An Update

The Desperate Light, my short story available for free on Smashwords, has been downloaded over a hundred times! Thanks to those of you who decided to read the thing, I hope you found some enjoyment in it, whatever form that enjoyment took!

In other news, I’m still unable to find a job, still working on the Caitiff and still waking up to spend the day staring slackly at the computer screen in the vague hopes of some monumental literary epiphany. So, yeah, that’s where I’ve been for the last two weeks.

The Third or the First?

As I said in my last post, I have been told that my writing is too complex; that some readers found it difficult to understand, that they felt the archaic language stopped them finding any relatable aspect within the character. So, after a borderline hissy fit, in which I somewhat took the piss, I started re-writing The Caitiff into a form which you readers may well prefer.

As a brief example, the first draft of end of my first chapter was read :

I wished then, as I am wont to do, that I was a character, one of substance or not. I wish I was the tortured product of some cowardly intellect, or the hero of my very own narrative. I wish that love was a certainty in my future. That some wealthy heiress or widow would find within me something to desire, even if that object does require some discovering. I wish, at my most basic level, that my life had been a lie, a fiction for the entertainment of creatures so high above me in reason and wit that they find joy in my existence. I wish that I had those creatures to worship, to fear, to rage against. I wish I had a superior to fight, some formless entity to murder.

But, even as I allow myself to dream, my grip loosens on the glass. It fell through the air, trailing the occasional droplet of water caught within its personal gravity. It hit the bottom of the sink at a curve, rolling along the wide basin of stainless steel. Had this, my very existence, been a fiction as I desired, wholly for the entertainment of others, then that glass would have shattered. A brief flash of drama, the explosion of excitement on the horizon would follow every shard. One would, no doubt, rocket up as though driven by some intelligent urge, into my hand.

I would have bled and healed and scarred, I would have to spend the next few days with one hand wrapped in a bandage. No doubt, when my ire was raised as I finally came to face my antagonist, it would have begun to shake and bleed again. If my life was a fiction, I would have something to say, some witticism or animalistic noise to fill the sudden silence after the cessation, the quiet that became the loudest sound.

But, it wasn’t. And I didn’t. So I left the glass where it lay, and I went to bed.

Whereas my more recent draft reads:

He wished he was a character. He wished he was the product of some tortured intellect or some cowardly genius. He wanted to be the hero of his very own narrative. He wished that love was a certainty in his future; that some wealthy heiress or widow would find within him something to love, even if that love has to be discovered. He often dreamed that his life had been a lie, a fiction, for the entertainment of creature so high above him in reason and wit that they might find some joy in his existence.

Amory wished he had those creatures to worship, to be afraid of, to rage against. He wished he had an inarguable superior; some formless entity to murder. Some vaguely defend enemy against which he could march.

The glass fell out of his hand. Time seemed to slow as gravity exerted itself. The glass rolled through the air, trailing droplets of what little water had escaped Amory’s voracious thirst.

It hit the bottom of the sink at a curve, spinning along the wide basin of stainless steel. Had this, he thought, my very existence been a fiction as I desired, this glass would hit the bowl straight, and it would shatter. It would be a brief flash of drama, an explosion of excitement trailing after every flying shard. He imagined one such shard flying upwards, driven by the malice of those creatures above him, piercing the flesh of his hand. He could feel the pain such a thing would impose, could see the bloody hole it left there. He would bleed and he would heal; he would scar and spend the next few days with a bandage wrapped around his hand.

If my life was a fiction, he thought, I would have something to say. Some witticism or animalistic noise to fill the sudden silence, the quiet that became the loudest sound.

But it wasn’t. And he didn’t. So he left the glass where it lay, and he went to bed.

As you can see, I’ve shrunk sentences down, removed some completely and changed the voice from 1st person (the voice which I prefer to write), to 3rd person (which I sometimes prefer to read).

Still, I am caught in a certain phase of doubt. Should I write to please the reader, as in, write how they want me to write, or do I write how I would like to write. Whilst I would like my work to be read and, if I am being completely honest, convince them to think a little more about the world in which they live, should I not write as they want me to write?

Do I sacrifice a percentage of what I am trying to do in order to make sure the rest of that percentage is consumed by the reader?

Or do I say ‘Fuck it all’, I will do as I desire and let the world think what it will?

At the minute, I don’t know. I am caught between the two. My every fibre of being screams at me to do as I desire, to write how I feel the narrative needs to be written, but my logic argues against it. I really don’t know what to do so, at the minute, I am rewriting what I wrote in 1st-person into the 3rd. At the very least, it might help me gain some insight into the exact voice I would use for the 3rd.

What do you guys think? Do you have a preference either way? Or should I scrap the whole thing and burn every word I have written down?

In other news, my latest Literary ‘Experiment’, in which I attempt to create something inspired by London Pleasures, is going fairly well. I have a couple of pages of possible stanzas, though there is no garauntee that they will end up in the actual poem, which will be nowhere near as long as I would like it to have been.

I Can Do Poetry, Me!

I won’t be typing it up until it is completed, (I can hear the disappointment from here!) but here is something of a sneak preview!

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I may, or may not, have stayed up for a little longer than I should have last night. This was because, (if we ignore my all too common insomnia) I found myself struck with some simple ideas for this latest work of mine; this poetic thing for which I have taken inspiration from Gordon Comstock’s London Pleasures (Keep the Aspidistra Flying – George Orwell).

Poetry is not something I excel at; I prefer prose. But I recognise that there is something amazing about poetry, something in the form of such a medium which attracts geniuses and idiots alike.

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I have completed, for now, four stanzas. I have ideas for a fifth and I know, vaguely, the direction in which I would like to take this poem.

 

Replicating London Pleasures

In Keep The Aspidistra Flying (which I seem to have gone on about a lot recently) Gordon Comstock is writing a poem. London Pleasures. His magnum opus, one destined to remain unfinished and a contributor to his poverty. It was designed to be a 2000 words stanza about London, about the working class’ life and death and about the very city itself. It works masterfully as both a narrative device, going some way towards explaining his motivations, and keeping him in his current poverty. It also forms part of the introduction, enabling Orwell to describe the small fragment of the city Gordon can see from the window of the bookshop. The first stanza we read goes:

‘Sharply the menacing wind sweeps over
The bending poplars, newly bare,
And the dark ribbons o the chimneys
Veer downward; flicked by wisps of air,
Torn posters flutter.’

Of course, because this is an Orwellian character, he soon decides that it is worthless; that its ‘click-clack’ mechanical emptiness was the ‘last nodding of a clockwork doll’.

When we start the novel, Orwell has been working on London Pleasures for two years and has barely got anywhere. Well, at the minute, I am understanding the conception of poverty; though in such a modern way that I still retain access to a computer, a bed, my books, food, even an Xbox.

Poetry is not an area within which I can make any claim to talent. Any rhyming scheme I can conjure is a fool’s ramblings; I would kill for Orwell’s ‘click-clack’. But, I suppose, part of the pleasure of writing on this thing is simply that I challenge myself. That is often the purpose of these ‘literary experiments’ I so often undergo.

So I’m going to give poetry a whirl! I’m giving myself a week; starting Monday, to write poetry. Whatever it is, whatever it turns out to be, it will be thrown on here for the ravenous creatures of the internet to devour and dissect with their dancing fingertips and sluggish brains. Perhaps I might even post it randomly on one of those sites I despise, like Reddit, for truly obscene responses.

Desperate Light – Poetic Accompaniment!

This is actually something I forgot that I wrote. It’s terrible, of course, as all my poetry tends to be and I feel bad even calling it poetry. A few day ago, it must be a week or two by now surely, I wrote a short story called The Desperate Light in one night. I also wrote this little stanza type thing at the same time. It’s terrible, and I know it is, but I’ve been too busy and not at all inspired enough to write any more short stories since then, so here’s the mad ramblings of literary accompaniment!

The sea’s quiet tonight, and so is the sand.
The city’s in the dark, and my hand’s in my hand.
The baby’s crying in the passenger seat,
and I’m counting my copper’s, for something to eat.
The moon’s made of gold and worth more than me,
and I’m jealous of the water, running wild and free.
I wish alive, now I wish I was dead,
now I wish I had something else, runnin’ through my head.
I’ve drank myself to death a few hundred times,
but I wake up in the morning, and the sun still fuckin’ shines,
on my twitchin’ lungs, an’ on my yellowing teeth,
on the crow on my chest, an’ on the silence beneath.
I lie down in the dust and I wait for the sea,
to come and wash up on the land, and wash over me,
to lose myself in dreams, in the silence that comes,
and the silence I breathe, and the silence that numbs.
And there’s salt in my eyes just a-blocking the sight,
and I find myself praying for the desperate light.

 

The Desperate Light has moved!

So, because I’m currently exhausted of writing such thick fiction as I am currently involved in, I decided to stick The Desperate Light on Smashwords! It’s still free, don’t worry, I just thought it might garner me a few more readers this way. Plus, the act of creating another cover in that strange format which I find pleasing is always fairly therapeutic, to the point that I’ve a few ideas for more short story covers, even though I haven’t finished writing them yet.

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If you’d like to download it, it can be found here!

Not just self-advertising… I promise!

Just a quick update guys! As something of a celebration, because my next post will be my hundredth and I’ve had this little blogy-thing for a whole year now, my first Novella, Adjective Narcissism, will be free on Amazon on Thursday the 31st of July! That, for anyone without a calendar beside them, is tomorrow! So, y’know, if you want a free eBook that’s quite a quick read, I’d recommend it! Well, obviously I would, I wrote the damn thing.

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You can also check out the one, and only, ‘official’ review that it got over here, if you’re a little dubious about whether you’d enjoy it, mostly due to my inability to offer a realistic description of the thing.

You can grab it here:
US
UK

In other news, I’m going to do another ‘Literary Experiment’ tomorrow night, in which I attempt to replicate a famous author’s writing method. Tomorrow I’m going back to basics and am going to write using my notepad from university, a lack of technology inspired, not only by all those authors who came before modern PC’s (i.e, most of the better ones), but also by George R.R. Martin’s use of very basic word-processing software. The thing will be typed up for posting on here, but I won’t change anything about it, not even grammar or spelling, just as I didn’t for the Desperate Light, my Kafka’s ‘Night of Creativity’ inspired piece.