A Storied October

It’s been a good month for the muse.

I’ve been progressing through plotting a new novel project, which I’m hoping to have largely complete by November. While there’s a temptation to think of writing at all an accomplishment of sorts (given how little fiction I’ve been producing lately), I’m trying to strenuously avoid that line of thinking. Instead, getting back into enjoying the process, enjoying the daily progression towards the goal without simply focusing on the goal and being frustrated at how far away it is, has been something I really needed to do. I might write more about this in the coming months, but I think it’s at the heart of a few problems I’ve had with my writing (and balancing famly/writing/work/life).

NaNoWriMo is coming up for its annual Novemberley madness, and while it’s certainly not for everyone, it’s encouraging to see much more local recognition of it than in past years. Several local libraries are getting behind it, so to put in a show of support and meet a few aspirant writers in the process I popped around for one of their info sessions. I last finished a NaNoWriMo novel in 2008, and while that particular project may continue to languish in pergatory awaiting a page-one rewrite, there’s no denying that learning one can write fiction quickly, to a deadline, and complete it has some merit.

Though I did conclude that libraries probably aren’t my ideal writing milieu.

Kat and I then attended a day of talks at CrimeScene 2013, a micro-convention here in Perth on the topic of Crime Fiction. Talks we attended included the differences between Australian and US law (which, given just how much US crime fiction is on our shelves or TV, is quite an eye opener), limitations of DNA evidence, firearms inaccuracies in crime fiction, and a few on the topic of writing the genre. Amusingly, I’d only even heard about the convention through Lee Battersby’s blog a few days before, but as spur of the moment decisions go, it was well worth it.

We also found time to see Gravity, which I’d studiously avoided trailers for and perhaps partly as a consequence can’t recommend highly enough. There are a great many story-telling reasons why I enjoyed this film, and while it may not have been scientifically accurate in all respects, I think films like this and Apollo 13 are incredibly important for both the hard-SF market and the future of space science.

Consider that heroism and action and rising above the mundane might motivate an audience to seek more of the subject matter after the curtain closes. If this is the case, what are they wanting more of? If they’re reading or watching SF which obviously breaks well known, accepted laws of physics, then why draw a link to and become involved with space science at all? This is where I’ve always felt hard-SF needs to stake out its market, and why despite its few technical weaknesses (which many audience members are clearly unaware of) Gravity puts forth a generally believable scenario, invests the audience in it, and plays it all out before a scenic backdrop to die for. And in a market where we might occasionally think a 3 hour movie sounds like good value for money, it shows just how much more can be done in 90 minutes with decent pacing.



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