Tutoring begins, writing slows


Well, I knew this day would come and I’ve planned for it, I just hadn’t been sure that I’d be quite as far ahead of my writing goals, nor that I would be able to time the beginning of tutoring to fit with exactly what I’m writing. (I tutor in, you guessed it, creative writing).

I’m deep into the next novel (well, 18,000 words), but took a break a couple of weeks ago to write some short/long stories. I should finish the third of those today or tomorrow, then I’ll go back to the novel. That novel will be in three parts, with a long passage of time between each (the first part set in 1996, the second – which I’m about to start – in 2002, and the third will be current), so a break at the end of the first part feels healthy: the characters will have developed and that break should give me a slightly different perspective.

For the next four or five weeks I won’t be able to keep up my 1000+ words a day as I’ve been doing all year (actually much more on average, my lowest daily count was 1010 words, highest over 5500 – the total is just on 130,000 for the 75 days of 2012). It’s going to be hard to slow down, I think, but will likely help with the novel – it might be a little more considered and evenly paced. 500 a day would be nice, but it might be more like 250. Still, that’s about a page. I definitely want to hit 150,000 words by the middle of the year, and do think that with the breaks in tutoring it will be quite possible. It would be good, I think, to get this novel finished by then, and be thinking about the next one.Oh, plus a couple of stories in there too.

On the reading side, I’ve just finished Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s City of Ruins – a sci fi adventure following on from Diving into the Wreck (and numerous stories). It was a fun romp. It seemed to start a little slow, but picked up quickly and became utterly compelling. I’m looking forward to the next one in the series – (Boneyards) – which is actually already out.

Now I’m finally picking up John Irving’s Until I Find You, which somehow I missed reading when it came out. I loved Last Night in Twisted River which I did read when that came out over a year ago – actually one of my favourites of his. I expect I’ll enjoy this one. I know I’ll be reading it slow (see notes on being busy above), but actually, that’s just fine.

Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving

I’ve been following John Irving’s work for many years now – most people would know him as the author of The World According to Garp or A Prayer for Owen Meaney or perhaps for winning the Oscar for best adapted screenplay for The Cider House Rules (adapted from his own book). I even wrote part of my thesis about his work.

Irving takes his time over new books – three, four, five, six years – so a new one is a treat. Last Night in Twisted River came out last year in hardback, but only recently in paperback. Told with Irving’s usual wry eye and laconic humour, it’s the story of a father and son on the run over several decades. While plot is perhaps very central to the book, for me it’s Irving’s style – his pacing, his deft use of language, his ability to write less than linearly yet still build the book cohesively. My one quibble is the number of typos – as if someone hasn’t even proofread the OCR file before publishing: things like “betwcen” or “Afer” (for “After”) – not a lot, but enough to bump me from the story for a second. Filled with moments of tragedy and moments of laugh out loud humour, this is a book to savour.