This post is again for the Sunday Circle, an initiative of Peter M Ball (see here). I work every Sunday, but I sometimes don’t post the Sunday Circle, simply because with limited time, working on a project is preferable to posting a blog. But I do it when I can.

What am I working on this week?

I’m continuing to work on my PhD project. After a month of being intermittently lost in the woods, reading articles and coming at it backwards, I’ve finally seen the vision of what the creative project is. Not the novella I’d been working on (though it’s useful background and testing, all 11k of it). Today and for the week, I’m doing work tandem – planning the novel (working title The Incident at St Alberts) and reading “antecedent works”.

I’ve also met with my writing buddy to get her feedback on The Paris Wedding. As usual, she found a bunch of stuff I’d been hiding from, or hadn’t considered. I’m letting that turn over in my subconscious. Once we’re on the plane to Paris in 2 weeks, I’ll be doing revisions.


What’s inspiring me this week?

The Martian by Andy Weir. It’s a serious technical novel, which is where my focus is heading for my PhD. I’m listening to it on audiobook, and the techniques used to navigate all that technical material are both interesting and impressive, and the reading by R C Bray is really well done. I can see why it’s an award winner.

I also finished Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (also on audiobook). An awesome (but very different) story; not really at all technical in the sci-fi spectrum, but full of ironic humour and savage humanity. At 26+hours in audiobook, it was a serious investment, but worth it to have the voice actor reading those lovely phrases in Middle English and Latin. Not technical sci-fi, but meticulously researched all the same.

We were sick this week, so I’ve also revisited that old fave, the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, complete with Colin Firth. Always a winner.

Why these three things inspiring me? Because levity is an essential part of any narrative, as essential as serious consideration (Aristotle said: “Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit.”), but it’s the part of writing that challenges me the most as a writer. Anyone can be a serious bore, or be fluffy (I tend in the former direction) – balancing both is difficult but so critical. Discussion of this aspect of narrative will form an essential part of examining the technical novel for my PhD project, so I’m sucking up as much example as I can and trying to improve myself.


What part of my project am I avoiding?

I’ve been avoiding being too concrete with the plan for the novel, because it starts to change form once I write it down. Starting to break that today I hope.


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