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Monday, 23 July 2012

Two blocks of silence

I have now fallen silent for a week.  The reason is simple: I have been finishing off the manuscripts of two new books and pitching a third.

Now "finishing off" is relative, and "pitching" doesn't mean the product is finished.  Nothing is ever finished, and even when it is, I still come back and look again, and suffer from the writer's special Hell, an exquisitely refined version of esprit d'escalier, the great ideas that erupt too late.

Anyhow, one of these, the one I am pitching is my version of Crooked Mick of the Speewah. There are two of my tales visible on the Interweb in a sort of late beta form: Crooked Mick Builds a Railway and The Great Speewah Flood.  It doesn't fit into neat categories, and I may end up I may end up releasing it as an e-book, without the help of a publisher.

This is not the route I would usually follow, but this is a niche genre, tall tales and folk lore, common to many cultures, but told with an Australian bias.  The stories are highly polished, because they have been shared and discussed and in many cases, presented live, in character.  I know they work, but I can't get marketing people to see it.  So just for once, I may break one of my golden rules and self-publish.  We'll see.

The other two works are history.  Now I have a beef with history as it is served up to the young: it's a boring set of dates and name—or it's a regurgitation of some earlier book.

Well, I'm trying to provide some new material to derail the present discourse.  Case 1 is the gold rushes, where my line is a somewhat iconoclastic one: Edward Hammond Hargraves, far from discovering gold in Australia, entered into a conspiracy to foment a gold rush that the authorities couldn't stop.

That's him on the right. His co-conspirator was one Enoch Rudder, who later founded the town of Kempsey. He's there is the second shot, seen as a venerable old gent.

From there, I go to look at what creates a gold rush, and a lot of extra practical stuff, but the main thing is: lots of people found gold first, but these two knew how to manipulate people to get a gold rush started.

I have a brief for the prosecution: these two outfoxed the colonial authorities with a vengeance, and this is a Good Yarn.

That's what history should be about: good yarns that show you how things work.

Case 2, which I will talk about in a day or two if I have time, is called Curious Colonists, and it's about some of the less usual suspects, including a young man who preferred to hang over coming to Botany Bay, but time is running out before I go off to climb volcanoes and dive around coral and stuff.

We are leaving our son to mind the house (sorry, those burglars who were silly enough to think writers have money!) and heading off with two tablets loaded with e-books, one netbook and three hard copy mss to read through.

So this may, or may not, be the last blog for a couple of weeks.

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