writing rengeek magpie mind

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twain & tesla

every heart to love will come, but like a refugee

Progress notes for 10 March 2008

It's helpful to reduce my expectations of perfection. As my critical and editorial acumen has expanded, I've gotten into this mode where I am evaluating each sentence as if it were a line in a poem; scouring out all needless words, trying to make it balance like a spinning plate. I want them all to do work (establish character, move the action forward, worldbuild, increase or resolve tension, and illuminate theme). While being beautiful. And accessible.

This is a laudable goal. We call it lapidary prose. It's a goal, writing like that.

It's also not something I need to be worrying about on a first draft, when I am trying to figure out what the hell the story is. And that's part of what's been paralyzing me.

Just sit and spin the tale, Bear. Worry about that other stuff later.

It bothers me in that I feel like the prose I've been spinning lately (in Undertow and Carnival, in particular, though not quite so much in Dust) is very plain and doesn't hold a lot of tension. But you know, I may not always be the best judge of such things. And comment seems positive.

I'm not looking for frilly prose, mind you. There's a difference between purple and evocative. But the sound of the words, the flow of the language, the emotions it evoke are very important to me. And sometimes lately I feel like I'm not doing that very well anymore. But shut up and write the story, Bear.


Chill:

New words: 766
Total words: 15808
Deadline: April 15
Mammalian assistance: none
Reason for stopping: quota, after five hours of working, and I have to go to the post office soon.





Darling du jour: "Carry me."
Tyop du jour: cleverkness, the bores of her skin
Jury-rigging: n/a
There's always one more quirk in the character:  n/a

Other writing-related work: post office, figured out something cool for "Ballistic" in the car yesterday
Exercise: none
Miles to Lothlorien: 254.4
Guitar practice: none, because I suck and it took me five freaking hours to write three pages.
Mail:  some, but it's secret.

Today's words Word don't know:   none
Words I'm Surprised Word Do Know: none
Sustenance:  leftover tom kha
Mean Things: disambiguation
The Internet is Full of Things: Not today, it isn't.

Comments

Carnival did seem to me rather plain-spoken, though this worked for the story (especially in the suitably descriptive scene involving Lesa and those thorns--if you'd pumped that up with perty words it would have come across as Christ-like...)

I am now almost halfway through Dust, and I do see the cross between plain-spokeneness and gothic delight. It is mostly your imagery in this book that is beautiful, though it is peppered with those delightful phrases... it's the epigraphs, I think, and the titles, which are suitably poetic.

But I love that kind of synthesis; I love Nix, remember? Though, if one is going for grittily, gothically beautiful yet practical, Holly Black remains the epitome for me...

But *no one* writes stunning scenes of slowly, gruesomely torturing their characters like you, or the most significant sex scenes.

Admittedly, I've only read one and a half books, but that's what's struck me so far...
Thank you! That means a lot!
It's just honesty... I'm also coming to like Rien. At first she seemed a little too jumpy and mousy--but damn girl! Perceval is, of course (again, it seems to me) overly noble, but Rien's got the kind of sense and natural suspicion--I'm up to the part when they find Bene--that I love.

Also, nice choice in names. Doesn't Rien mean 'nothing' in French? And Benedick sounds like it comes from the Italian "benedetto" for blessing. Or maybe he just has a "good dick".

But Perceval and Tristen? This book *is* a medieval-style quest, innit? ;P
Rien is the one I really fell in love with.

And yes, it is that. *g*
Glad I caught on... and I want to be Rien's bitch.