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How long did it take you to finish your first book?

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  • How long did it take you to finish your first book?

    Was it a gruelling job, and were you happy with the result?

    -I admire your work-

    Simon

  • #2
    I have always been a fast writer, presumably because of my journalistic background working to daily or weekly schedules so that a monthly schedule always seemed like a holiday. I can't remember how long it took to write my first novel, The Hungry Dreamers, which was, as I've said, eaten by rats in a basement, so I'll never know if I was satisfied with it or not. My second book was The Golden Barge and only took me a week or two to write, I'm sure. The first Elric books were written for Science Fantasy magazine, which was appearing monthly, so I wrote each story or episode for that monthly schedule, probably in a couple of days a piece. When I came to write the Hawkmoon books I took three days a piece and most of my fantasy novels have been written in a matter of days. The current books take me longer because I have to keep setting higher technical goals and so forth as the genre keeps catching up with me, as it were. One of the reasons for my speed, I think, is that initially there were virtually no other books being written of the kind I was writing. Now, to continue to be original, I have to think
    harder! Satisfied ? Yes, I think I was satisfied with the Elric books,
    but probably not The Golden Barge, since I made no attempt to publish it and it wasn't published until Dave Britton and Mike Butterworth of Savoy found it amongst my papers and suggested publishing it. I must have been satisfied with the Hawkmoon books, too. You have to remember that I rarely reread any of my own work and have never, for instance, read the Hawkmoon books, even after I wrote them. They were done in first draft, read by a friend for typos and such, then sent to the publisher, unread by me! I don't use that system any longer, of course. Again, perhaps because of my journalistic background, I was satisfied if the publisher was satisfied -- but especially if the reader was satisfied.

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

    Comment


    • #3
      Absolutely fascinating - days, you say? Incredible. Don't you ever feel the need to cross-reference within a series - details, I mean? Concepts? Or are the books stand-alone in their own right?

      Comment


      • #4
        By and large I seem to be able to remember all the saliences of books, largely because I believe in the characters, I suspect. What I don't remember, readers remember for me. I brought Gaynor back, for instance, by public demand! I suppose I've always seen my books as a sort of dialogue between me and the reader, which could also be why I took so easily to this form of correspondence. In some ways I'm like the story-tellers who still work in the Djma al Fnaa in Marrakesh, who
        gather people around them and tell a story. They are the same audiences who have satellite TVs and cinemas, but seem to enjoy the older forms of entertainment as well. There is a less well developed tradition of fiction publishing in the Arab world, so presumably those story tellers serve that function. I sometimes feel I'm just the conduit for the stories, which pour into my head and, in my case, onto the paper.
        It seems to have to do with the characters themselves, however, rather than the plots. I often can't remember 'big' scenes until readers remind me of them, but I can remember how Corum felt, say, when captured by Glandyth, even though I have never reread the books. The current stories, about Elric and Ulric, are, among other things, exploring how a consciousness of being the Eternal Champion might feel, when you know you are one entity amongst many similar entities, yet both Elric and Ulric
        are individuals, sometimes occupying a single body. Just as, you could argue, I am all those individuals I write about.

        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by SeanWright
          Absolutely fascinating - days, you say? Incredible. Don't you ever feel the need to cross-reference within a series - details, I mean? Concepts? Or are the books stand-alone in their own right?
          I've read the occaisional review on Amazon or wherever that will claim they have found continuity errors, and maybe I as a fan overlook them, but I don't recall any of them. I think people get confused because they want to apply a linear order to the events. As Corum points out in Sailor on the Seas of Fate, time does not run concurrent in all the planes in the Multiverse.

          Comment


          • #6
            Mr Moorcock, do you think the stories which pour into your head are already there? Waiting to be found? Is the imagination a Place of Unfulfiled Dreams or Potential, where the stories exist before the writer or teller discovers them, like panning for gold, or digging up a fossil? If so, it would suggest that imagination - a realm of its own maybe - is sentient and intelligent in its own right and uses the writer for its own ends. Is writer and imagination seperate?

            Comment


            • #7
              I have often found that my engineering design ideas sometimes come from what is called the super conscious mind. I am often not aware that my mind is working on a problem, but then the solution appears from nowhere spontaneously. I read that the name given to this part of the brain which works on things without the person even being aware is the super conscious mind, as opposed to sub conscious. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to work in creative ways, doing engineering design, because I think that being creative is an important part of what gives meaning to life.

              Recently when I tried to write a book I found I could construct the framework of a story - such as the Corum one I had been thinking about, but I have difficulty adding the large number of words to turn the comic book sketch story that i had into an actual novel. I suspect one reason maybe that I have not thought enough of the characters and their interactions, because doing so would result in more prose.

              Mike, I wondered if you can offer any advice in this regard or is it that I just need to work alot harder?!

              Comment


              • #8
                The characters tend to carry the themes over from one book to another.
                Because in my mind the characters also represent certain qualities and ideas, they seem to do the job. Usually, if there's a continuity glitch,
                it's true a reader might catch it, or find some other error. I've made minor changes here and there in certain series when readers (especially John Davey, who acted as editor on the omnibus series) find discrepencies. I don't think there are any now.
                I don't believe that there's some sort of supernatural pond where these stories come from, but if there's life after death I like the Celtic idea of the 'Mother Sea' where all souls come from and where they all return,
                leaving consciousness behind. There's also the idea of the race memory, which I'm not that sceptical about -- a kind of group consciousness we share. Jung's ideas used to fascinate me. I'm not sure I understand the concept of 'superconsciousness'. I used to lie about in bed making the odd note until I felt ready to begin, then I'd leap up one morning and start, going hard for three days (though with time off for meals and such) and completing the book. I'd be exhausted afterwards. So while the actual time involved was short, I spent a fair bit of time working up to the moment when I began and felt pretty rough afterwards.

                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                Comment


                • #9
                  I know exactly what Tales means - maybe it's a 'problem solving' thing but quite often I find solutions to problems popping up like a new e-mail - whether it's a solution to some work problem, or trying to remember who wrote a tune - all of a sudden it will 'come to you' two days later with no prompting, and you realise that some part of your brain must have been getting on with it.

                  Mike - I would like to complain about the continuity errors in the Cornelius and Second Ether books!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Mike, based on your 3 day marathon approach I think it is working hard that is needed and also i need to be able to work faster!

                    I edited in a few more words to better explain the super conscious in my previous message.


                    I was just musing about the possibility that Dave Brock and Hawkwind might be interested in a forum set up like this? Dont know where or who to ask but i would be willing to set up the server on my computer at home, I have high speed cable.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Tales - do you have Mike's 'Death Is No Obstacle' or that Sandman issue which has the annotated script - I found both of those shed an interesting light on writing - one of the things that really stayed with me was Mike's comment about not fully describing a character, but noting something like the movement of their hands (actions show character and all that).

                      I think one of his other suggestions was rewriting an existing story (I presume not for publication but just for practice). I mean that's how artists or musicians work - learn the technical skill before you start applying it to your ideas (punk excepted!).

                      When I was at school they ran a now discontinued exam called 'Use Of English' that was a sort of journalistic course - you had to do things like take a passage and rewrite it in twice as many or half as many words. Wasn't very exciting but good technical practice.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Damn, Jules, I was hoping nobody would spot those errors.
                        Yes, I do recommend 'copying' a story as good practice,
                        the way that you get told to copy Old Masters when you're learning to paint.
                        Take a favourite story and rewrite it from memory.
                        That condensing exercise is a good one, too.

                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Jules hows it going back home in the shire? i feel terrible homesick at times. I feel lost and forlorn kind of like Frodo near the end of his journey.. why did happen to me... I need a Gandalf to come and say those words something about we cant always chose what happens to us all we can do is our best in the situation we are in.

                          I havent read those works by mike, kind of like D'Averc and his cough!? My main obstacle is time, i get so little to myself and what I have I spend resting! I know that if i start I will never finish it anyway! Kind of like a self fulfilling prophecy.

                          Mike have you ever seen a film called Stalker by Tarkovski? I suspect it would probably bore the pants of you, more so than 2001, but I thought I would like to ask anyway!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Lo Tales - things are OK - strange weather - arctic winds and snow last week, record temperatures (16 and up - in Feb) this week. Getting peed off with Blair, then Michael Howard calls for his resignation and the steaks are razed.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Mimer's well

                              My ancestors believed in the ancestral well, which was guarded by a creature called Mimer; Odin sacrifices his one eye to drink from the well. The result of this, of course, is that this eye always looks inward to the underworld, as it were. I'm not saying that this has anything to do with you; I just felt that it was an interesting digression.

                              Simon

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