"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!" (Mary Quallo, St Louis)

"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!"  (Mary Quallo, St Louis)
Coming next week - Carla Eatherington

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Busy Jubilee Line

It's been a busy few days for me. The good news is that The Illustrated Woman is under way, approximately 6,000 words in.

As promised, I've already changed the plot. Alan, the older man, is now Emily's existing boyfriend, though not by much. The younger man, who I have yet to name, hasn't appeared yet. I might be leaving it too late and he needs to appear soon otherwise he will lose impact.

What shall I call a tall, handsome, but completely impractical and unemployable History First from Bristol way? Jake? Toby? Luke? Nothing fits so far. In many cultures, naming is one of the most important aspects of tribal development, though it doesn't seem to be in this society. I tend to use proper names a lot, but hardly anyone does any more. Plenty of people call me names, but hardly anyone uses my given name - not even my father, curiously. It's all yes, Mate, and Mate this.

Names can effect the balance of the story. Dawn and I have been working on the Carla cover and we have her nailed. If she was called Rebecca, or Elizabeth, it would alter everything about that book. When you see her, she IS Carla. She can be no one else, so I've got to get this third name right for the integrity of the story. Fingers crossed.

Any ideas, mail me. He's tall, a runner. He's curly haired, cute, hyper intelligent and a mine of trivia. He knows everything there is to know about, say, the Act of Union 1707, or the ramifications of the 1521Diet of Worms, but he can't get a job at the Pound Goblin because his head is so far in the clouds its got icicles and he keeps forgetting to go to work.

The entire piece, like Carla, and UV, is going to be written from the perspective of one person, which makes these three a loose trilogy - "The City Trilogy"- separating them from the first three Green Wizards.

The Illustrated Woman is bleaker than a cold November night in Mansfield. I'm trying to get a laugh in there, but I'm struggling. Emily is a dark, ambiguous character - definitely my darkest so far- and I don't know whether I like her or not. She isn't a villain like Cruella De Ville, she lives next door to you. She's everyday, but she isn't.

I like most of my protagonists. I'm not sure whether I like John in Carla, or the narrator in UV but I definitely like the heroes in the first three books, particularly Jennifer in The Ritual and Ricky in Kid Atomic. I ought to lighten her up a bit for my sake. It's hard to spend a month with a character you don't like, though she's so far written herself: The first 5,000 words have been the fastest I have ever written. About three hours, I think.

If you write, have you ever had that wonderful feeling that your character is writing the story through you? That's how I felt yesterday and today.

The covers are going well too, thanks to Dark Dawn Creations. She's a sharp as a tack that girl. And brave. Did you know that there are flying red cockroaches the size of fists in Phoenix? And swarms of mad African bees? I'll never complain about the weather again. Or the giant wild rabbits you get round these parts.

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