|Original Limited Edition|
I've been working on my action since that first novel. I felt it wasn't as good as it could have been. I think with each of my seven previous novels, I've gained a better grasp on action and the sense of pace I need to balance it out. In fact, I think Blood Ocean is about as action-packed and violent as anything I've ever-written, and an achievement in my own right.
I read from Chapter 10 (I think) at Salt Lake City during the World Horror Convention. The audience was left breathless and breathing heavily after 30 minutes of reading, the action was so profound. (Here is that reading courtesy of Lincoln Crisler - sorry for the quality of my voice. It's the only one I have)
So I think I got that action thing down now. I think I've figured out how to translate the complex martial movements taking place in my mind to the page.
But I have to be careful that I don't forget the depth of character I and plot I desire to write.
In a recent review of Blood Ocean, Matthew Fryer said--
"Fans of China Mieville may also notice similarities with his sprawling and gorgeous “The Scar” with its floating city, cultural diversity and grotesque body modification, but those heavy sociopolitical depths aren’t attempted here. In fact, ignoring the horror content, this almost feels like a book for younger audiences. That’s not because this is euphemistic or lightweight storytelling. I think it’s partly due to a sense of optimism despite the odds, but mainly because it’s a wild ride driven by a fresh-faced youth that doesn’t contrive to be disturbing or profound, but concentrates on shoveling coal into its furnace." Read the entire review here.
Matt's point is just. Blood Ocean is intended to be a 'wild ride' and optimistic. Although I do get into characterization, as he points out elsewhere in the review, I don't think I plumb as deeply as I usually do. Of course I did it for a reason with Blood Ocean. As part of a series of books under the Afterblight umbrella, they were all fast-paced, violent pieces of fiction. To write the book any other way would be a disservice to those who had come before and the readers who expected thus.
But like I said. I have to be careful. Just the other day, I began work on a new novel. Ten pages in and it felt a little juvenile and lacked depth. I wasn't sure what was wrong, until I read Matt's review of Blood Ocean. You see, my mind was still locked on Blood Ocean. If Blood Ocean is to the far right of the scale and Scarecrow Gods is on the far left, I want to find somewhere in the middle to write this next novel I'm tentatively titling Aftermath.
Once aware of this, I sat down last night and wrote a few pages. It felt good. I could feel myself getting to know my new characters and the world within which they live. I could feel the tight spring of action, controlled by the impetus of character and thought. This is good. This is how I want to write.
Not that Blood Ocean is bad... not at all.
It is what it is meant to be.
But now I am writing something else.
Something set in my world.