Thursday, May 16, 2013
Writing “A Woman Who Kills”
I’m about half way through a final edit of A Woman Who Kills. It ended up being 230 pages rather than the fifty or so that I had imagined. (See last blog.)Having finished Azimuth, got it printed and then put on every conceivable device platform, I wanted to keep writing but at a less intense level. By this I mean that The Azimuth Trilogy is deeply philosophical, a moral maze, a facing up to the quandaries of this existence. It is not religious in the usual sense but deals with spirituality as seen from a skeptic’s point of view. It is a big book. It is my opus. It is what I wanted to write before I died. Now it exists in real and virtual worlds. The reviews have been more than kind. Anyway, this preamble was to explain my desire to write a few novellas. I wrote three in five months, a science fiction called Future Imperfect, a tale of facing death called The Sense of Being Sinbad and a curious soft horror story called The Visionary. They have been (to my eyes anyway) hugely successful. As I write, 167,000 pages have been viewed in three months. A friend asked me what it was like to know that your words have been consumed by so many people. Not quite like having sex with a stranger, I said, but a virtual me having sex with virtual strangers. In other words it is a form of twice removed intimacy.
A Woman Who Kills began as yet another, different again, genre novella. I liked the idea of a challenge to live within the means of a new set of expectations. But it grew. I liked the main character, Grace Dart, who shares with the Magus of Azimutha certain amorality. The genre (if it is one – it is in film, of course) is superhero or super-heroine. In this case I loved the whole Kate Beckinsdale, Michelle Pfeiffer, Angelina Jolie package of the sexy woman who is more than an equal of men, physically and the ballet of the choreographed action. The girl in Hanna, the replicant women in Blade Runner also come to mind.
The challenge was not the gradual changes in Grace’s character or evincing a dystopian Britain where the global collapse of the internet brings the country to its knees but the action itself. Superheroes have many battles, the genre demanding that they be against individuals, groups and massed ranks of opponents. Making each bit of action different and full of tension is mind stretching. I have had some compliments about the visual nature of my writing and here I had to ‘see’ every tiny element of the big picture of physical conflict. It’s been great!