This Sunday Circle is an initiative of Peter M Ball (see here). I don’t get to it every week, but I am this week, so here goes.

What am I working on this week?

I’m editing my sci-fi time-travel Victorian Tesla novel (for my PhD). The first draft was horribly awful in many ways and this edit is incredibly challenging. I’ve just come through the dark point with it. Since the last Sunday circle, I’ve finished the draft of my next contemporary novel, and gone through PhD confirmation. It wasn’t a positive process. I’ve been left destabilised as to the whole rationale of my project, which is echoing through my edit. The destabilisation goes something like this: Me: I’m a writer, interested in how writers make their stories work, and when I say “work” I’m interested in that idea at a deep, neuroscientific level. *whispers of confirmation readers*: why don’t you read X literary theory? We don’t understand what or why you’re doing this. Me: … I say this solely to acknowledge that working on the sci-fi novel also means grinding subconsciously on how to attack the project critically, and whether I’m even capable of satisfying an academic audience. Onward we go.

What’s inspiring me this week?

Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook. It’s a stunning illustrated guide to writing, that fundamentally imagines stories as strange living creatures. Vandermeer’s thematic and tonal fingerprints are all over it. While not everything resonates with me, it’s still a beautiful experience.

What part of my project am I avoiding?

For the last week, I avoided dealing with the “spaghetti junction”, which is where a whole new beginning to my sci-fi novel had to merge with the old beginning (much later in the story). I have actually resolved that (largely), but now I’m avoiding dealing with the fallout of the merge, which means scraping/rewriting/resetting the next six chapters or so. That’s what I’m about to force myself to address now.


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