The good news is Burying Brian has been edited, the cover artist commissioned, and we're full steam ahead for a sooner rather than later release date.
It's taken me a long time to produce this second novel—longer than the first one, old Donald, first published in 2004. I think there are a number of reasons for this. Having Donald so well received—the critics were indeed kind to me—if anything added pressure to make Brian just as good.
I think because short stories tend to be singular, self-standing entities, there's much more freedom to swap styles and even genres between one story and another. But because Brian continues in the same 'universe' as Donald, I felt keen to maintain 'tone', and 'style', and 'voice'. It meant such care took time.
Also, I'd argue with anyone that humour is by far the most difficult sub genre in which to write. It's so easy to force humour, and when so forced its 'forcedness' waves and shouts from the page.
Many comedians will talk about timing. It's not just about what's said, but how it's delivered. And this is true for comedic writing too. I'll spend far more time over sentence structure when writing humour than when writing 'serious' stuff. The rhythm of a sentence is very much akin to timing. The punch line must come at the right moment, and must indeed have punch (as there're fewer visuals and mannerisms the joke can fall back upon).
Having reread Brian as part of the final editing process (Immanion Press are good enough to involve the author at the last before the book is committed) I can say I'm very happy with the result. I think Brian is stronger than Donald, possibly because I've learned as a writer in that time.
I'm not one to blow my own trumpet (though I'm sure as a writer I should do so), but I feel good in myself that I've done well with this novel.
So, we go again. Fingers crossed.
The Ballad of Robinson Clyde - Alex's latest story *The Ballad of Robinson Clyde* is out now at Emerging Worlds. Its a lyrical kind of a story that put me in mind of J.G. Ballard.
3 days ago