Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kresh - Progress and Process

The Way of the Kresh is my (now) two book space opera, currently ‘in progress’. That progress has been fairly non-existent at some stages in my life, but progress now is steady to the point that I’m at the 170,000 word mark and closing in on the finale in the next few months.

Mind you, it’s been a long time coming. Kresh began as a glimmer in my mind on a Melbourne tram ride home from the 1996 Aurealis Awards ceremony held in Justin Ackroyd’s original Slow Glass Bookshop in Swanston Street. I penned a three part short story, which appeared as online fiction on the Nuketown website, which is still going although they don’t publish fiction any more. It was followed up by a five part serial ‘The Kresh War’, again published solely on Nuketown. At some point, I decided I had enough for a novel and started researching and doing background work, because the hero of my little story is Jeldon, who is a nine foot tall bipedal, chitin-covered ‘lobster man’ (for want of a better term) with a cobra-like hood that gives him, like all Kresh, an empathic ability. I even sketched a picture of Jeldon and worked out how the chitinous plates all fit together, how the Kresh reproduce, defecate, what their mythos/ religion is, and how their society is ordered and functions. All standard SF worldbuilding fare. 

I got feedback on an early section of Kresh from a special workshop run as part of Aussiecon III in 1999. In between I completed another novel, Horizon, which is currently lying in the bottom drawer, but despite a number of attempts I never really got past the first section of Kresh. Not until I hit on my current process. It’s simple really. Start writing at the beginning and don’t stop until you get to the end. Don’t go back and polish, don’t get side tracked. At 5.45am every weekday morning, I get out of my warm comfortable bed, make a cup of tea and type on the laptop, or – more recently – write in a spiral bound A4 notepad. The target is 500 words or two pages of handwriting, and regardless of how motivated or otherwise I feel, how well the words flow or don’t, how much of an idea about where I’m going or what’s going to happen next that I have or not, that’s been pretty much it for the last two years. Right now, for what I need to do, it’s the only way that works for me.
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