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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Summer Returns

I usually take a few weeks off in the summer. In the past couple of years I have turned the blog over to other writers or bloggers with the aid of a few questions, but this year it will go dark for days, sometimes weeks, at a time.
Once again I shall be in Scandinavia, remote from technology for most of the time, and will only be able to contribute to the blog sporadically.
There’s much to consider. My novel, Winged with Death, will be published in February 2009 and there’s quite a lot of work to be done to make myself ready for that. A boy has to peddle his book, Truman Capote told John Knowles one evening in 1960.
I also have a host of books and texts to read, some of those special ones that I receive during the year and put aside, for this period when I can give them the best of my attention.
I have to think about beginning to write another novel, to consider whether or not I want to commit myself to such an enormous task just now, or put it off for a little while. To consider what it is that consumes me enough as a subject to wish to devote all of my mind to it.
And not least, there are family and friends who will join us during this time. So that it is not just a time of putting out, but also a time of listening and relearning how to listen all over again. Something that all writers, make that all people, must do from time to time.
So then, a lot to look forward to.
I shall leave in a little over a week and return to England in early September, when blogging will recommence on a regular basis. In the meantime, have a good summer.

4 Responses to “Summer Returns”

  1. Jim Murdoch says:

    When I first started to read this post I assumed you were off to Scandinavia TO write. There are times I wish I could seclude myself away for a few weeks. Just to get the guts written. Or skeleton, to be more accurate. That’s how I work, get my characters from A to wherever B ends up being as quickly as possible and then I can flesh out the story in bits and pieces over time. At the moment I have a pair of very fine, if a little bony, legs and a decent pelvis but that’s my lot. The backbone is proving to be a real bitch.

    Have a good time. Enjoy the fresh air. Do find time for a few more café stories. And, yes, for God’s sake ditch that Kronus title.

    jb says: Thanks for that, Jim. I think I need more than a skeleton. I get the chronology down and have to feel comfortable with at least one character. All through the process I have to be able to hear echoes coming and going and not stray too far from the central metaphor. The latter stages involve detecting which parts aren’t working and need fixing and identifying the parts that aren’t working and need ditching.

  2. Paul says:

    I used to have a method which seemed to be outline – write the whole thing – edit/rewrite. The part I really enjoy is the editing (how perverse is that). For me it’s in the editing that the characters acquire some depth, and I can play with pace; weave in some sub-plots, develop a sense of time and place etc. With the current book I’m trying to edit as I write and I’m not sure that it’s working.
    Have a seriously good break John – May it bring you all that you expect/hope for, and more.
    p.s. Read a little of the extract which drew me in quickly – saving the rest for later.

    jb says: Thanks Paul. I’ve used both methods and wouldn’t be able to choose between them. Maybe the novel itself dictates the method by which it is to come into the world. Mysteries. I also enjoy editing, I believe because I know much more about the characters and what drives them by that stage. I know how far I can go with them, what they may be capable of.

  3. Iain Rowan says:

    Sounds a grand summer, John, with family, friends and some time for quiet and reflection. Enjoy!

    jb says: Thanks, Iain. I can barely wait. . .

  4. Bill Liversidge says:

    Hi John

    Enjoy your break – you’ve certainly earned it; your blog is consistently informative and entertaining.

    I recently read “White Skin Man” which has one of the most gripping starts of any book I have read – a really good read. Earlier this week I finished “Walking With Ghosts” which I thought was even better. Thoughtful, richly textured, moving and intelligent. One of the best thrillers (although it’s much more than that) I’ve ever read.

    Start the next one when you’re ready – it’ll be worth the wait. For both of us.


    jb says: Thanks, Bill. It really makes a difference when people take time out to say something nice about the work.