Sunday, October 26, 2008

Writing and other diversions

Good news on the writing front: after going great guns early this summer, and getting two long new stories written, I hit a bad case of writer's block, and was beginning to despair of ever getting the final story for my forthcoming collection from Prime Books, Northwest Passages, started, let alone finished. Then inspiration struck, when I was looking at a website of photos taken at a deserted amusement park in Ohio, and the last story—entitled 'Out and Back'—was written, sent to Prime, and accepted. It thus joins another new story—'After', inspired by the Constance Kent murder case which shocked England in 1860—in the collection; the other eight stories are reprints of work that has appeared elsewhere, or which will appear elsewhere between now and next October, when the book comes out.

So that's a weight off my mind, and I can now enjoy the World Fantasy Convention in Calgary, which begins on Wednesday. I'm moderating a panel on 'Sidekicks Who Try To Steal the Show', manning the Ash-Tree dealer's table, participating in the mass signing on Friday night, doing at least one reading, and taking part in the launch for Gaslight Grimoire, to which I contributed a story (see previous posting). I also have two other stories debuting at WFC: 'Back Roads', in the new Ash-Tree anthology Shades of Darkness, and 'Endless Night' in Exotic Gothic 2, edited by Danel Olson for Ash-Tree.

More details on Northwest Passages will be forthcoming as they're available. At this stage, it's all very exciting; and rather strange, to be on this side of the writing/publishing process.


nomis said...

Good news! I'm looking forward to the book, Barbara. Sometimes I feel I've hit the end of anything interesting I have to say, and that all my good stories are behind me. Then, out of nowhere, I'll stumble across an idea that just starts ticking like a bomb, and I have to write it down before my head explodes. Often, it's these ideas that prove to be my better tales, something that's quite reassuring so soon after my despair.

And, of course, congratulations on getting the book together. I imagine it frees your time up now to get caught up on some of those other projects that have slipped to the side.

Barbara Roden said...

Thanks for this, Simon. Yes, it's frustrating when you get to that point where nothing you try to write is working out, and a little voice starts suggesting, oh so insidiously, that it was a good run while it lasted, but you've run out of ideas. And then: boom! Another story idea appears, and you smile and tell the voice to be quiet now, you have some writing to do.

I'd got to the stage where I'd started three or four stories, and none of them were gelling. Then I went and looked at the website I'd bookmarked with the abandoned park photos on it; I'd looked at them before, and thought 'Great setting for a story', but that was as far as I'd got. This time, however, as I looked at them the whole story formed in my head, and I couldn't wait to get writing it.

Perhaps it's a result of writing more, but I find this happening more often: rather than a story slowly accreting in my mind over time, I'm getting whole story ideas entire.

And yes, I imagine this will free up a bit more spare time; there's a lot of other work I have to get caught up on.

nomis said...

What I find gets my juices follow quite often is reading over the notes and ideas I've jotted down for stories that have failed to materialize for one reason or another. It's amazing how one idea seems interesting, but future-less, but when that one is combined with another of the same kind, KABOOM! Off go the fireworks! Making one story out of two separate ideas has always left me feeling overjoyed. I suppose it's the waste-not in me.

My stories still come often by accretion, but I find often the accretion is accelerated over a few days. Once I"m writing, it's as though everything I see or hear is feeding me little bits for the story. What also helps me is the confidence I now have to start a story without a definite idea of where it will go. I trust myself to find the way without a map beforehand. It's quite liberating.

TheMadBlonde said...

I got my copy of GG last week & FINALLY had time yesterday to crack it. So far haven't got past the second introduction but am actually enjoying that a lot. Fun to hear about someone's history in Horror.

We had Les Klinger speaking on the new Annotated Dracula last night @ the annual "Friends of SH Collections" meeting. He was charming. I've seen him around, certainly, but don't recall hearing him speak before, though I've probably just forgotten. Anyway, the book is GORGEOUS & looks like it will be great fun if I can ever get to it.

GG is also a lovely little book, & I'm even putting aside finishing "Bound for Evil" in favour of enjoying it. Then again, I'm getting a little sad w/ BFE because the books keep winning.

Barbara Roden said...

Hope you enjoy GASLIGHT GRIMOIRE, Karen; I'm looking forward to seeing the book in a couple of days. Only read one of the other stories so far, but a collection of supernatural tales featuring Holmes: how can it fail to be wonderful?

Yes, the books in BFE do tend to come out on the winning side; I suppose because they have a lot more tricks up their sleeves, and a good deal more patience, than the human protagonists.

Steve Bacon said...

Great news, Barbara. I'm looking forward to the collection immensely. I'm trying to get a copy of Gaslit Grimoire over here to the UK. Best of luck to you.

Barbara Roden said...

Thanks, Steve! Hope you get a copy of GASLIGHT GRIMOIRE; got a copy myself at the weekend, and very handsome it is, too. I'm really looking forward to reading it; heard Barbara Hambly read part of her own story from it, and it sounds excellent.