bear by san

December 2021



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david bowie black tie - sosostris2012

the future you're giving me holds nothing for a gun

State of the All the Windwracked Stars:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
347 / 400

That's actually only about 2500 new words, but I took all the chunks of the old novel that I'm saving for re-use and stapled them in. I expect they will get much shorter when they are rewritten, as they badly badly need to be. Because they are ass, that's why. And because that thing where my brain tries to have six conversation in parallel was really prevalent in early drafts of this book. It all made perfect sense to me at the time it was written, but I look at it now and think, "Wow, this is random."

Also, when you actually put transitions and scene changes and all that stuff in a book, it makes it a heck of a lot longer.

I have in fact trained myself to be more linear. Hacking my own brain for your entertainment since ~2001.

Also, I got to write the scene where the sort-of-but-not-really-fallen-angel kisses the catslavegirl today. There was a lot of entertainment for my cat in this, as I kept poking at her face trying to figure out the structure of her mouth. Also, somewhere, Cordwainer Smith is just spinning. Or possibly laughing his ass off, one of the two.

Which leads me to a meditation of one of the worst pieces of writing advice I have ever recieved: the venerable and nonsensical, "don't write down anything your point of view character isn't currently noticing."

I suspect that's probably a good third of what's wrong with AtWS: The Original Narrative. Because I didn't. I stuck tightly to Muire's stream of consciousness, and to the action. Which meant there was almost no setting, no worldbuilding--except by incluing--no setting--except for whatever furniture was currently in use--and in general, king of a herky-jerky thing where the reader was adrift in this character's head and only aware of whatever she was focused on.

The first Jenny book has some of this problem too, but by the time I wrote that, enough of my first readers had complained often enough that I was starting to fix it, at least slightly.

Now, what does work is filtering the narrative through the character's perceptions so the reader sees what's important to that character. The murderer notices the knife on the counter; the hungry man notices the open box of Bugles. But part of building richness into a narrative is that incidental stuff, even if a real person would only notice it subconsciously. The texture of cloth, the movement of the air, an itch on an earlobe. It's immersion, grounding, and it matters.

Remember: just because people tell you something about writing, doesn't mean it's useful or true.

That of course goes for everything I say, too.

This morning, while I was sitting in my chair by the window writing, what I charitably presume to have been a very young sparrow got tangled in a spiderweb on my windowledge.

It appeared to be eating something--I presume either the spider, the egg case, or an insect husk, and in the process, sort of fluttered all over the windowledge and then clung to the screen for a while and got spiderweb all over itself and in general acted like it had no clue that I, and the Presumptuous Cat, were sitting a mere ten inches away.

The PC was eminently interested, too, but I got ahold of her before she could go through the screen and fall two stories, in pursuit of the daft thing.

Ever notice how much government resembles ten year old boys with secret clubhouse passwords?

Yeah, me too.

I just found a notebook with a bunch of pithy quotes I wrote down about fifteen years ago, for a purpose no longer relevant. If you like that sort of stuff, well, I'm putting the ones I want to remember here, for my own future reference. (There's a few I mean to use in Chill, for one thing.)

"It doesn't matter how you worship, so long as you're down on your knees." -- Leonard Cohen

"Umbrae umbrarum ritu soluimur"
(Shadows we are, and like shadows we are released) -- Inscription on a sundial, Friar Park, Henley-on-Thames

"To conquer Death, you only have to die." --Jesus, per Andrew Lloyd Webber

"Rulers make bad lovers." --Stevie Nicks, "Gold Dust Woman"

"And it's everyone's secret, and muttered refrain, that for all of our troubles we'll be lonely again." -- Ferron, "Snowin' in Brooklyn"

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

"We're only immortal for a limited time." -- Rush, "Dreamline"

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." -- Kathleen Casey Theisen

"In case you hadn't noticed, I've just won." -- Henry II, The Lion in Winter

"The sun's rim dips, the stars rush out.
At one stride comes the dark." --Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

"It's a wise, wise prophet who keeps his own council." --Ian Anderson, "Valley."

"I guess you call it love. I call it service." -- Leonard Cohen, "There is a War."

"If we don't do the nasty, we won't make babies." -- Mac Rebbenack, "Television"

"Men hate those to whom they have to lie." --Victor Hugo

"And if the music stops, there is only the sound of the rain." -- Rush, "Bravado"

"There is something about a closet that makes a skeleton terribly restless." --Wilson Mizner

"Ambition's like a sifting screen on an old farm plow." -- Ferron

"I know the crazy you get from too much choice." -- Joni Mitchell, "Barangrill"

"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him."  -- G.K.Chesterton

"We fight rather to keep something alive than in the expectation that anything will triumph." -- T.S. Eliot

"God-forsaken is beautiful, too." -- Richard Brautigan

"What will happen cannot be stopped. Aim for grace." -- Ann Beatty

"A kind of grace it is to slay with speed." -- Sydney

"When there is too much naivete around, the universe has no choice but to crystallize out some betrayal." -- Robert Bly, Iron John

"The men who love war are mostly the ones who have never been in it." -- George McGovern

"Forget the princess--Embrace the dragons." --Pearson

"I was raised to be Charming, not Sincere." -- Prince Charming #1, Into the Woods (Stephen Sondheim)

"A man cannot be too careful in his choice of enemies." -- Oscar Wilde

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity." --W. B. Yeats, "The Second Coming."

"you've gotto dance till the sun comes up
for you've got no place to sleep"  --don marquis, archy and mehitabel

"When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary." --Thomas Paine

"And though the lovers be lost the love shall not
And death shall have no dominion." -- Dylan Thomas

"You're not good. You're not bad. You're just nice.
I'm not good, I'm not nice. I'm just right."  -- The Witch, Into the Woods (Stephen Sondheim)

"We are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them." -- Alfred Adler

"Peace: in international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting." --Ambrose Bierce

"We can't all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by." -- Will Rogers

"There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it." -- George Bernard Shaw

"When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for." -- Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D

"The important thing is this: to be able to sacrifice what we are for what we could become." --Charles du Bois

"In times like these, it helps to remember that there have always been times like these." --Paul Harvey

"After the first death, there is no other." -- Dylan Thomas

"To the victor go the ashes of the spoils." -- Phil Ochs

"Angels done took Elijah, but I feel alright myself." -- The Legendary Wish

"Those who trust us, educate us." -- George Elliot

"I have long ago lost my belief in immortality--also my interest in it." -- Mark Twain

"I've been on the verge of being an angel all my life, but it hasn't happened yet." -- Mark Twain

"Ye have angel's faces, but the devil knows your hearts." --William Shakespeare, Henry VIII

"Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen." --T.S. Eliot, "Ash Wednesday"

"All the information I have about myself is from forged documents." --Vladimir Nabokov

"One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star." --G.K. Chesterton

"Reality is whatever refuses to go away when I stop believing in it." --Philip K. Dick

"The simplification of anything is always sensational." --G.K. Chesterton

"This time, for sure!" -- Bullwinkle J. Moose


Ehe. *g*
...I'm allowed to describe things my viewpoint character isn't actively noticing?

That would make a lot of this writing thing easier, yes. Time to put the stern warning not to do that untruth in the pile with "Only write what you know" and "If you really like a sentence or phrase, you should probably strip it out." Writing fallacies I have eventually overcome! Though it's going to be a tough habit to break, even now that I know I'm allowed to break it.
Well, yeah. It's the only fucking way to get any continuity into a scene. It's like all that stuffthe camera pans over while it's establishing where the characters are in space.

It *has* to be there, or they're just floating.

I mean, think about all the stuff that's going on around you right now that you kind of have half tuned out. The chill breeze from the window, the music on the stereo down low, the cat walking across the kitchen counter, the books stacked to tumbling on the shelf.

Are you *noticing* any of that stuff? Did you *notice* that you just shifted stiffly after sitting under your laptop for an hour and a half?

Probably not.

But any or all of it might belong in your grounding and your establishing shot.
"God-forsaken is beautiful, too." -- Richard Brautigan

yeah. Most people don't understand when I talk about wandering around in godforsaken hell holes with a smile on my face. :)
Will we get to see the kitten with a whip use it on the sort-of-but-not-really-fallen-angel?
Now, that would be telling.
"Umbrae umbrarum ritu soluimur"
(Shadows we are, and like shadows we are released) -- Inscription on a sundial, Friar Park, Henley-on-Thames

Ooh, I spend lots of time in Henley! I shall seek it out! Next week! Do you want a photo...?
I'd love one. The actual inscription may or may not have the translation on it, and if it does, it's a different translation, so it would be really nice to know. *g*
Damn, woman.

You quote good.
We save them up for a long time, we do.

Pithy quotes

Bravado is still my all time favorite Rush song.

Re: Pithy quotes

I'm not a big Rush fan, but I love that one.
Those are some nice quotes. :)
I think the Cohen quote is, "i call it room service..." at least on the version i have.. i noticed because it clangs..

and what every you are doing technically, it's working.. New A and W&W are pleasant and dare i say "easy" to read.. some people like staring off into space trying to figure out what the hell is going on in a book. I don't. I like to be mystified by what the hell the characters are up to and the resolution of those mysteries rather than trying to figure out what the stylization of the author is hiding from me..

Tolkien rather than ERR Eddison. But that's just me. But then again i work my poor old brain fairly hard during work time so i dont need puzzley stuff, especially when the puzzle master cheats.

But NA and W&W passed the addition test.. I was sorry it ran out of words, and immediately wanted more...

More, dammit..!!!!!!! words! More!.. Here!
*g* He may have changed it on the later/snarkier versions, but the original album track is as quoted...

And thank you. I'm trying.
(1) Go to omniscient

(2) Insert a scene break between POVs

(3) Suck it up and stick to one point of view, you sissy. What, are you writing porn here?

Great quotes.
I have the beginnings of my own collection, and may have to steal some these. I never had an attribution for "We can't all be heroes, because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by."

I only started reading Yeats when copperbadge wrote a "response" that includes Anarchy Does this at least: new things arise. and The best lack no conviction, but are young And we deride their passionate beliefs.
I have piles of quotes I've collected over the years (literally 40 or 50 pages worth) - none of which are on your list. I'm stealing them. Well, at least some of them. *grin*
Want one from me?

You are what's eating you.
-- Mog Decarnin