Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[books|writing] Onward through the fog

Chemo fog is beginning to slow down my brain, but I aten’t dead yet. Still reading, still writing.

On the reading front, I am currently consuming The Sky Road, the fourth book of Ken MacLeod’s The Fall Revolution cycle. Because I’m an idiot, I’ll be reading The Star Fraction (the first book) last. All the same, this is a cycle, not a tightly-coupled series, so that’s okay. I am loving these books. As I said on Twitter and Facebook yesterday, I find them to be “grim Scottish socialist SF, Riddley Walker meets The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, with bells on.” That is high praise. It’s also interesting stuff to read just after gulping down Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels all in a row. Plus the new Pratchett will be in my hands shortly.

In chemo terms, I’m not reading as sharply as normal, nor quite at my usual pace, but I’m still taking in the story. For now, I’m pleased.

Incidentally I have also conditionally promised to do a foreword for a nonfiction book and a blurb for a single-title novella, if brainspace holds up, but that’s practically a segue into writing.

I’ve got notes from various sources on the second draft Calamity of So Long a Life, the first volume of Sunspin. Amusingly, and pleasing to my heart, my Dad has been a very engaged first reader. I’m awaiting comments from my agent before I see how much a can worms I need to open here, and whether I can commit to whatever deadlines that implies. I do expect to hear from her this week on the book.

In the mean time, I’m slowly working through the outline of the proposed joint novel project with urban fantasy author J.A. Pitts, a/k/a [info]bravado111. This is the book I’ve occasionally mentioned in jest about a werewolf with achondroplastic dwarfism. We’ve decided to actually write the damned thing, and see how it does in the market.

The series title is Little Dog, because that’s the protag’s (very insulting) pack name, and we’re working with Son of a Bitch as the the title for this book. It’s probably going to border on dark comedy, but we’ve got some real neat concepts coming to boil underneath, drawing pretty heavily on my medical experiences for both inspiration and verisimilitude. John’s skills as a character-driven writer are far sharper than my own, so while I’m doing the tippy-type drafting of the outline, we’re having frequent story conferences by email, SMS and voice wherein he’s showing me some pretty deep things about the narrative and characters that I would have been a long time coming to on my own.

This is the whole point of collaboration. So I can learn and grow from John, and he can learn and grow from me. Plus it’s a fun idea, and we’re having fun working on it.

The reality is the most we’ll get done this year is the outline. Chemo will be checking me out from writing soon, and I won’t be in a position to draft it. Such writer cookies as I still have need to be prioritized for Sunspin. But at a projected length of 90-90,500 words, it’s a project I can easily wedge into my spare time next spring as I begin the process of busting out the second and third volumes of Sunspin. Or if we decide John is going to write the first draft, it becomes a revision process for me, which is even easier to fit into my schedule.

So I guess I’ve sprouted another novel. Because there’s never such a thing as too much to do, right?

In the mean time, I read, write and wait for the chemo fog to close in so tight I have to shut down the control tower and be reduced to watching Netflix Streaming.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.

Tags: books, calamity, cancer, health, klog, little dog, personal, sunspin, writing

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