At the same time as I sent the rough draft of THE PATRIOS NETWORK to my beta readers (see last newsletter) I also coincidentally found myself with a week of downtime between videogame jobs. For the first time in a long time I suddenly had seven whole days with no deadlines, nobody waiting on work from me, and nothing to do.
Naturally, I recorded a new album.
It’s called RITUALIS OBSCURA, made especially for Halloween/Samhain/All Saints’ Eve/call it what you will. Filled with undead drones, haunted pianos, funeral bells, and cursed whispers, it’s the perfect accompaniment to your spooky ceremonies… 💀
The working album title was Reflections, which explains the track names and sonic variety. The centrepiece is IN THE PEARL OF FORGOTTEN BONES, a 15-minute ‘moonlit drum ritual’.
RITUALIS OBSCURA is musically my darkest album yet, consistently gloomy and sombre, but somehow also my most varied. While every SILENCAEON release is different, normally they’re stylistically internally similar. This one, less so… apart from all the ghosts 👻
PATRIOS IN AGENTIS
Speaking of THE PATRIOS NETWORK, I finished revisions to it last week and turned the first draft in to my agent.
In a weird coincidence it’s almost exactly the same length as THE EXPHORIA CODE. Like, within 750 words. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen before without planning, it’s very bizarre. (THE TEMPUS PROJECT was about 10,000 words shorter.)
Anyway, the good news is that feedback from my beta readers was positive across the board, which once again demonstrates what I often say about being completely unable to judge our own work when we’re in the thick of it, and why it’s therefore important to just keep writing and ignore one’s inner critic. If you’d asked my opinion of PATRIOS at the time I finished that beta draft, I’d have told you it’s a disaster and I should be ashamed to put my name on it.
Now I know that’s not true at all 😂 But at that stage of writing, after the months of slog and emotional rollercoaster rides, all we can see of our own work is the flaws; the paths not taken; the pieces that didn’t come together. Until we step back, take some time away, and listen to what others see in it we simply don’t see the parts that do work; the pieces that did come together.
That’s not to say my readers had no notes – quite the opposite! – but I’m feeling a lot better about this book than I did two months ago, believe me.
(Upon reflection I suspect my state of mind may also have been affected by the subject matter: neofascists, militia groups, digital fakery, xenophobia, and online hatred spilling out into the real world. Hardly uplifting material to live with for eight months.)
‘Translating Gender: Ancillary Justice in Five Languages’
Not a new article, but I only recently saw it: Alex Dally MacFarlane talks to five translators of Ann Leckie’s multi-award-winning novel ANCILLARY JUSTICE – in which the dominant society uses the pronoun “she” for all genders – about how they dealt with the issue in their own languages, some of which use grammar that literally cannot be separated from gender.
It’s a fascinating piece, especially for English speakers who simply don’t have to deal with any of this:
Next Friday I’m appearing at the NG21 Nordic Games Conference for a ‘fireside chat’ style interview to talk about writing RESIDENT EVIL VILLAGE and other games. It’ll be streamed online for conference attendees: https://nordicgame.com/first-ng21-autumn-speakers-revealed/
I also recently recorded an interview for the ALCS podcast Authors’ Matters, talking to Caroline Sanderson (Associate Editor of The Bookseller) about THE ORGANISED WRITER. We had a few technical hitches, but the interview itself came out well and it should be available soon: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/writing-matters-by-alcs/id1480672631