Monday, January 07, 2008

The first day of the rest of my life?

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve packed in the day job. Today is my first day as a full time writer. Shit. Scary. Especially when you read stuff like this.

So what have I done today? I got down to serious work on my next Porfiry Petrovich novel. I’ve been making character notes, on index cards of course. And trying to tease out and develop the various story strands.

I’ve also tried to do some work on something I call ‘the visual structure’ of the book. I find it quite interesting to approach writing in this way, to think of visual themes for the book, and possibly to imagine the story as a progression, or journey, from one predominant visual motif to another. To put it in its simplest terms, from darkness to light. Or, in the case of the book I’m working on, from mist to clarity.

It’s all very sketchy and just now I’m not sure where it’s going, if indeed it will go anywhere. But I do feel it’s important to give the book some texture and depth. I hope so anyhow.

It’s tempting to write purely rationally, especially when you’re writing crime – or more specifically – detective fiction. That is to say, to pin down the plot in terms of what needs to happen, the essentials. I worry that in my own case this could make my writing too mechanical and formulaic. By approaching the construction of the story visually, as well as rationally, I’m hoping to allow space for the unexpected to occur. I hope to surprise myself, and my readers too.

That’s the theory. I’ll let you know how it works out.

The first review of A Vengeful Longing has appeared, on the book website Vulpes Libris. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer one!


Dr Ian Hocking said...

Congratulations, Roger - I'm sure this is the right step, particularly given the reputation of your books. It's a curious thing, though, the idea of just doing the writing. I gave up my full-time university work a couple of years back and I'm still not sure whether it was a good idea...time will tell. Good luck!

Anne Brooke said...

Good luck in the new lifestyle, Roger! If it's right, it's right. I know I could never do it myself as I get all my inspiration from work colleagues - plus I rather enjoy having two lives. With my characters, that helps!

And don't forget nothing's forever - you can always temp for a while or do part-time stuff, as I do. Think of it as another exciting life stage and go for it!



Josh Maday said...

That's great, Roger. I wish you the best. Congratulations!

Roger Morris said...

Many thanks for the kind wishes, Ian, Anne and Josh.

In the short term I just need to build up some momentum on the next project (or two)! In the medium to long term, who knows how things will pan out.

Anne - you're right, nothing is forever. I left work with lots of support, but also with the door still open if ever I need to go back.

crimeficreader said...

You are brave!
And congratulations!
I finished reading AVL at about 7am this morning and throughly enjoyed it. I'll be posting about it near publication date.
All the best!

Matt Curran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Curran said...

Fantastic news, Roger... and er, apologies for the previous comment (that was so full of typos it was quite incoherent!)

I tried writing full-time eight years ago, for about four months and I loved it (only the lack of funds caused me to find a job again). It's that whole feeling of being in control of your day, and having the time to do other things non-writing related which you can't do when you're writing all the spare hours God allows you.
The only down-side was interaction with other people - so I turned into a social animal in the evenings. But that's a small "downside". Having tasted it, that kind of freedom is something I still aspire to.

Echoing David Isaak’s comment over on this blog, this development has been fully deserved. Congratulations on finally burning the office tie!


PS: Are you around on 28th Feb? Aliya Whiteley is having a book launch at Goldsboro bookshop and Sarah and I are coming down for it from Sheffield - to do some research on the new book and of course, do some shopping...

Paul Campbell said...

Roger - that's brilliant news. I really hope it works out for you.

When I quit my day job a few years ago I gave it 18 months and then had to find a means of earning a bit of cash because the writing wasn't paying. I discovered that my former employers were delighted to have me back to do the odd job for a few months at a time, and were quite happy to pay an inflated consultancy rate in exchange for the flecibiilty I could offer (not to mention my undoubted expertise!). I just thought I'd mention it. Never burn your bridges. Not that you'll need it, of course. Just for peace of mind.

Now, get off the internet and start earning!

Nik's Blog said...

Great news, Roger. Best of luck with it, not that you'll need any.


Charles Lambert said...

Good luck!

Roger Morris said...

Many many thanks cfr, matt, paul, nik and charles. Matt I hope to be at Aliya's, but I'm also trying to plan a trip to russia, which may happen around about the same time. I'm minded to put it off till after though.

It's great to have such wonderful support and warm wishes.

Tiger said...

Hi Roger, popping over from WW to say I found the post about 'visual structure' fascinating and inspiring. I spent this afternoon sourcing images which related to the theme, settings or plot of my new novel, as a means of putting down some little flags for the journey ahead. It was a great exercise (different, I realise, from the one you described), not least because it brought to my attention all sorts of new info and interesting little nuggets which I know will be subtle threads in the canvas I'm about to weave. Not to be poncy about it, you realise! Thanks for the bright idea,

Sarah aka Tiger

Carleen Brice said...

I came over from Jamie Ford's blog. I'm in the same boat--gave up the day job to be a writer when all the evidence suggests that it's an insane thing to do. So what? Not the first insane thing I've done, and I'm betting it's not the first for you either. Congratulations...and if you ever find a coffee pot that gets the job done, please let the rest of us know!

Roger Morris said...

Thanks for looking in Sarah and Carleen. It's always great to see new commenters. And I'm glad the visual structure thing made some sense, Sarah

rashbre said...

Good Luck with these new steps! And here's to the next novel!