About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Why I Write What I Write

Well, the next instalment is ready for you here: http://unseenthingsabove.blogspot.co.uk/

I will confess that this sequel is not tripping off the pen as easily as Acts & Omissions.  With hindsight, I can see just what a clever wheeze it was to start in January and write for a whole calender year.  The structure is there for you on a plate.  Starting on Low Sunday feels plain arbitrary.  Low Sunday isn't the start of anything.  It's the narrative equivalent of 'Oh, yeah, as I was saying: Lindchester.  Where were we again?'

This will matter less and less as the weeks go by and the new story gathers momentum, though.  I've got past the feeling of 'Oh heck, better invent stuff quickly!' to the point where the various carry-ons in Lindchester have become my mental screen saver once more.  So if you see me staring blank eyed into the middle distance and ignoring you, don't take it personally.  If you think I'm about to step out into a busy road, I'd be grateful if you stop me, though.

The theme of Unseen Things Above is once again that long family row the C of E is currently having with itself about marriage and sexuality.  I sometimes feel that writers don't get to choose the bees in their bonnets.  There are certain questions we can't seem to leave alone.  Even when I tried to take a holiday and write about a flying girl detective in a fantasy universe (Wolf Tide), I fear I still ended up writing about the C of E.   All those fairies and men in thigh boots--who was I kidding?

One of the discoveries I've made about writing serialised fiction is just how porous the boundary between fact and fiction is.  I don't mean I'm writing a roman a clef (but by all means amuse yourself trying to work out who everyone is).  It's more the way my own experience bleeds into the world I'm creating.  Sometimes this is conscious, and I deliberately make use of the events of the past week, or some remembered experience.  At other times--and this is the exciting bit--themes and imagery start to develop, my story gathers pace, and the real world appears to adapt itself obligingly to fit in with my novel!  I write it here, it happens out there!  I am all-powerful!

I make light of it, but one of my genuine fears is that as I spin my fictional yarn, I accidentally hit upon some truth others would rather keep secret, and end up apparently writing an expos√© thinly disguised as a novel.  If this happens, all I can say is 'sorry'.


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