Friday, 29 August 2014

Tom Hardy - Ivan Locke - the Kumiko (war world #3) journey

I saw it last night, the film Locke with Tom Hardy centre stage, and I knew, I just knew, that this is where my novel KUMIKO (war world #3) needed to go...

A driver, driving.
An engine, engineering.
A task's been given, a right turn's been taken, and the whole of her world has been trashed, literally torn to bits, in favour of this new journey, this forced slog through the snow, this odyssey.

Ivan Locke, it's a quiet little nothing of a film that could have so easily been relegated to stage play or radio play, and it would have worked, but then the cameraman was amazing, and the way the film was shot over seven nights while travelling, actually travelling the trip from A to B that our humble hero Ivan Locke takes, and the supporting cast were actually THERE, every night with him, phoning in their piece live,  every night, every take shared by the whole cast and crew even though only one man is in the driving seat having to sort it all out and cope with his life falling apart around his ears.

The onerous, ponderous, odious task.

And I knew where the Kumiko novel had to go -- on a wonderful crazy journey -- with Kumiko strapped in for the long haul while all these people gather round her and argue with her and love her and hate her and join forces with unlikely allies and take amazing turns of story. I've got the first four chapters done, dusted. They're about 4,500 words each, and that makes me happy. And finally... finally, there'll be a birth scene just like in the film.

But it'll be an abortion ... or at least an already happened scene ... and all'll seem lost. Nothing will add up. But it'll not be lost, and everything will (eventually) add up. There'll be a rhyme and reason for it all, not matter how grim it gets. Trust me, I'm a liar and a thief of other people's genius.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Kumiko novel - weird weekend of work - rewrite rewrite rewrite


I don't think I've ever felt compelled to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite the start of a novel more than I've rewritten the start of Kumiko (war world #3).

I wondered, at first, if I hadn't started this novel a little too early; like I hadn't left enough time since the publication of the last one. But then I always think that. I always worry that I haven't given a novel enough time to percolate in the noggin before giving it the benefit of doc'ing.

I mean, it's been a good cathartic exercise in patience vs creativity. I've pushed myself in ways I wouldn't have thought possible. I've really stretched both the character and the scenario that (hopefully) leads to the rest of the book 'writing itself' as they often do. I'm also much happier with the level and intensity of War World revelations - I have to remember to 'slow burner' this third book. Don't reveal all just yet, keep some revelations back for the finales of act two and three. It's coming out at about four A4 10-point pages per chapter i.e. 4,000+ words per chapter.

Kumiko (war world #3) is currently only at 24,000 words but it's not all chapter content. I'm barely on chapter four. Most of what will become the novel is still notes. There are lots of notes. Many of which will be jettisoned during the write-up, editing, repolishing phase. I'm not doing this for you, dear sweet hapless mass-market reader. I'm not engineering the start of this novel so that you'll find it easier to understand. I'm doing it so that the victims receive the punishment they deserve from the despots of War World. I'm doing it so that IT'S DONE RIGHT.

I haven't added much in the way of new brand paragraphs or acres of text but it must be at least twenty or thirty times that I've restarted, rewritten, added to, taken away from, amended, deleted, rejigged, retitled, tidied old ideas into new narrative form, moved chapters around, moved paragraph groupings around, increased allegiances, hidden secrets for later revelation, remotivated the start of this book etc. in the last week... it's been a proper job of writing. Hard slog. Man work. I think I have it, now, the right mix of honesty and sleight of hand.

A FEW DAYS LATER UPDATE: okay, I now have the first four chapters of Kumiko (word total 18,000) and the rest of the document so far is another 7,000 words of notes to finish this third novel. I like where this book is going. Why? Because I don't have control over it. Not really. I'm mostly riding the wild waves of this story. And it really is a wild, wild story.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Last night, I begged for an answer to this new Kumiko (war world #3) conundrum

so, for the last few days, I've been rubbing my raw nose bone against the wailing wall of writer's block.

Well, not exactly writer's block, I've been having little ideas and contributing peripherally to the content of what the KUMIKO book might become. But not really getting on with the writing of the story and exploration of the characters and their motivation in this (hopefully) final War World novel.

So, last night, I gave my Dreaming Self an ultimatum, "Please give me an answer to this new Kumiko narrative direction I've given myself."

I'm not regretting restarting the book. There's NO WAY that old version could have got to the point it needs to get to in the series if I'd have carried on. It needed to be restarted. And I have the story-in-flux version of where this story needs to go. I have details. But I don't really have the story I can type into the document.

Last night, I demanded or begged to my pre-sleep self for some sort of resolution on this novel's new direction. I didn't get it. I didn't get the dream or series of dreams that I could write down verbatim and turn into solid story structure, as I have done at the start of other novels I've written.

However, today, I've been 'seeing' massive scenes that have been missing from the book thus far. I'm walking around. I'm doing different things. I'm shopping. I've been having to dash back to the keyboard from wherever I find myself and type in these vast scenes. And they fit. They're adding to and making sense of where I need this story to go. It's a first for me. I'm seeing a book taking place. A waking dream is taking place, and I'm just typing while the visions last. It's a very strange process but it's a timely arrival of real content, real character, real narrative.

Current total 20,000 words and powering on.

DAY LATER UPDATE: this gets even funnier (weirder) this morning, for the five or ten minutes that it took me to wake up before 0655 hours, I had a lovely dream that added to the Kumiko space-opera surrealist-mystery novel. It's like 'my dreaming mind' was reading yesterday's post about The Waking Dream, got jealous, and decided to pester me with its own brand of visual creativity before I de-bed'd. Thanks Dreaming Mind, that was some crackin' content. Can you do any better Conscious Mind? This could be a fun few days...


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Kumiko novel - first draft quandary - have to rewrite Kumiko the character...

I'm about 12,000 words into the first draft of the Kumiko (war world #3) novel, that's 6,500 words of chapter text and 5,500 words of notes and potential narrative direction.

I'm writing away, as you do, you know, not really worrying about story just yet, simply writing to character, fleshing out the basic sketch, and Kumiko (this novel's central character) keeps talking about Millgate and Lorien and G3 and all the stuff in Watcher (war world #2) and I just realised something...


She can't know these people yet, that doesn't make sense. She'll have to be interfacing with the worlds of G3 and Millgate and Lorien (especially as the author of the Dierdre Openhouse novel herself) for the first time, devoid of all narrative involvement at this stage. I mean, it makes it more difficult for me, the writer, but who said this shit was supposed to be easy?

Having decided this, it certainly gives the end of Watcher more poignancy, unfortunately, it means I have to go back into this third war world novel and start again as a new draft where Kumiko doesn't know anything about War World or G3 or even Millgate (or Lorien), Kumiko's a key part of the G3/War World narrative, we understand that, but we don't understand why she does what she does at the end of Watcher or what her role is in the Grand Chess Game.

She'll have to be doing it for purely romantic/misguided/as-yet-unresolved reasons; she'll have to be ENSNARED or SEDUCED then BETRAYED for this book to make any sense.

DAY LATER UPDATE: woke up from yesterday's re-assessment and I'm like... wow, is that what's needed? And, yes, I think it is. Though it pains me to do this. I'll have to restart KUMIKO and do it right this time, it has to be about misplaced loyalties, nothing else will suffice. Sigh... rolls up sleeves. Onward.

WEEK OR SO LATER UPDATE: so, I've worked out how I can get the most from this new-narrative direction forced upon the Kumiko novel. It's not so much that I've given in to it, it's just that now's the time to start exploring the world of Kumiko as the mourning period for the initial content has passed.

Currently say on 17,000 words of text, all useful, all imperative.