Monday, 26 March 2012

Spent it wisely

Last time I blogged, I wrote about how I was approaching the end of the re-outlining process for my novel (now tentatively called Symmetry Breaking). If you look over to the right, you'll see that I'm now working on the first draft, and I'm doing well. Three weeks in, and I'm just shy of 13,000 words. Not too shabby. Mind you, I'm just writing; I'm not doing any revising or tinkering as I go. Still, it feels good be making measurable progress.

I've been busy outside my writing as well. On Sunday 18 March we held the 'Flights of Fancy' SpecFicNZ/NZ Book Month event. It was a great day, and both the readers and the audience enjoyed themselves. I was very nervous in the lead-up because I've never organised an event before, let alone an event open to the public. But it all went smoothly, of which I'm very, very glad. I had a lot of help with the event: the NZ Book Month team were supportive, as was the rest of the SpecFicNZ Committee; the staff of the Air Force Museum were great; Paul Mannering was an excellent MC (I don't know what I would have done without him); the readers were all so enthusiastic and gave such excellent performances; and my beloved became the driver / carrier of burdens / sound technician (i.e. he did all the things I forgot I wouldn't be able to do alone – like he always does :D ). I didn't do everything perfectly, but I feel like I have learned a lot through organising 'Flights of Fancy' and I'm glad I volunteered for this challenge.

Jennifer Fallon reading to the audience
What else has been going on with me? OH YES. These boots. On my feet.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Unless you can see microwaves, that is . . .

I am very, very close to moving from the (re)outlining stage of my novel on to the writing stage. And I'm so glad of that, because I'm chomping at the bit!

I've made the mistake in the past of getting impatient and moving on to the writing before the outline is sufficiently advanced. Some people can write by the seat of their pants (they can be called 'discovery writers' or 'pantsers'), but I am not one of those. I am a planner, an outliner. Through experimentation with shorter projects over the last year, and through failures prior to that, I've learned that if I don't outline and plan enough, then when it comes time to write I fall on my face. The project stalls.

So over the last several months I've been working hard on researching, brainstorming, and outlining. And now I'm nearly there. I have Monday off work, and I am determined that on that day I will get the outline, if not complete, then at least ready for writing.

I've given myself a deadline of 31 August for the first draft. If I write 5 days a week, that will be a daily target of just over 750 words. I can do this!

Although I am just about to start writing, that doesn't mean I have stopped filling my head with knowledge that could lead to ideas for my novel. I recently started a free trial membership with Audible to see what using their service is like and to support the Writing Excuses podcast. The free book I downloaded was Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku. I love popular physics. I'm enjoying listening to the book on my iPod when I'm walking, on the bus, or doing the dishes.

Today I learned a fascinating fact while listening to Parallel Worlds: the first person to solve Olbers's Paradox was Edgar Allen Poe! That's awesome! Olbers's Paradox is the question: If the Universe is static, infinite, and eternal (as was thought in the past), then how come the night sky is black, and is not blazing with the light of infinite stars? Early hypotheses included interstellar dust blocking the light of distant stars. Of course, the real answer is that the universe is not eternal – it had a beginning, and therefore the light from most of the galaxies in the Universe has not yet had time to reach us. (And because of the expansion of the Universe, it never will.)

I think it is fitting that a poet was the first to see the truth in such a poetic idea.