I’ve been writing a lot over the last couple of weeks, although I haven’t yet achieved my target of 1000 words a day, which equals 3 novels a year of roughly 120,000 words each. Although I have high hopes of reaching that target soon, as I settle down to retirement. Even what I have written does mean that I have been able to post a new Majorca Flats episode almost every day. It’s gratifying to see my readers returning. You’ve been very patient. Thank you.
I’ve almost reached the end of Majorca Flats. Perhaps another 20 episodes, and then we will have the climax that I’ve been planning since quite early on. Not that there aren’t several strands to the story–my characters insisted–but this was an important thread. A gay serial killer, driven to his crimes by internalised homophobia and rape as a boy, entering, and never really leaving the lives of my people. I wanted to write a story where even those who suffered most from life have hope and find someone to love. And I wanted it to be convincing. Happy-ever-after stories need to have the angst and sorrow and suffering but they also need to have convincing pathways out of these situations. I don’t know whether I’ve done that. I suspect I will change a lot when I rewrite it.
It will be very strange finishing the tale of these friends and their families in and around a late 19th century Melbourne Victorian Terrace. When I write, the characters in my novel become my friends, my acquaintances. I know them. They tell me in no uncertain terms, no, I’d never do that, or are you crazy? or c’mon, give me a break! So I shall miss them.
I might go back to do a second volume, but not yet. I have so many other stories, some requiring rewriting and some requiring just writing–the first draft isn’t even done! I think I will start with ElvenSword. That was the first novel I wrote, and they say you should write your first novel and then throw it away, because it’s with your first novel that you learn the basics of your craft. I didn’t throw it away and perhaps I should have. Anyway, it needs intensive rewriting, more than any other of my novels.
Here is a list of my novels, some completed, some unfinished, and some needing rewriting:
- I Get No Kick From Champagne
- Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart
- Majorca Flats
- The Music Of Love
- Dragon’s Gift
Nine altogether. I had no idea I’d written so much, even without counting the short stories.
As I redo each chapter of ElvenSword and DemonThrong, and as I finish AngelFire, I will post the new or rewritten chapter here. I’ll let y’all know here on this blog, and on my website, and on my groups when I do post a new chapter.
One thing I’ve worried about is whether I have too much sex in my stories. To be honest, sex scenes are hard to write, at least for me. The pathway between being turned on and finding it silly or risible or just dull is narrow. However, sex is a central part of our lives. Not writing about it is to accept the religious narrative that it is somehow wrong or dirty, and it most emphatically is not. It’s OK to write about murder (Dorothy Sayers or Agatha Christie or Ngaio Marsh, for example) but not about sex. Yet we all have sex, often (well I hope we all do!) but none of us has murdered any one. Sex and sexual attraction is a central part of our lives.
I knew that my sex scenes, especially the gay ones or threesomes would consign my books to one small shelf in the bookshop, even the virtual one, but I felt it would go against my principles not to write them. Yet recently I read C S Pacat’s trilogy–Captive Prince, Prince Rising, King’s Gambit–which received rave reviews and were satisfying reads. The sex in this trilogy is explicit and gay, and she’s been published by Penguin, no less. She’s also a Melbourne writer like me. So I’ve decided that my sex scenes will be fine. Things have changed a lot since I began writing, fourteen or fifteen years ago. The little niche I inhabited hasn’t quite expanded to a cavern. But it’s surely bigger than it was. Even so, I shall probably write less explicit sex scenes in future if only because they take much longer than anything else.
Anyway: there you are. I’m writing, and I will be writing more. Thank you all for being so patient over the last five years.