That Difficult Second Novel

I came up with the idea for my second novel (working title Effie – The Tragedy of an Earthling on the Flipside), part way through writing the first. So it’s been sat on the backburner a while. I like this approach. I like an idea to sit maturing for a bit, like a fine single malt. It can worm its way around your subconscious without too much hard-thinking.

But now pen must talk to paper.

I spose the second novel is like ‘the second album’. It’s a tuffy. You want to have learned things from your first project. You want it to be a bit wiser if only in execution. But you need to feel you’ve developed and progressed and grown as an artist.

I’ve made things easier for myself this time. Whereas number one novel ‘Dogtooth Chronicals’ is of a long & pleasingly complicated character, ‘Effie’ has a simple story arc. In practical terms it will be shorter and easier to edit. And cheaper to print (when you become self-publishing guru, this is suddenly ‘nice’). However. She is still a complex beast and is giving me a set of all new challenges.

I sat down to begin work on her late one night, while watching the last ever Souvaris show. (Click on link for their swansong album). This was with mixed blessing, because when I listen to them I think “I’ll never make a piece of art this brilliant, I may as well give up”.Then again, I’m no musician, so I have different competition (yeah, Leo Tolstoy, watch your back, buddy).

With ‘Effie’ I’m writing about humankind from the perspective of a similarly evolved being of another planet. While I don’t need to spell out to the reader how my narrator looks, I need to know in terms of how it feels to be them. How they move, think and act differently, what their social conventions are.

I also don’t come from a Sci-Fi place. I think they prefer to call this ‘speculative fiction’ (isn’t that all fiction?). I’m more interested in themes surrounding the treatment of humans as animals, as a refugee species.

Still it’s nice to have a new set of challenges. It keeps my brain from dwelling in trivial worries & dramas.

Let the games begin.

Over & owt.


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