Tuesday, 28 July 2009

What kind of writer are you?

Over on the Macmillan New Writers blog, erstwhile fantasy author Tim Stretton deliberates over his immediate writing future following the rejection of his latest novel, The Last Free City, by Macmillan and explains, following discussions with editor Will Atkins, that it's now more likely he'll follow an historical fiction tack (The Last Free City and its published predecessor The Dog of the North owe as much, if not more--as Tim admits--to historical military fiction as they do to fantasy, so this makes sense. Probably painful sense, but sense nonetheless. And didn’t I start this post with a very long sentence? More of those to come below. Tim seems inspired by the opportunities opened up by reconsidering his primary genre.

I, on the other hand—like Aliya—have been dabbling with speculative fiction for a number of years now, but also write ‘literary fiction’ (I hesitate to prefix that with the word commercial, as no one’s bought it). I have a novel, sent to the aforementioned Will at Macmillan, that I strongly believe in. (A revamped version of the original is with him now, hoping against hope that he finds a willing pair of hands to take the manuscript from him and kindle it into life, rather than turn it into kindling.) I’ve embarked on a subsequent novel, working a similar seam that, if by whatever chance that first book is picked up, shows I’m attempting to build on its relatively distinctive blend of literary romance and criminal underworld shenanigans.

In the meantime, the co-written contemporary science fantasy Aliya and I wrote together winged its way off to a likely looking agent, along with a sampler from a post-apocalyptic SF novel I’m working on. No, the agent says to the co-written piece, but, hang-on maybe, says the same agent of the SF novel-in-waiting.

So I’ve now made the decision to try and be two writers at once. I’m always working on far too many projects at once anyway, and trying to steer away for new ventures. Now it appears finally--thankfully--those various projects have converged into two very distinct strands. And furthermore, I’ve discovered something very welcome. I’m getting much better at research. I appear to have found a happy medium between learning trivia and writing none of it down, and gaining genuine knowledge about a topic I’m working on and being able to improve my writing in response to that knowledge.

If we were still on LiveJournal, that bouncy little icon at the bottom of the post would be saying ‘:) positive’.

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