Tuesday, September 4, 2007

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. - Ray Bradbury

I sent it off yesterday, all 82,000 words of it. I had nightmares last night that I had forgotten to spellcheck and that the chapters were in a haphazard order when my agent received it. I also have begun to dream about my characters. A shrink would probably have a heyday with that.

I'm devouring books right now. When you're trying to be a better writer, reading isn't for pleasure. It's research. It's a classroom and a tutor and a lecturer and the guy at the back of the room who cheats off his peers. I can learn something from everything that is in print, even if it's how not to do something. The sins against the written word are numerous, and as a lexical snob, I am offended when I read something with weak plot twists, poor characterization, or unnatural dialogue. I have copious notes on how to completely lose the reader. I am equally thrilled when I find myself re-reading page upon page of beautifully written prose. Then it's learning from the masters. Then I get to balance imitation with my own creativity.

I just checked my e-mail and my agent has received the manuscript and is looking forward to reading it. My stomach just did a flip-flop just seeing her name in my inbox. I feel like a 12-year-old with a crush.

Good stuff of late: Bret Easton Ellis' Lunar Park, Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory, Marian Keyes' Anybody Out There (Keyes is among the best 'chicklit' authors, and this novel has stuck with me for numerous reasons). The others I've read have sadly been forgettable.

Banks is coming to Lerwick this weekend as part of Wordsmith, the Shetland book festival. It is showcasing writers from all over the UK, and I am especially excited to hear the local scribes read from their writings in their distinct dialect and voices. I'm attending a couple of writing workshops too, as it's always good to hear how others approach things.

Next steps are to continue work on a novel I began last spring that takes place in Lisbon, and do more work on a darker piece on domestic violence that I've been working on for nearly a decade. I'm not sure which one the muses will choose, but I'm ready when they are.

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