Saturday, 29 August 2009
For a long time I have been bumbling around with another novel, which keeps falling apart as soon I look at it. Writer's cramp would at least help me to get a grip on the disintegrating fragments.
It's a near-future dystopian frayed yarn but somehow it wants to move beyond surreal gooning and gurning in the ruins of the West.
There's a strand about an elderly unemployed nuclear weapons designer looking for a new life in a Britain that is becoming rapidly post-industrialised and polarised around various fundamentalisms .
There's another strand set in a town on the Anglo-Welsh borders(hey, hey!) where an alternative neo-pagan culture is evolving. But it's fragile, fraught with internal dissent.
There's a techno strand, entangled around a corporation that creates virtual reality environments as escape zones for an increasingly disturbed urban populace. Cyber-entities may emerge from the digital soup...
And I've tried adding yet another sticky strand, drawn from the entrails of my first novel The Qliphoth. This revisits my protagonist Lucas a decade or two on, when the trans-dimensional energies released at the end of the first book have permeated daily existence, heightening its unpredictable & apocalyptic quality.
Somewhere there's a pattern from which a structure will develop , but I suspect it will have little to do with"what the characters want", as the plot-gurus keep reminding us. Their drives will become apparent, on the road, as it were. I have a feeling some of them may become retro-drives, into a kind of hyper-flashback.
Last week on a random impulse I bought a copy of the original "Scroll" version of Kerouac's On The Road, the first draft he wrote in three weeks on a long continuous roll of paper, which he glued together and fed through his typewriter. The myth of course, is that the whole book was conceived in three weeks, whereas he already had numerous discarded false starts, fragments and years of notebooks; and the Scroll mss was subsequently heavily revised and re-drafted. Yet the Scroll gave him the direction and focus he needed, to keep watching that narrow paper moving in front of him like the white line on the middle of the highway. The man was on a roll...
So that's what I need - a Holy Rolling Scroll. And a voice in my flaky ears...