Monday, 19 September 2011

Duncan Lunan's Success, A Pile of Socks and Other Writers

So we have some news to update folk with.

A Pile of Socks was published this week. The name may be familiar to some reading this. It was written in 2005, and has undergone roughly just over one hundred redrafts since that time. It went up to the GSFWC lot in 2007, when its flaws - essentially, everything bar the title - were pointed out. So it got redrafted some more.

I think two things are intact from its original 2005 first draft. The title, but then I am particular about my titles. And the fact that the main character was called Euan. Every other word got changed, changed back, swapped and deleted.

There was substantial trouble with the character of the mother. She was a cipher, merely there to exist. You may note there is no mother in the story now. If you can take a character out so effortlessly without it effecting the story, they really shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Now it does feel like reading the work of Algernon Blackwood's "other writer". But it has a home and is no longer an orphan.

Certainly it would never have got here without the help of many of the GSFWC people (Eliza Chan, Elsie Donald) but especially to the copious notes given to me by Neil Williamson and Duncan Lunan, without whom you wouldn't be reading this story.

And without any of them, those wonderful Critters, I wouldn't have had anything published since. I used to say "Well, Socks never got published, but I tried to learn from its drafts errors". In many ways, it's the most important thing I wrote, because it changed me in its wake.

Oh, and I do like the story. A lot. I wouldn't have kept it alive if I didn't.

Speaking of Duncan Lunan, that man had a very special party in his honour on Thursday night, at which me and Mandy were delighted to be able to attend. Duncan Lunan is one of nature's polymaths, as comfortable in the worlds of science as he is in the worlds of writing. Yet, for as long as I, and many people, have known him, his Holy Grail remained untouched. His Green Children book remained unpublished, after forty years of research.

Till now.

Yes, that is a contract signing. Duncan's book is getting published!

The Bon Accord pub in Glasgow was full of well wishers as a man who has provided ample support to numerous writers over the years, me included, got a moment in the sun. The renaissance of Lunan in the past year and a bit has been wonderful to see, as the man goes back on the lecture tour and has become one of the busiest writers around, all over the country. More power to him, it's hard to think of a writer who deserves this success more.

Friends and newcomers alike may be interested in the first part of this interview I did with Duncan earlier this year.

Also in the news is someone who is benefiting from Duncan's advice. In the "everything I learn I pass on" way. Justin Jessel used to run the critically acclaimed IHAO video review series. Now, he is making his first steps into the genre fiction market. I am delighted to be able to say that his story Protect and Serve is to be published by Divertir Publishing in their Strange Case Files anthology. A success this good - the private details make it better than any I have struck so far in my career - at such an early moment in a career is simply stunning. So good luck to Mr Jessel, and here's to more in the future.

Tom Jordan now runs a Writers Podcast,and his own Writers Website here. Still in the embryonic stage of his career, and with substantial success already, his career will only be on the up.

Finally, what's that, you say? You need some poetry? Well, ok. Here is a blase reaction to terorism, cause and effect which shows how selfish suicide is, a short thesis on the nature of being, and the story of what happened at a dad's funeral. I should warn you, the last one makes me laugh trying to read it aloud. When you laugh at your own humour, you must be insane.

And on that calm note, this was the update that was!