Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Words from a Glass Bubble update


Today I received the typeset proofs of my very own book. And I quickly discovered why books are bound. My printer printed out one hundred and seventy something pages and spilled them on the study floor in no particular order... very helpful!

It is an extraordinary thing, to hold something like this...a wodge of words, and they are all your own.

It did two things to my head... it made it more likely that I may at some point in the future, have a novel in my hands that is also mine. After all, if I can write this many pages... pah! But in truth, will the novel give me as much pleasure as I have had over the last few years? I doubt it. It's been quite a roller-coaster, and one can't live without ups n downs, can one!

But it also made me think... how very very lucky I am to have this collection coming out from Salt. How so many excellent writers specialising in the short forms of fiction never get to see this happen.

Maybe Salt and its faith in the power of the short form will engineer in part a turnround in the fortunes of those who 'only write shorts'.

I was having lunch with a friend today, and she asked how the writing was going. The conversation went like this:

"So how's it going then?"

"Good, at the moment. I have my first book coming out in March."

"The novel? Oh good!"

"Er.. no. That is a long way off! This is the short story collection."

"Oh right. So when do you think the novel will be ready?"


It IS extraordinary. This friend had just been bewailing that her time for reading was very tight, and that she did sometimes buy short story collections, in order to read a complete piece before bed.

But it must be sexier to know a novelist, rather then a short story writer!

However. I now have the job of going through the proofs with a fine toothcomb to see if there are typos and so forth. If there are it will be my own silly fault, for sending imperfect files through in the first place!


Ossian said...

The pendulum will swing the other way, and it's the novel that will be passé and the story that is sexy. There is no less reading or writing in a collection of short stories than there is in a novel. When the printer comes to scatter the jumbled proofs there may be exactly the same number of pages. People have fallen into "group think" that they like to "get into" a novel. I like to "get into" a short story collection. So what? I like novels too, I'm not against any literary form. The very idea of being against any literary form is preposterous when held up to the light. Are there people who are against watercolour paintings? I suppose there are.

Vanessa G said...

Hi Os

It's exciting, to be writing at a time when things are so in flux.

The short story lends itself to the medium of the web far far better than does a novel. Even better, flash fiction, in which a whole story can be read on one screen.

Fish Publishing have a prize for one page stories... and the prize money is serious.

Things are moving, changing.

Tracey Chevalier, in her judge's report last Saturday talks about the writer being able to 'hide behind the paunch' of a novel'. The truth is, that for a good short to work, as we both know, every single word, every sentence, every comma has been carefully selected. And what is left out is as important as what's in there.

It's a challenge I will not give up without a fight! Whatever I end up doing, I will always write short fiction as a way of keeping the writing muscles tuned.