ottobre 11, 2010

Hello, dear authors!

Today was a lovely sunny day in London, so I picked up my books and sprawled in the park to study. I'm a lizard: when I'm at home in Italy during the summer, no matter how hot it gets, I always enjoy standing in the sun and feeling it roast my arms and shoulders. (Too bad there's no way I get even the hint of a tan!) Cute detail of the day: a small brown squirrel racing through the grass and up an acorn while a miniature mouse of a dog ran after it. When the squirrel was safe on a branch, it looked down to where I was standing, and it had this pouty expression as if to say 'Did you see what that dog just did?'. And then a random passerby looked at me all perplexed because I offered words of sympathy to the squirrel.

Writingwise! I have been researching Urban Fiction, trying to get in the mood for a story I'd like to write, and I am rather disappointed. I came away from my research with the impression that UF consists of first-person narration by not very believable badass hot girls who single-handedly solve some cool case and have sex with the handsome vampire / werewolf. What I got out of it, essentially, is that I won't do that sort of research again. So I dug out a couple of Torquere Press UF m/m anthologies, and am currently cheering myself up!

Which leads me to the intended topic for this entry. When I start working on a story, it all usually starts with a flash of some sort - either I see a drawing of a character / place that sets me off, or I glimpse a scene between two characters, and I have no idea who they are and in what predicament they're in. So I frantically jot down whatever I'm thinking and whatever immediately flows after it, because I know I'll forget it if I don't, then sit down and start outlining a plot. I didn't use to be like this, but now I really struggle to begin to write if I don't already have a fairly good idea of what it's going to happen, who the characters are, what the surrounding scene looks like. If I can't hear their voices, I can't start. So I jot down ideas and try to understand what they want, where they are, what's gonna happen to them... then at a certain point something clicks and everything comes to life, and every event, every choice they make, seems inevitable.

It looks like in the last few years I've become more and more of a control freak, and I need to know a lot before I can actually sit down and write. I wonder if this is maybe a symptom of some sort of insecurity? I need to have some fixed points to 'guide' my writing, or at least to have as markers, even though I might end up ignoring them. What about you? How do you plan your work, if you do? Do you need to 'see' a whole story before you sit down to write, or can you just start typing and see what happens?

At the moment, I have characters, I know what sets stuff in motion, I kind of know what the big deal of the story is - although not the details yet! - and I have a very clear idea of what the big frantic action and ending are going to be like. I'm still missing, painfully, the romance part - I can't see them interact, which is like having a very yummy pastry to eat and then finding out there's no chocolate filling inside. It's not snapping yet, and so I haven't started writing. Maybe I should try to start and then see what happens - maybe I should try and get over my need to be a control freak, and trust that my boys will find their way all by themselves :).

ottobre 06, 2010

London Autumn

So... it seems I'm not that good at the whole blogging thing :).

On sunday I flew back to London. It's always hard to leave home: every time I deeply, truly don't want to. But my mother, my grandma and my boyfriend are wonderful and always supportive. They listen to me as I routinely panic about being so far away, about whether I'll find a job, whether I'll manage to write anything decent for uni; they remind me all my talents seem to kick in as soon as I'm here, that when I throw myself in deep waters I always magically remember how to swim. Most of all, they remind me of how proud they are of what I'm doing, and that they will be waiting for me when I come back.

It's especially difficult to leave my boyfriend behind. Every time I leave it's another goodbye, and it seems to get more painful every time. We manage to see each other at least every two months, and I spend the whole four months of summer holidays at home. He's always been incredibly supportive, even when I myself wasn't sure of whether I'd be able to carry on living abroad. I try not to think too much about the future. I don't know where I'll be living, where I'll find a job, I'm not even sure where I'd like to live and work. I like to think we'll make it through, and I try not to obsess about things too much. I'll see what happens :).
Anyway, the first days of uni were great. I always feel much more productive when I'm in London. I moved in the new flat, and I'm loving the housemates. I am left wondering, how exactly did I manage to accumulate so much stuff here in London? Of course, 0.50 £ books at charity shops are the kind of temptation I can't quite resist...

On the publishing front! I've been rather lazy this summer, as I tend to do when I'm at home. My short story Emet was accepted for a Sherlock Holmes anthology over at Circlet Press. I was so very thrilled when I found their call for submissions. M/m, Sherlock Holmes, and steampunk - three of my favourite subjects all packed in a story! I simply couldn't resist. I did struggle a bit with the word limit - I'm realizing that I'm not really cut for short stories. 12'000 words already seems a little short to me - 7000 was a miniature nightmare! For some reason, the novella lenght is the one in which my stories seem to naturally fall. What about you, dear authors? Do you have a story lenght you feel more comfortable with?