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Sunday, 26 January 2014

HAMLET OR NOT HAMLET. THAT IS THE QUESTION: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

When I was generating a final copy of my annual archive, I spent time on the Twitter describing that process. I invented new words for slow.
   Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh wasn't one of those words.
   I sailed into the night, back and forth, between two computers. One machine, at least, had the internet. So I whiled away some of the time in random searching.
   The name of an actress came up.
   I thought I'd check out the internet's opinion of this actress. She gave excellent performances in a few movies I'd seen. I'd long-ago decided she'd serve as the model for a character in one of my books.

*

Which one? That character is in my Hamlet adaptation. To avoid confusion, the story's called not hamlet. And that's perfectly true...
   Better to say that it's not just Hamlet. Another story intrudes. One of the features of Hamlet that always interested me was the notion of a play within the play.
   Strolling players visit the castle. Hamlet manipulates them into putting on a particular play. He does this to drop heavy hints about his father's murder.
   Hamlet has no concrete proof - he's playing a hunch based on a chat with a ghost...
   But the play's the thing. Hamlet wants to see the murderer's reaction to the play.

*

I thought, suppose the strolling players have their own plot going on. A tale following the murderous trail of the clown, Pagliaccio. Anyway, in my mash-up, Pagliacci works with Hamlet.
   Deep into the night, my archive takes an age to sort out, and, internetting, I stumble on this actress. She's the one I think of when I imagine the character Columbina.
   I fix files. And I copy files. I use the Twitter to reveal the slowness of file-movery. At some point, it's 2.00 in the morning and I'm reading the blog of an actress.
   She has a blog? Worth checking out?
   As events showed, yes. There were insightful gems on that blog.
   The night before, I was writing until 1.00 in the morning. Odd hours? I don't think so. Normally I wouldn't go far beyond 1.00 if writing.
   Background archiving was looking after itself, but I had to look after that too. I owned that paranoid feeling. Must do this now. If I switch the computer off and wait until morning, the whole system might fritz.
   Of course, that paranoia stems from an actual event. HERE'S A BLOG POST ABOUT THAT.
   This is why I stayed up until 2.00. Archiving wasn't allowed to stop for mere sleep.

*

My Hamlet adaptation stalled after six chapters when no one wanted to publish it. After writing just six chapters, I decided I'd shop a story around unfinished.
   Confidence in the finished article, nestled in some futuristic world we'd reach one day.
   The future, though, was floating on the mighty Amazon. I published the first chapter of not hamlet in my INCOMPLETE UNCOLLECTED SHORT WORKS.
   Kindle's there to be used.
   I've been looking at that excerpt. And I'll let it stand as it is, in the collection. But for release into the wild as a full novel, I think my early attempt at Kindle formatting must go.
   Hamlet's adventures deserve shorter paragraphs. They'll be the same paragraphs - just chopped in half for ease of digital reading.
   Midnight descends. I'll finish this post another time. Sleep is considered essential by some. But only if you wish to function. No staying awake until 2.00 this time around.

*

Where were we? This is not a tale of evil kidney transplantation. (With regard to a non-functioning external hard drive, we're in the realms of dodgy transfusion.)
   Hamlet. I stayed up late, fixing the archive. And I read a blog. That actress was on my mind. Obviously, I thought of Columbina. In my tale, she's Pagliacci's second wife. She serves as inspiration for Pagliacci's move into Hamlet's world...

*

But this blog post isn't about any of that stuff. At 2.00 in the morning I'd read the woman's blog, archived my fiction, and had enough.
   Come morning, even though I was thinking of Shakespeare and Leoncavallo, my main thought was of the archive. I bring things forward each year, so my freshest vault contains the latest copies and updates of Kindle PRC files.
   That's in case I iron out a glitch or alter some blurb.
   Projects in progress as one year ends are archived within that year. Then they are copied to a new year for further work. The old archive is then left lying around on the off-chance that something catastrophic happens.
   Though for something catastrophic to happen to fresher chunks of files and NOT to me too, I'd have to be out of the building when that plane hits.

*

My thoughts went to Neon Gods Brought Down by Swords and all its sequels and offshoots. I knew I had to weed out that sub-archive. So that's what I've been doing. Weeding.
   The books that follow the first volume don't exactly follow the first volume. They exist at the same time. Same setting. A few scenes overlap.
   Old ground. Different viewpoints.
   It's a nightmare, juggling those characters. She's here, and hears that news. So she can't be there when that event happens, as she's come from yonder to be here.
   Like that. Multiplied.
   I can't let things fester beyond all rational and irrational control. With this in mind, I started destroying duplicate files. Devious ones.
   Files with different names containing duplicated text. I had to cap a lid on that bullshit.
   And I created a massive table, showing the first book's timeline, with the out-of-sequence flashbacks set down in chronological order.
   Yes. The fun part of writing. Continuity is important to some people. Maybe it's a phase readers are going through.
   So far, only part of the plot of book four felt the strain. Sorting out the action in books two and three should smooth the running for books four and five.
   Especially as she's here when she hears that news.

*

Lots of ideas. Plenty of books on the unwritten pile, waiting to go. Where does that leave Shakespeare, if I turn my attention to a sprawling series instead?
   I'll get to those assorted tales. Without rushing. Every year, my ambition is to write a whole bunch of books. And this year is no different.
   Every year I take interesting detours into reading, or experiencing stuff, or damn-well thinking through ideas that are no good and must be worked on. Sometimes, worked over. As in...
   Tied to a chair. Blowtorches are waved.
   Anyway. I published. And I'll go on publishing. Every detour into another project creates another project.
   I must away, to see to more archiving. There's a file (with chapter titles in it) that flies in the face of the plot of at least two books...







  
  



  

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