes quite a bit from the original description compared to what I have in my mind now, at the end of the writing process.
What I’m going to have to do is read the entire thing and make a whole new list of facts about the world that are in place at the end, and then go through again and make sure they are consistent from the beginning.
A final note: this story, at only 35,000 words, feels much more like a novella than my first long work of fiction. The word length is going to grow a lot during the edits though, as I on the first draught I was concentrating mostly on plot and action, with very little description, and not much characterization either.
I wanted to write about 45,000 words in 30 days. I took two weeks off from writing in the middle, and finally settled on between 1000 and 1500 words per day as the least stressful workload. I managed 36,776 words in 28 days, averaging 1,313 per day. Along the way I added 1782 words of non-story notes, for a final 34,994 words. My novel writing software says that’s about 145 pages in an average paperback format.
The final breakdown is here:
Day: Date: Target: Behind: Catch: Sessions: Today: Running total: Fri 23 1500 -467 -533 1967 1967 1967 Sat 24 3000 -343 60 1376 1376 3343 Sun 25 4500 563 873 594 594 3937 Mon 26 6000 1583 1023 480 480 4417 Tue 27 7500 930 -675 1024 1129 2153 6570 Wed 28 9000 332 -645 1349 749 2098 8668 Thu 29 10500 -1991 -2468 1839 1984 3823 12491 Fri 30 12000 -491 1413 0 0 12491 Sat 31 13500 -263 148 580 692 1272 13763 Sun 1 15000 1237 1487 0 0 13763 Mon 2 16500 -90 -1407 2827 2827 16590 Tue 3 18000 -130 -126 1540 1540 18130 Wed 4 19500 -555 -539 1010 915 1925 20055 Thu 5 21000 910 1430 35 35 20090 Sat 21 22500 2248 1385 162 162 20252 Sun 22 24000 2684 515 1064 1064 21316 Mon 23 25500 4184 1692 0 0 21316 Tue 24 27000 4392 430 1026 266 1292 22608 Wed 25 28500 3452 -777 1135 1305 2440 25048 Thu 26 30000 3880 644 1072 1072 26120 Fri 27 31500 4005 376 1375 1375 27495 Sat 28 33000 4544 877 961 961 28456 Sun 1 34500 6044 2068 0 0 28456 Mon 2 36000 6536 934 1008 1008 29464 Tue 3 37500 6573 547 556 907 1463 30927 Wed 4 39000 6540 557 1533 1533 32460 Thu 5 40500 6925 1170 1115 1115 33575 Fri 6 40500 3724 -1145 15 3186 3201 36776 removing notes -1782 -1782 34994
I need to start coming up with working titles for my fiction. “Edward” and “Monster Story” are fine for file names, but don’t really portray what I want about the stories.
A few posts ago I wrote about ebook readers for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Stanza is by far the best I’ve tried so far. The page turning is great (small taps on the sides of the screen, not a flicking motion like others), you can lock the rotation so you can read it laying sideways in bed, the formatting can be changed to make it easy on the eye, plus lots of other nice touches.
Most importantly, if you download Stanza Desktop, you can effortlessly make any text file (of almost any format) into an ebook that the Stanza iPhone app can grab via wifi. This combination is going to be hard to beat.
So, now that I have an ebook reader, does anyone have some public domain or creative commons or otherwise free novels they think I should check out?
So far I’ve found Accelerando by Charles Stross, which I’ll leave on my Touch for my next trip. See the star ratings page on the SFBRP.com wiki to see the kinds of science fiction books I’d like to read, and those I’d probably want to skip.
As mentioned previously I’ve been trying out the photo sharing feature of internet startup Sosauce.com. They put out a video blog called Hot Sauce to highlight user added content. Check out the first 40 seconds of the latest episode to see who’s featured…
I should tell Pola about this one, she took half the photos that are shown on screen. The full album is here.