Sunday, October 18, 2009

NaNoWriMo in publication: Rashbre's 'The Triangle' (book review)

It's one thing to actually complete a NaNoWriMo writing project successfully. I've never managed it, not even dared try it - my commitment is not helped by the nature of my work and the busy-ness of that time of year; plus, ya know, lazy as F*** - so I am in awe of those who manage to remain on course with the task.

To complete it AND see the product through to publication, by whatever means, is quite another scale of achievement.

So it's both cheering - and if I'm honest, rather galling - to see a fellow blogger be kick-ass organised enough and committed to their writing project to see it through to appearing in print.

Rashbre: step forward dude and collect your reward.

The Triangle is a ripping yarn of everyday folk caught in extraordinary events and attempting to turn them to their advantage. I doubt that my first reaction to the murder of someone I know would be to engage in investigation and identifying those responsible, but then I'm a coward as well as a lazy-arse! But I don't want to say too much more about the storyline because I feel there is a lot of fun and enjoyment to be had in coming to the text 'raw' if you like. So I'll just say there's that death at the start and then lots of political and economic international intrigue added into the mix for good measure. Oh, yes, and a neat reminder about backups for computers as well.

Rashbre is boldly (foolishly?!) intending to work on a sequel - and maybe further??? - so hats off for getting hooked on the writing gig. As the narrative progresses there is certainly a sense of developing mastery over both the characters and the momentum of plot (it IS absolutely an engaging and driven storyline). By the end, I therefore felt more in tune with the central characters than I had at the start -- initially, they had felt a bit too drawn from life. Bizarrely, those quirks and character descriptions that we litter about everyday real-life actually work less convincingly on the page, but as I say, by later in the text, some of this does gain in subtlety.

With a few further tweaks there would be even greater potential in showing how the text could shed some of its online writing origins and become a more independent publication.

(1) get some copy-editing in place from a helpful and critical friend if professional advice isn't accessible within the budget. A NaNoWriMo text will perhaps inevitably wear its origins of fast writing, and all those niggling things like tenses, punctuation and thesaurus-itis in phrasing will sneak through the first draft. But they shouldn't still remain in the final printed version.

(2) if it doesn't feel like contradicting the NaNoWriMo principle, schedule a rewrite period at least equivalent to the original writing period. Preparation before writing is one thing; I know some online writers who plot and plan for their NaNoWriMo most of the year before finally embarking on the writing project itself. But allowing time for the text to settle a little and reviewing it, not just in terms of plot momentum but also tone and style of language, would also likely improve the finished product.

But who am I to comment? Where is my novel? Well, let's not answer that. I have enough to contend with from the nagging prompts that I should have long since got the PhD into book form, and all the 'why the hell don't you just write a book about Doctor Who / Buffy / whatever cult TV I'm obsessed with?' So three cheers for bringing me a great evening's pleasure tearing through the thrilling narrative of Jake, Clare and Bigsy and here's to the next installment!

Waterstones has it listed, and you can always contact Rashbre via the blog for further advice on getting hold of a copy.

1 comment:

rashbre said...

Thanks for the comments and the naturally helpful suggestions. It is difficult to understand how people find time for all of this alongside the 'day job' so I'm "guilty as charged".

Fot me, its all part of the great experiment of living and trying to get a few things done.

At some point I'll get around to blogging about the writing experience (if thats not too twisted!) and some of the bizarre ways that something like a NaNoWriMo takes shape whilst on the road.

Indeed many of the stories settings were part of my November during the time that the novel first took shape.