Monday, July 21, 2008

God Called in Sick Today, or How Emo Can Help you Finish a Novel

I am so close to finishing this draft of Death Most Definite (or Walking Talking, I'm still not sure what to call it, maybe A Regional Apocalypse: yeah, I'm not great at titles) I can smell it.

I know some people hate writing to anything but silence. I'm not one of them - most of the time, because there are some times when I need absolute silence, just me and the screen, but even then there's barking dogs, whippersnippers, drunks (sometimes wielding whippersnippers), and my own fingers (the five I use) tapping the keys.

This book started with Okkervil River's Unless it's Kicks and Spoon's The Ghost of You Lingers and Rocket From the Crypt's On a Rope and the Clash's White Riot and half of Bright Eye's Cassadaga Album. The third draft stuck with most of these, but the central song was Gotye's Heart's A Mess and Jame's Getting Away with it (All Messed Up). Note the mess theme - you should look at my study.

But this latest draft, which has led to an overall darkening of the story, has been all about the Emo this last week or so. AFI and My Chemical Romance, broad sweeping operatic gloom punk/pop, over and over. The cheeriest I've gotten is Thom Yorke's Harrowdown Hill, and the Midlake song Excited but Not Enough. I think I just saw my neighbour jump off his balcony.

Me, I'm just chipper. This novel is nearly finished (of course sometimes that it the longest slowest bit). The knife fight's done, the Negotiation's made and the explosions have gone out one by one: all that's left is a kiss and impending doom.

On another note my story Cracks, originally published in the excellent Shiny magazine is getting a second life in Bill Congreve and Michelle Marquardt's Australian Year's Best SF and Fantasy 4. This pleases me no end because, well, I am extremely fond of that story. There's a whole bunch of things I was trying to riff off in that story but the main one was Faulkner's As I Lay Dying- the brief coffin making scene, I thought flagged that pretty obviously - which to my mind is one of the most amazing novels ever written*. And I thought I made a pretty good stab at it - stab, mind, just a stab.

The best thing though, besides it finding a second home (and I thought it's first home was wonderful, the lovely Shiny have been nothing but a pleasure to work for) is that any reviews the story might receive won't focus on whether it is YA or not, which seems to be the chief argument of reviews of YA fiction (well at least of Shiny).


*if anyone's interested the brother story to this one Day Boy published here is riffing off Twain's Huck Finn, because well I like to riff off dead white american authors. Both books you simply must read because, well, they're so beautiful and isn't that the most perfect reason to read anything

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