Saturday, March 24, 2007

Protagonism (or: What's Happening With Fiction Friday?)

Fiction Friday is taking a break this week, while I ponder precisely what it is and what it’s for. We will return to the adventures of Pismire (for such we must now call him) and his faithful companion Fiddlin’ Katy, never fear; but we need some time to take stock.
First, I want to say that I’m grateful for all the extra traffic to the blog, and for your words of praise and encouragement. I’m glad you’re enjoying it, and even gladder that you’re getting it.

We’ve wrapped up serialization of the first section of The Honeythief—the first of ten and probably the most complex: it runs to about 11,000 words, while part 2 clocks in at under 6,000, and I expect the remainder to be similar. I’m not entirely happy with the shape of it—I need to do some minor restructuring to work in more of Pismire’s backstory (if you thought we leaped a little abruptly from his infancy to his current dilemma, you’re not wrong)—but I like the way it moves. Too much fantasy just sits there, explaining itself to you, in love with its own imaginative capacity. I didn’t want to write a novel of ideas; I didn’t even want to .write a world-building story, not especially; I wanted to write an adventure, something rip-roaring.
Now, I think a lot about voice when I write, and the voice of The Honeythief is as much a departure for me as the subject matter. This story expresses itself in a self-consciously bardic level of diction—cool, precise, incantational. The syntax is relatively straightforward, and figurative language is used sparingly—in part because I’m thinking about a young adult audience, but mostly because it seems appropriate to the story. It’s a very controlled style, far more disciplined than my usual rock ‘n’ roll line, which is all crunch and swagger, loose and dense with flourish.
And I guess I’m concerned that you’re not getting a complete picture of my range, my voice. It’s a dumb thing to worry about, really. No single book ever expresses any writer’s range, and that’s how any reader discovers any writer—one book at a time.
I guess what’s eating me is knowing that I’ve got so many new readers, thanks to (a) the Magazine Man’s kind imprimatur, and (b) my expansion onto LiveJournal, and knowing that the work is so uncharacteristic.
My question, then—and I’m interested in what you’ve got to say, although ultimately it’s a question I’ll have to answer for myself—is this: Should I alternate sections of The Honeythief with other fictions—e.g., short stories or freestanding chunks of other novels-in-progress? Or should I plow straight ahead with this serialization until The Honeythief is complete (which will take about a year, at my best guess) before presenting other fictions?
So, yeah: no Honeythief this week, but this is a week to talk about The Honeythief. Throughout the week, I’m going to write a little about the process, the background, and future of this story. And I’d love to hear from you. Give me your suggestions, ask me your questions; I’ll address ‘em all here over the next week, until Fiction Friday returns.
In whatever form it may take.


KFarmer said...

This may sound too easy but I think you should do what makes you happy- I'd be most interested to read any story you write and really look forward to my visits here to see what's going on with the Honeythief.

Julian Hsu said...

I coulda sworn I left a comment here earlier. Maybe I misspelled the captcha.

Anyway, it sounds like you'd be happier interspersing tales, and like kfarmer, I think that's the most important thing. If I were to be so bold as to suggest something though, it might help to have an Index page to each story, one from which we can start reading from whichever chapter we left off at previously. ;-) It's a little tougher to go one "previous chapter here" at a time.