it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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Thank god it's Friday

Damn, a whole week of insomnia will kick yer ass. I should be writing, but it's all I can do to stare desultorily at Richard III

And I dragged my butt into work this morning, and they needed me for a whole damned hour. Meps.


I had a big wonderful conversation last night with tanaise, katallen, maradydd, buymeaclue, and Jeremy, involving this thing I seem to be learning to do. Intermittently. In fits and starts.

Hannah does it automagically, whatever it is. It's a kind of narrative assurance--John Gardner's 'fictional dream' to a slightly higher power, with a frosting of very focused show-don't tell--and I seem to be picking it up from heavy doses of Anthony Burgess, Kit Marlowe, and Will Shakespeare. It also shows up in Charlie Kaufman's movie Adaptation and, as Celia pointed out, the brilliant The Usual Suspects.

Maybe I should call it "narrative authority". It's something that not all or even most writers (or screenwriters) do, and it seems to be linked to a spareness of narrative and a lack of obvious internalizations, linked with very intense and specific grounding that produces the sensation of a non-intellectualized internalization, if that makes any sense. It's linked to an assurance that the reader/viewer will *get* the symbolic message or subtext of the story, and if he or she doesn't it's no big thang.

And it takes place on a number of levels: there's a front story, and a subtext story, and layers and levels of characterization.

tanaise is calling it inpositioning, which isn't bad at all, except the brief discussion ">here makes it sound a bit like papersky's "incluing," which it isn't, really.

If incluing is the opposite of exposition, inpositioning is like the opposite of explaining.

Here's the examples I used, from my own WiP.

This bit doesn't have it:

And author of all my troubles, Will thought, laying the coin on the table beside the inkwell. He spread his pages across the desk and recut a quill, nicking his finger on the knife when his right hand trembled. He thrust the knife into the tabletop and his left middle finger between his lips. "Damn it to Hell--"

"Now there's a scene from Faustus," an amused voice said from the corner. "Writing our plays in blood now, are we? That should be some sorcery."

Will pulled his bloody finger from his mouth and raised his eyes to the mirror. He wasn't surprised to see Kit lounging beside the fireplace behind Will, one elbow on the mantle, his left hand steering the hilt of a rapier. "You could have announced yourself."

"I was waiting for you to set down the knife," Kit said dryly. He straightened, and came forward, producing a kerchief from his sleeve. "So you wouldn't cut yourself. Let me see."

This bit does:

The trail tended east, gladdening Kit's heart, and it passed over the brook--there was a brook today, brown water dappled by sunshine--on a well-maintained footbridge. Kit was wise enough to step off the trail and leave prints down the muddy bank, crouching on gravel to cup water to his mouth. He drank deep to spare what he carried, smiling at the hop and splash of infant frogs the same shade of bronze as the silt. "Hurm," croaked the troll under the bridge as Kit, in turn, hopped to the first of four rocks that would carry him to the far bank. "Harm."

"Good morning, Master Troll." Kit's hand would have dropped to his swordhilt if he had been wearing one.

"Good morning, Sir Poet."

"You know me."

"I know your eyepatch," the troll answered. "I know your errand."

Its eyes blinked like cloud-filtered moons from the gloom under the bridge's arch. Kit could see a knobbed and swollen nose, slimy skin reflecting a little of the yellow glow of those eyes, and the splayed fingers of one weird hand balancing the thing's crouch as it perched on a rock. He couldn't make out enough of the thing's body to get an idea of its size. The space under the bridge was darker than it ought to be and there was no silhouette cast against the light on the other side, so he saw only splinters of warty hide, the hump of a shoulder illuminated in the thin bands of sunlight that fell between planks.

"My errand?"

"Always on the Queen's business, aye."

"One Queen or another." Kit didn't like his footing on the stone, which rocked under his boots. He stepped into the stream, calf-deep, a cold gout of water soaking his leg to the thigh.

Now I just have to figure out how the hell to do that every time, all the time, and I'll be on to something.

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