Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Writing Week: Issue 37 Year 4

Hi all,

I finished the first draft of a short story that I have been slowly plugging away on for a few weeks. My main character’s voice had evolved by the end of the story, so I immediately started rewriting it. The story is only 5100 words at the moment, which is small for me, hopefully it doesn’t get too much bigger.

I wrote every day of the last week – spending more time writing than the previous week.


Torchwood: Miracle Day, finished on the weekend. I very much enjoyed it, although the episodes varied in quality. The first few episodes were all action as the characters fought for their lives. There was not a lot of character development or back story until midway through the series when we got an episode concentrating on Captain Jack Harkness’ past.

I found the episodes that concentrated on Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman) the least enjoyable because they did not seem to be moving the plot forward. I also had a hard time liking Rex, the CIA agent.

A lot of familiar faces from science fiction popped up during the mini-series, Nana Visitor from Deep Space Nine, John de Lancie (Q) from the Star Trek franchise and Francis Fisher from Eureka.

The final episode satisfactorily brought the mini-series to a conclusion. There was a final twist, which I think most people would have seen coming.

Torchwood vs Doctor Who

Doctor Who really pales in comparison to Torchwood. At the moment, Doctor Who generally lacks suspense as it lurches from problem to solution in quick succession. The most recent episode, Night Terrors, was a tad more suspenseful and had a bit more tension. I was glad it had moved from the “death of the doctor” story line. As we know the Doctor will not die, so I find no suspense in their continual harking back to him being zapped in the first episode of this series.

Those Evil…

Read this quote in an article in the Age Good Weekend about censoring video games:

“the increased prevalence of gross forms of wickedness is due to a general  poisoning, mental and physical, which fills the minds and the veins of its victims with a more deadly venom than we have hitherto known.” This was written in 1869 by US Methodist Reverend J.T Crane and he was referring to novels in general.

Authors Losing Contracts Due to Collapsing Retail Market

According to the Bookmarks column in the Age, mid-list Australian writer Peter Klein had a publishing contract for his next book cancelled by Pan Macmillan because of insufficient orders to justify a print run. Two other authors have suffered the same fate. The publishing director at Pan Macmillan said that 20 per cent of the market had gone with the closure of Borders and Angus and Robertson, shops that consolidate mid-list authors. Supermarkets are not interested in writers who sell less than 5000 copies of a book.   

This is something to consider before buying books online from the UK or US.


Satima Flavell said...

"This is something to consider before buying books online from the UK or US."

OTOH, were it not for Amazon etc there would be nowhere to buy books now Borders and A&R hav gone. Dymocks hasn't many branches and the small local shops tend not to stock a lot of SF.

I agree about Dr Who. I'm also sick of hearing about the Doctor dying!

Graham Clements said...

Hi Satima,

I try to support Australian bookstores, but it is getting harder and harder to.

We have a Collins bookstore in Wangaratta that had only four science fiction books in it last time I was in there (I wrote in a previous blog post that it was three, but I then discovered that the China Mieville novel was actually sci-fi). I bought one of the four books, so they then had three.

I intend to still look in Collins for other genres besides science fiction.

If I lived in a major city, like Melbourne, I would visit some of the specialist speculative fiction shops and buy there.

I recently used the Book Depository for the first time to buy a book by Adrian Bedford which is not published in Australia.

The less writers and readers support Australian retailers, the less those retailers will support Australian publishers and the less those publishers will support Australian writers.

The question is, will Australian writers be able to get their books noticed among the millions of other books on overseas online book sites? I hope they do, but I think most Australian authors will struggle much more than they do now to get noticed.

The market is going to change drastically in the next decade. I still reckon the biggest publishers will soon be Amazon, Google, Apple and possibly Facebook.

Anthony J. Langford said...

Well done on getting your story done.

Will have to look out for the new Torchwood. Where did you see it again?

That's really bad that our authors are getting dumped. Rather than getting rid of them they should be offering more web services such as Print on Demand and get away from the traditional print runs, which are fraught with problems in today's market. They are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Those big old publishers are going to die off and as you say, the new guys will have the market.
Scary days for writers. Great ones for readers.

Graham Clements said...

Anthony, Torchwood was on the BBCTV channel on Austar/Foxtel.