Adventures in Writing and Reading, Part 10 – The Next Big Thing
A couple of weeks ago I was very kindly tagged in on the Next Big Thing by short story ace Dan Purdue. The aforementioned meme consists of a series of questions designed to allow writers share plans for their upcoming project, so naturally I was pleased that anyone would want to know what I’ve got in the pipeline (and interested to discover that I actually have a pipeline).
I was a bit unsure of posting a response for three reasons. One – the final question requires me to prompt four more writers to respond, and I don’t really have a suitable network to be able to do this. I don’t really know many other writers. Two – I’m probably a bit too rambly and flaky for this kind of thing, and it seems like the kind of questionnaire that might come back to bite me at a later date. And three – it seemed a bit too much like I would be talking myself up.
But then I decided that there were plenty of projects I want to get done in the next year, and that it might be interesting to write about writing for once (since I’ve titled this series Adventures In Writing and Reading). And. Well, yes. On with the questions.
What is the title of your next book?
I’d hesitate to call it a book as this implies physical publication, and if I sub in the word ‘novel’ this may be problematic too so this may need to be downgraded to ‘story’. Or perhaps: ‘What is the title of your next word document?’ Though I may also query the word ‘next’ because don’t tend to work on one thing at once… then I answer the question. Some of the projects I am currently working on have titles like, ‘Gross Domestic Product’, ‘Shush Broom’, ‘Capybara!’ and ‘The Beestung International’.
For the purpose of this questionnaire, lets suppose that my next ‘book’ is (provisionally) titled ‘The Octave Generation.’
Where did the idea for the book come from?
I had the original idea quite a while back but it was a bit muddled and not really going anywhere, which is how a lot of my ideas start out. And I’m not sure where they come from, they just turn up if I keep my eyes and ears open. But it possibly came from buying second hand objects, from listening to music, from being a fan of things, things like that.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I don’t think I want to answer this question – characters are fabrications of my imagination and I don’t want to attach actor’s faces on to them in case it skews their essential nature one way or the other. Also, I like it when you’re watching a film and none of the actors are recognisable and you don’t have to feel as though they’re playing a part.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Set in and around a basement club in an unravelling city, it follows the search for a local playwright who is either missing or dead (plus other stories that occur in and aroundabouts).
Will your book be self-published or published by an agency?
My first priority is to try and write something good.
However (going slightly off topic), I would like to get around to bashing a few short stories into shape and putting together my Third Beestung International to disseminate in the course of the next year.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I don’t have a first draft yet but the project has been gently stewing for a while. What I have written is lots of disposable scenes/ conversations which will probably not form part of the story but have helped my ideas to form, so it feels a bit like I’ve been in training for writing this story. I usually just sit down and start writing things until the story is finished so this is a bit of a change for me.
What other books would you compare ‘The Octave Generation’ within the genres?
It’s kind of magic realism. I don’t know what to compare it to though. I really enjoyed Gina Ochsner’s ‘The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight’, although I felt as if I never really knew exactly where I was with it. Maybe that’s the kind of thing I’m ambling in the direction of.
Who or what inspired you to write the book?
I wrote a bad version of the first chapter of it after reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, and that book perhaps inspired me to pile in so many characters and to try and tell a number of stories within one structure. Beyond that, I can’t think of any novels that have inspired ‘The Octave Generation’, though planning it has shifted me slightly away from my usual Brautigan/ Vonnegut sphere of influence. I have an Octave Generation playlist on my ipod which contains the kind of music that might be played there and this has probably helped shape my picture of what the place looks/ sounds/ feels like.
What else about the book might pique a reader’s interest?
I don’t really want to give too much away, or perhaps I just don’t know what else to say about it. Hopefully you’ll be able to read it one day.