Since this is going to be more of a personal work journal, I guess I should focus on myself when I am actually working on writing. I post plenty on the Oni Press message board, so I suppose for the most part Oni news is not really required here. I mean, I figure Oni fans have enough of me as it is. (Oni Press Message Board) We'll see how this goes. I am not used to letting the creative process be apparent, but you never know, I may like it.
Yesterday I turned in Angelic Layer vol. 4 to my Tokyopop editor, Jake Forbes. About five days early, too. It's funny, because he and I generally only seem to know what is going on in the books up until the very page being worked on. So, for volumes 2 and 3, CLAMP kept us hanging in regards to what Misaki's mysterious weakness in battle was. We get the answer finally in vol. 4, but then they stop the book in the middle of a crucial match. CLAMP can be very obtuse with some things, and then hit you over the head with others (Misaki's mother, for instance).
I wrote a quick segment for later in The Everlasting, too. I had an idea for a fragment in part 3 that was spinning in my head, so I just jotted it down.
Today I have sat down and am plugging away at section 1. I am currently somewhere around page 69. That may not sound like much, but when I sort of hit a wall with the first section, I spent some time writing later bits. So, I have a good clutch of pages beyond the point I am at. And for a bit of the scope of this, the manuscript for Cut My Hair was about 261 pages and one font size larger than what I am using now. And if I were to suggest a comparable point in the story, I would maybe say midway through chapter 5 in that book--but the structures are a bit different.
I haven't said much about The Everlasting publicly as of yet. The structure is pretty simple--we follow Lance Scott as he encounters three different women. He learns a bit in each relationship, and ultimately we are watching a journey as he figures out how to love. Since this is part 2 in the so-called Romance Trilogy, it's the darkest of the three. (Hard to imagine, given how dark you could consider Cut My Hair to be--but it was dark in the fairy tale sense, as that book was the fairy tale of the trilogy. This is a whole other kind of dark.) This is a book about being 25. Listen to Gene's excellent Drawn to the Deep End album, and you'll find its kindred spirit (much in the way Cut My Hair was married to Quadrophenia). Gene's main writer, Martin Rossiter, is a year older than I am, so each release seems to come out right in line with my life. That album was a big comfort at 25 (note the line in "Why I Was Born": "never alive until 25;" and on Gene's new one, Libertine, the romantic anthem "You" and the line "30 years of storm clouds cleared for you" to see proof; each were released when I was the age mentioned). Other main songs to give you a hint of what is in my brain are Manic Street Preachers' "The Everlasting" (naturally) and Mansun's "Legacy," which is currently the quote at the front of the book.
I've also said before that this is going to be more personal, probably closer to me than people assume Cut My Hair was. That said, it's way off from the truth. You do amazing things to your life when you turn it into fiction. Stuff gets shifted around, distorted--it's not nearly the same. I'd be curious, are there books of criticism out there that take pseudo-autobiographies and compare them to the real life of the author?
For my main literary inspiration: Fitzgerald's second novel The Beautiful & Damned. If I can continue to emulate his track and if Cut My Hair was like This Side of Paradise in that it was an exuberant, youthful mess, then this book should be a sprawling masterpiece of tragic love. And the next one should be perfection.
The Everlasting is also set in 1999/2000. I like nailing my stuff down timewise, since I can't seem to avoid pop culture and music references. There is no way to keep any work current up until publication when it comes to those things, and since the references will make it dated anyway, I figure why not ground it?
For those interested, the music in the background as I have been writing today has been the world's greatest approximation of a rock band, The Strokes; The Beatles, Abbey Road; The Primitives, Pure; Yardbirds, The Complete BBC Sessions; and Audio Learning Center, Friendships Often Fade Away.
I also downloaded some recent Morrissey BBC sessions from Ambitious Outsiders (three unreleased songs), and a live version of Suede's "Oceans" from Suede Online. Finally, Gene have a Real Player file for a demo called "If I am a Friend" at their official site. It's another fragile ballad ("comfort without love is more than nothing"), and just lovely. I only wish they'd give it to me in a more permanent fashion. At least MP3! (Gene's website)
And when not feeling the effects of some rather spicy pad thai from last night, I am munching on curry flavored Pringles that were smuggled to me from England by Chris Siddall. Cheers, sir!