Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yes, yes, I know...

I'm afraid I've been a very delinquent blogger here. My apologies all, but it has been a crazy time. A crazy year, in fact, and I'm really rather tired. October was a huge feast of theatre - the Melbourne Festival was on and I was wearing my critic's hat and obviously had to see as much as I could... (as a critic, I get free tickets, and it's a little difficult to hold back sometimes). Not that I am complaining, it was indeed a wonderful time. As soon as I discharged my onerous duties there - this no doubt will interest you more - I finished the rewrite of The Singing, working with my marvellous editor, Chris Kloet, so I can report that it moves ever closer to being an actual book. The UK (and consequently Australian) cover design is well in hand and I think the idea is brilliant. I hope you'll forgive me for saying that I think this book is the best yet (I also hope that you think so too, when you get to read it). In the course of the four books, I think I've become a much better writer. Nothing like a 2000 page epic to make you watch your adverbs...

All that's left to do is the final appendices and some poems. And the copy-edit and the proofs and... really, sometimes when I think of all the work a book is, especially when you take into account the labour of other people besides the writer, it's amazing so many get written and published. But they do.

45 comments:

Molly said...

I think i can speak for everyone when i say we dont mind you not writing on your blog as long as you keep writing your books! =)

but if i'm being presumptuous and putting words in peoples' mouths, then let me know.

Eowyn336 said...

Yes, I fully agree
Alison-it is so great that you are enjoying yourself...at least a little!!!
Thanks for the millionth time for writing your books, they have been a huge inspiration to me. Now I am writing a story of my own that I never ever thought I could write.
I have heard you "blog" that once you got to know your characters the story took flight. What is the best way to get to know your own characters?

Seneca said...

I really like to write, but I don't think that it could be a real profession for me. I respect you greatly, Alison, for the hard work and effort that you put into the Pellinor books. (without that effort, my favorite books would be nonexistant!)Thanks so much for writing, and I don't care either if you don't keep up with your blog too well! bye!

dobby said...

I'm so glad The Singing is almost complete! I can't wait to read it!

Amanda said...

Hi Mrs. Croggon,

Looking forward to The Singing, like everyone else. Love the poems. Looking forward to the poems.

ASiegel

Booklover101 said...

okay first off I love your books. I reread the first 3 today and I love them!!! so I went online to see when the next one is coming out. I can't wait for the singing to come out! Im going to go mad waiting for it!!
hurry up and get it the USA i can't wait!!

Booklover101 said...

i have a question too. how do you come up with these books? whenever i try to write something with more than 5 characters and places i can't keep track. that might partly be because i am not the best writer ever in fact i rather stink but i love to read and yours are amazing

sam said...

hey! not everyone can write a book in a short amount of time, and your still a human, so you need a break now and then, and it might give you some inspiration :) but i think people would be happy to wait for you to catch you breath.

Alison Croggon said...

Thanks for the lovely comments, people! It means a lot. Yes, it's been a really crazy year, but somehow the book got written... amazing, when I think back. And is well on its way, though it's still a bit of a wait!

bards said...

yeah, im only 14 years old and i realy love you'r books.Can i ask you some thing alison? you know the speech of bards,are they a made up language or is a language that we speek today???say albanian because that my county,and the wrighting is very very similar!!! althogh it still don't make sence in albanian the letters have the same pronunciation. thanks

Alison Croggon said...

Well, that's interesting, Bards! No, the Speech is made up (a mixture really of Latin and vaguely Celtic languages). And I know nothing about Albanian (though Ismael Kadare is one of my favourite writers). But it could be that Albanian has a similar genealogy...!

bards1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bard said...

alison,if you mind me calling you by you'r first name,can you give me a sneek preview of what the singing is about? and is there going to be a book after the singing?

Victoria M. said...

Dear ms. croggon,

I too am 14 years old, and your books have captured my heart in a way that only the Harry Potter books have ever done, and I think I may love your books better. You are a terrific author, your books have so much detail and you make the characters seem like actual people. Even though they have "the gift" you make them seem like normal people who have feelings. I love that in an author, so GREAT JOB!!!

I have a question about your page number question... Do you mean, every single page? or just the pages with the story? or just the story and appendices?

Thanks for your time, and great job! keep on going!

Victoria M. said...

P.S. When do you expect The Singing out in the US? I know the Crow took awhile, but I was kind of hoping that this would come out in the US the same time it comes out in the UK.

Booklover101 said...

the naming has528 the riddle has 512 the crow also has 512 for a combined total of 1552 pages

Alison Croggon said...

You can call me Alison (Mrs Croggon sounds weird to me).

Someone has been making comments here masquerading as me. Which I don't like much, I have to say. My spelling isn't usually that bad. Comments are deleted now, but apologies to anyone who has been misled. No, I am not giving away copies of The Singing. I don't even have any!

Update soon on Singing news, I'll do a post.

Victoria M. said...

OK, Alison. Well, it stinks that someone has been doing that.

Have a great day!

bard s said...

Alison-If you are Alison,how a could person masquerade as you?
Did he guess your password or something?

Anyway im bards,your blogger-what ever it is, ain't working because I keep writing my password in, trust me I haven't forgot it,and it keeps saying that it's a incorrect password,which is not!

So I have to keep making accounts,which is very annoying.

Now I want to talk about your books.I just finshed reading The Gift yesterday,which is the second book that I have read of Pellinor. I read the the crow first...so i've started The Riddle,and I was wondering if you would write a book after the singing,or books of Edil-amaranoh?

Best of luck to you and your future
of books. :D

R.Y.Rostad said...

Alison--

The books are fantastic! Every character is vividly portrayed, the plot so far is epic and promises a thrilling conclusion.

When people try to form characters realistically, I find that they make them too perfect...Or too angsty. With Maerad, you balance this light and darkness beautifully; she is a real person to me.

(And I love how you emphasize that although the world is dark, there are moments of happiness that makes everything worth it. It really strikes a chord with readers today, in what we see as a shadowed world that's growing blacker.)

Now, on your post--

I have seen the cover, actually. (http://www.walkerbooks.co.uk/The-Singing-9781406308020) I think it's gorgeous, but since I live in the US it won't be the one I'm buying.

The users on SFF World and I were wondering...Is there any significance to the map in the background? It features the Hutmoors on the Ettinor Fesse (where the previous battle between the Dark and the Light took place). Especially seeing that all of the other UK covers have the background map that pertains to the main location in the book. Or at least nearby.

Well, anyway, I'm excited for the Singing the be released! Even if I have a longer wait than most, living in the US as I do.

You've done a wonderful job, and I hope you continue to write more novels (and poetry, of course)!


(Wow, that was quite a long post, wasn't it?)

~rach~ said...

Hey Alison and everyone
i think everyone has already spoken for me by expressing their admiration for Alison and her writing. I just looked at the cover art which is linked above. Although it is wonderful, it looks different from the covers of the version of the previous books that i have. Is that the cover art thats being released in Australia? i thought maybe penguin published in Australia or am i mistaken?

Who ever wrote on the blog (not that i read the comments) is quite frankly a jerk, trying to sour it for other people. just thought id stick that out there.

Cheers

bard s said...

alison i was just wondering if you're blanking us? because it looks to me you are......

Alison Croggon said...

Hi Bard - no, I'm certainly not blanking you! Well, not on purpose. Please don't think so, but here are my excuses. I am (a) very tired (it's been a huge year) and (b) still rather busy with various things - including finishing The Singing - which is still on the way. Endless fiddly work, but it will be all the better for it when it finally emerges. I'm hoping for a clean second draft by Christmas, and so is my editor...

In the meantime - my kids see a lot of me and Daniel even when we work, because we work at home. I do think they're lucky, actually, and sometimes they even agree, because we are around a lot more than most working parents. Though sometimes they've been heard complaining that they never get the house to themselves...

And thanks for the comments and your pointer, Rostad. Yes Rach, that's the Australian cover art too, which is wonderful, I think. I like those covers very much.

More soon - I am usually quite good with blogs, but the past three months have been crazy indeed. There will be a catch-up post, I promise. I might post some of my translation of Beowulf, which has - rather inconveniently - become a bit of an obsession.

Victoria M. said...

Alison, you are doing a great job. and like Molly said in the first post, as long as you're writing your books, we (or at least I) don't really care.

Hope you are enjoying all the craziness! :-) Hey, just a quick question... Are you writing any more books after the Singing? (Sorry if someone already asked that, but I kinda wanted to know)

Have a great night!

bard s said...

Ok.. thanks, but you still didn't answer one of my questions.Are you going to carry on writing books of Edil-amaranoh?

About that blanking thing-I just said it to make you talk. :)

alison Croggon said...

shut up bard,you idiot, all of you shut!!!

Victoria M. said...

Alison, someone is impersonating you again!

Just wanted to let you know.

bard s said...

yeah, who ever you are you're a low life

Seneca said...

Alison,
if you did write more Edil-Amarandh books, i'm sure we would all greatly appreciate it. I love the Pellinor series! oh, by the way, when will the Singing be out in the US. It seems to take a while for things to get here, but maybe that's just because i'm looking forward to it so much! anyway, thanks! bye

Seneca said...

Oh, and whoever is pretending to be Alison: your not funny whatsoever

Alison Croggon said...

No, that's not me! Aside from it being, um, unethical, here's enough mes already, without other people joining in the party...

So I have now turned on comment moderation, which means your comments won't appear straight away. Sorry about that, but it's probably sensible.

Thanks Molly and others, and Bard, patience is a virtue! :)

bard s said...

Alison , yes can you answer my question....ARE YOU GOING TO CARRY ON BOOKS OF Edil-amaranoh?

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS THE FIFTH TIME I'VE BEEN ASKING YOU.

bard s said...

And a nother thing,you know that moderation thing does that go to any one or just him or she who impersonating as you?

Alison Croggon said...

Hi Bard - yes, moderation does apply to everyone. I've answered your question in a new post. But please be a little more courteous - I've explained already how busy I am. I do my best to keep up with readers, and it's not always possible. Nagging someone is not good manners, and capital letters is shouting, and I don't like being shouted at.

bard s said...

is it? oh you got me all wrong,i just did it so i can make it clear.

my apologies

Victoria M. said...

Bard S, please give it a rest. you are more than likely driving alison crazy. she is only one person, you know!

~rach~ said...

and as she is just a person you owe her the respect that you would give her were you addressing in person. Not to mention the courtesy you owe to your fellow bloggers who may be feeling offronted by your antics. Alison is doing a wonderful job and you must give her credit for her effort.

Alison Croggon said...

Thanks people! Bard, apology accepted - I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm - enthusiasm is a wonderful thing. But remember that it's very easy to be misunderstood when writing things down, because no one can hear how you're saying things. Anyway, let's close this argument!

passionblack3 said...

Hi, this is R.Y.Rostad with a different name.

I'm not quite clear on if you're writing more Edil-Amarandh books or not--and I think I remember reading something quoted from you before that said that you'd probably be done with it...But if inspiration ever strikes, it'd be nice to read a story on the first battle between the Light and Dark, with Maninae. (Is that the right name? I don't have the Appendices with me so I can't check...)

[i]Hint: That's my way of making a humble suggestion. [/i];)

Also, I haven't read a lot of your poetry but a poem I especially enjoyed of yours was "Seduction Poem". It had beautiful language and rhythm...

Once again, keep writing!

Alison Croggon said...

Hi Passionblack - the short answer is that it's unlikely in the short term. For the moment at least, I feel I've exhausted that world. I have a number of other ideas that I'd like to explore first. But it's unwise for a writer to say "never".

And I will certainly keep writing!

I'm glad you like that poem. It's a very old one - I think I was about 19 when I wrote it.

passionblack3 said...

Nineteen? That's amazing. I only hope that by forty I will have half the elegance your writing has. Not even joking.

While I'm on the subject (and consequentially quite off-topic to your original post) I was wondering...Would you say that your writing is a lot of skill with talent, or only a little skill?

The reason is that I'm deliberating whether I should apply for the (quite prestigious) Perpich Center for Arts Education, aka Minnesota Arts High School, to major in Literary Arts. I would do this to learn skill.

While it could never be a bad thing, and it would certainly challenge me...I'm not really sure how much it would help. Right now, I'm thirteen and I'm a good writer for my age but I don't know if I have enough potential to make it into a career.

Well, I guess the bottom line is: Do you write mostly with talent? And how much of your writing is from skill?


(Don't feel obligated to answer this; it's probably more subjective than the way I'm putting it. I'm grateful enough that you reply to my posts at all!)

Alison Croggon said...

Hi Passionblack - the old saw says that genius is 10 per cent inspiration and 90 per cent perspiration. Sadly, that's basically true. Talent is only part of the story. Making art of any kind requires a lot of disciplined and hard work, and a lot of painful acquiring of skills. That's why I get cross when people think that art is an "easy option". There's nothing easy about it. But that doesn't mean it's not a lot of fun.

Skill is important because it allows you more expressiveness. If you are skilful, you can begin to break rules, and breaking rules is the way to make something interesting. It's no use breaking rules, however, if you don't know what they are in the first place: that way, you just end up with a mess!

Think of a musician: the less they have to think about their skills, the more expressive they can be. If you're wondering all the time where to put your fingers, you can't actually get to the music.

However, some ways of teaching are counter productive. Specifically, those that teach that there is a "right" way, or which otherwise inhibit a writer's natural desires. You want to be taught how to be better at what only you can do, not how to be the same as any number of other writers. Beware the sausage factory...!

I actually think that one of the best ways to learn how to write is to take a leaf out of the visual artist's handbook, and go and copy the masters. (I could write like that at 19 because I had been copying every poet I loved for the previous 10 years.) And the other necessity is to read as widely as possible, of course. And to keep reading.

Myself, I never did any sort of course. The true advantage of a course is that it might introduce you to some writing that inspires you. When I was young, I was lucky enough to encounter some people who were very generous to me, who introduced me to interesting writing and encouraged me in my work. That can happen anywhere, in a college or outside it. Look out for those people!

passionblack3 said...

Thank you for the advice! I will consider it when I go to the open house.

And:

"Think of a musician: the less they have to think about their skills, the more expressive they can be. If you're wondering all the time where to put your fingers, you can't actually get to the music."

That's a wonderful way to put it. It makes a lot of sense to a piano player of seven years like me. :)

Thanks again.

Mimi said...

Alison,

I cannot begin to tell you how good your books are. I have never read a book that ever made me cry in my life and the second books was making me cry so much! I couldn't stop... but the weird thing was I just knew that Cadvan wasn't dead, but I wasn't sure either. At the end it was so happy.

I have to admit that when I started reading the third book then I didn't want to because I didn't want to read about Hem, but about Maerad and Cadvan. But the third book was really exciting and just as good. I got the books for christmas and I got all three. At first I left them all on my desk but then I picked up the first one up and I was instantly hooked on it. I read the first and second book each in to days and the third book took me three days because it was just like reading a whole new book. Usually in the very beginning of the book it sets it setting so you know what's happening and then you get interested so it took me longer for the third. But they were all so good!!!

I can't wait for The Singing! On one of your sites it has I think about one random page on it and it was sp good... and I didn't even know what was happening. I heard that it was starting in Innail and I have been wondering when it would go back to that place. I await you fourth book very eagerly! I know it will be really good.

Mimi said...

Alison,

I am so happy my parents got me your books for Christmas. I had no idea how they came across them but I am so happy they did. In my opinion, they are better then a lot of other book I have read. But the reason these are so good is that there is always something happening in the story. Usually in other stories the whole book leads up to the main thing which usually happens towards the end... but in this book there is problem leading up to another problem and then Maerad or Hem in the end have peace or feel loved, but it ends in a nice way but it still gets you excited for the next book. I love that about your books.

It's just a suggestion, but maybe if you have time you could write another book to this or maybe a whole new series because Pellinor is so good! I think that they would be really good, but anyway I still can't wait until The Singing comes out... so cool.

Some people say that the third book is always the best but I think you made it the second one this time and kept the standards high for the rest... the second book was the best book ever! It was so great... Maerad turning into a wolf, Cadvan dying but not really dying, Maerad not knowing anything about Hem/Cai (if he is dead or still alive), Ardina who helps Maerad stay alive, Maerad falling in love with the winterking, being captured by him and being takin to his castle, and so many other exciting things that happened.

Thank-you so much!!!