Eric Mayer

Byzantine Blog

Get Email Updates
Cruel Music
Diana Rowland
Martin Edwards
Electric Grandmother
Jane Finnis
Keith Snyder
My Incredibly Unremarkable Life
Mysterious Musings
Mystery of a Shrinking Violet
The Rap Sheet
reenie's reach
Thoughts from Crow Cottage
This Writing Life
Woodstock's Blog
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

1481794 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

The Quest to Improve
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (7)

Yesterday, after a work induced hiatus, I attempted to pick up the threads (and notes, outlines, scraps of research, partial chapters) of our seventh Byzantine mystery. We aim to make it better than the sixth novel, just as we tried to make the sixth novel better than the fifth and that one better than the fourth.

I always feel that each book should be superior to the previous one. Don't we all? Mark Terry had a journal entry about this a few days back.

It might not be realistic to expect uninterrupted improvement. If writers experiment, try new techniques, different sorts of stories, they are bound to stumble occassionally, take a step backwards, as part of the learning process.

For those of us who write a series, improvement -- or at least the perception of improvement -- might be even more difficult to achieve. I find it hard to judge the relative merits of our Byzantine books. Each builds on the previous ones. Or does it merely copy them?

A series needs some continuity, some sameness, else it wouldn't be a series. For instance, you can't create a brand new protagonist for each book.

But the lack of total originality makes succeeding books feel inferior to the earlier ones. I value invention and fresh ideas. I can't convince myself that a sixth story about a character, even if new things are revealed about him, is as good, in some sense, as the story in which the character was created.

When writing a series there is a danger of applying improving technique to deteriorating material. As I resume my own part on the new novel I remind myself to avoid that, as much as possible.

Read/Post Comments (7)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.