Music ordered today 18/02/10

18 February, 2010

Ordered today from :

Requiem, Etc: Norrington / London Classical Players – Y701 / Y1,000

Got into the Requiem lately via the Kertesz recording reissued on Eloquence. A lot more drama and variety from Mozart than usual, which is why I like it. I’d like to hear the fugue that Sussmayr didn’t include in his completion, and from samples this sounds like a great version (much faster than Kertesz, but not stupidly fast).

Dudarova conducts Khachaturian, Kalinnikov, Miaskovsky (3CD) [3 CD] – Y1,279 / Y1,827
Kalinnokov: syms 1 and 2
Myaskovsky: sym 6
Khach: Widow from Valencia; Masquerade; Cello concerto rhapsody

I only know Dudarova from her accompaniments to Khachaturian and Kabalevsky concertos (Kabalevsky cello concertos are excellent, probably the best thing he wrote), but I want more versions of the Kalinnikov symphonies (Kuchar is overrated, Svetlanov sounds crude). This is also a chance to check out the Myaskovsky symphony, supposedly his best (I’ve heard his 24th and 25th, but was not converted).

Faure: Requiem – Y425 / Y500

The only version I have of this is Ansermet, which really sounds poor. Samples of this sound fine, plus I want more good requiems in my collection, plus it’s CHEAP! Easy decision to make.

TOTAL = ¥2405 = AU$30.07 [+ shipping] 4 discs

As promised in my previous entry, here is a little about my current novel project.

1) It’s in a popular genre. This is partly because of commercial considerations, and partly because I found a way to get my own obsessions and viewpoints into the main character and the story. I’m slightly worried, however, that this genre may suddenly become unpopular due to media glut.

2) It’s set in the present day, in my home town. I’ve had previous projects stall due to becoming bogged down in research. I really like the idea of evoking another time and place, but the prep work takes a lot of time and energy that could go to working on the actual book. So I decided to take the easy way, even though “mundane” settings don’t have great appeal for me. Of course, as I’ve realised, what is mundane to me may be exotic and interesting to others. I’ve also decided that, if I encounter something that requires research taking any great length of time, I will just make it up. To Hell with accuracy!

3) Because, as noted above, the main character embodies my own views and feelings, this story is in fact rather fucked up. Can I get readers to not only sympathise but empathise with a self-pitying, misanthropic, occasionally brutal, protagonist?

4) I’ve always like writing fractured narratives, and couldn’t restrain myself this time around. The novel tells two different stories in two different times, joined by the same main character in both. I hope each strand will cast the other in a more interesting light, and perhaps create the illusion of narrative complexity! It should also help to conceal some structural issues which are niggling at me, but which seem to defy solution.

5) There is no heavy swearing in my book. There are a couple of characters you might expect to swear a lot, but they only appear in a few scenes, and I think heavy swearing in only a few scenes would seem incongruous and make the book feel unbalanced.

6) I am currently stuck in chapter 6. The character is in a library doing research, which doesn’t make for a very dynamic scene. I know, objectively, that I should have something interesting going on here at the same time, but I imagined this scene as a kind of peaceful interlude. There are a couple of minor characters present, but I don’t know what my protagonist can say to them that would be engaging. After this scene, my protagonist is stalked in the park by a figure from their past, which has a lot more dramatic potential.

7) Okay, I confess: it’s a horror novel. Okay, okay, you beat it out of me – it’s a vampire novel, Oh, the shame! Oh, the people who will want to stomp anything with even the faintest resemblance to Twilight! But it’s what I want to write, and I think that, if I actually get it done, people will like it.

I think my next post will deal even more specifically with the task of putting words down on “paper”.

Writing the damn novel

9 February, 2010

I haven’t really blogged anything about writing so far, despite the blog’s subtitle. It’s probably because I’m “chicken-shit”.

I started a novel over the Christmas holiday, managed to get five chapters done, but, now I’m back at work, I’m writing virtually nothing. I could write if I didn’t have to work, but the fact is I DO have to work. I’d like to be a full-time writer so I wouldn’t have to do anything but write, but to get there is the tricky part. I have to write salable novels while I’m still working. And I can’t expect finishing one novel to set me free – I have to figure out how to write while working for maybe the next five years (at least), after which hopefully I can quit my job and write full-time.

I figured out part of my problem the other night. One reason I haven’t been writing is that it’s not something you can just turn on when you sit down at the keyboard. You have to keep your enthusiasm for the whole thing, and by “the whole thing” I mean the details of the story, not just general “I want to finish the novel” sentiments. So you have to keep the whole story in mind constantly, always going over the details and how the characters will act in all the different scenes. Obviously this is something that is much easier to do for a short story than a novel. But fuck it, I’m writing a novel, so I have to figure a way to keep the details of the novel in the front of my mind continually.

I’ve tried writing while at work – that is, I’ve got my Word files at work, and have come in planning to do some writing, but somehow never done anything. It’s partly because I’m under observation at work, by my boss, which makes me self-conscious and prevents the unselfconscious relaxation necessary to write. It’s also just that I’ve never written at work, so the situation is very unfamiliar. It’s also because my workspace at work is ironically not very comfortable for working: the desk is too high and too small, and the lights are too bright.

Tonight, when I get home, I’m going to get out my novel plan and just read it. No pressure to actually get words down, but just get the shape of the whole thing back inside my head, where it belongs! Wish me luck.

I’ll write a bit more about the specifics of my novel in my next post.