Man Alone (Can’t Stop The Fadin’), by Tindersticks

I’m in heavy novel revision mode at the moment. In fact, as I write this I’m at Artscape Gibraltar Point. It’s day 2 for me. Only a handful of artists here, given the lockdown conditions, which, as a writer, I don’t mind at all. I’m here to work. And eat like a 12yr old.

I’m very happy to have happened onto Tindersticks awhile back. This is from their newest:

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Radioland and Book #3 Update

I’ve written about Radioland (aka Book #2) before. It’s being submitted to publishers now that the industry has adjusted to the lockdown. Fingers are crossed. As tempting as it is to divert myself with this, I’m trying not to think about it. And yet…it’s The Second Book, the sophomore effort, etc etc. It’s a giant unnecessary burden — as well as a cliché! — to feel that somehow, of all things, this is the book that determines my future and not the last one (or the next). And so, yes, I’ve been a little concerned sometimes about this being some sort of reckoning of me as a writer, which is kind of silly. Whereas my mind is like Is the book good? Yes? Then that’s all you should really care about. And yet…

In other news, prior to the lockdown I started a third book, which I wrote about here. I didn’t expect to start another novel so soon — in fact, it’s the last thing I wanted — but something had been building up within me during the latter part of working on Radioland. It’s very different (and yet, the more I work on it, I can see how it falls into place with both The Society of Experience and Radioland’s themes). Don’t worry it has a name…buuut I’m not sharing it with anyone until it’s done. Let’s call it Book #3. What makes it different? Unlike the first two, it’s mostly a satire. Now, I can do humour, no problem. It comes second nature to me. And yet, devoting an entire book to it is something altogether different and a major challenge. I also have to say that I’ve not written anything so quickly before (I don’t share my word/page counts publicly, sorry, just like I don’t share my 10K race times). It’s the sort of book that wants everything out of me, and now. The good news is that I think it rocks. I don’t know where the hell it’s necessarily going (which perhaps also answers anyone’s question about how strictly I outline things), but I’m enjoying the trip.

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Comedy

The next book is going to different.

I’ve given up on “the next book isn’t going to be an ambitious book” because inevitably I churn out something that ends up doing so, or at least attempting. That said, I would like to write something funny, which is hard — at least if you’re aiming for something that is consistently funny. Then there’s the type of funny. Not all funny is funny to all, and that’s the main problem with writing something comedic: it has to have a consistency that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from other genres (as long as a thriller contains a handful of thrills then it earns the merit badge of its title), and not just in terms of how populated it is with humour; there’s consistency in terms of the volume of material but there’s also consistency in terms of texture — is this a satire that a smaller number of people with more rarefied knowledge will appreciate (think of the film The Square, a wry satire of the upper echelons of the art world), or a broader, more bombastic, plot-driven variety (see Hitchhiker’s Guide)?

It’s intimidating and I may abandon the whole thing, but Radioland, my second book (hello, publishers at this year’s London and Frankfurt Book Fairs — my agent will be looking for you!), took a lot out of me and I’m looking to try something stylistically different.

Wish me luck!

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