In past couple of nights I started working on the background of Insomnia, using sepia acrylic ink. It works beautifully on this paper, which is actually a kind of printmaking paper. Although you can’t see it in a scan, the paper actually has a very nice cream tone that works very well with the sepia. This technique hovers somewhere between inking and painting. Its nice to work a little looser after spending the summer doing extremely tight pointillism for Weaveworld.
When not working on Insomnia I’ve been pushing ahead very aggressively on my novel Necessary Monsters and I’m well on the way to the goal I set for myself after the World Fantasy Convention of having it completed by the end of the year. I’ve been reading a bit on the craft of writing and I think the best advice that I have encountered so far is simply: begin. It is one of the most difficult hurdles with writing because every day you begin again. After a while you have momentum. I think that’s where I am at now having just passed the 76,000 word point. Of course it is more than word count that matters, but seeing that number and being happy with the work behind me is a quiet victory and fuel to begin tomorrow.
I believe in the notion that the best education in the art of writing is to read well. This summer, I think the books that have been the master class for me are Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey and Nickel Mountain by John Gardner. Both of those books have been profound reading experiences and if you haven’t read them, you are in for a treat. Watch for the wedding scene in Nickel Mountain – it is a lovely piece of writing. The last 100 pages of Oscar and Lucinda are devastating, but brilliant.