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bear by san

March 2017

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phil ochs troubador

if i'm real bad will you punish me?

aaaaaaaaaaaaand after twelve incredibly productive hours of writing on "Ballistic" last night (and a reminder, if you haven't been following the message boards, that Shadow Unit Season 1, Episode 3--truepenny's "Dexterity"--goes live sometime late tomorrow night/early Monday morning, depending on where you live.), of course, this afternoon I am again staring pensively at Chill and trying to decide how the next scene starts and what it's good for.

I know what happens in it, which is nice. Sometimes, with this book, I don't even get that. (The last one that was this coy was Hammered.)

Come on, Tristen. Talk to me.

Page 90: time for a big reversal. Time to step up the chase. Not quite time to get the party together, though.

This is one of the times where craft, and an intellectual knowledge of how books are written, comes to the rescue. Because I can look at the story and think, "Okay, what needs to happen now to keep this interesting?" and the answer is almost always to reverse something. "Send in a man with a gun," as the saying goes.

I've got two mirror-image events that I'm afraid mirror each other a little too closely. But then on the other hand that's one of my favorite auctorial tricks, so maybe I will just proclaim it a feature and carry on. When they intersect, it will generate a more interesting universe for the story to move through, so--I think I'm going with it.

Anyway, I'm busy outlining now. "Outlining" is a little misleading, because my outlines are not like real people outlines. Unless I am collaborating with somebody , each scene is usually identified by a one-sentence description, and they usually only cover the next fifty pages or so of the book. I generally have an end of some sort in mind, and a general idea of how the plot will follow, but since my plots tend to be the outcome of a dozen or so people with mutually clashing agendas wrestling with each other, there's a lot of escalate-and-respond that comes out better if I let it build organically from character interactions rather than trying to force it to follow some sort of plan.

And I don't actually pay attention to them once they're written down, especially if I come up with better ideas. But when I'm trying to get an idea of what could happen next, and what it might mean for the characters, they're handy. They tend to look more like lists of notes of things I don't want to forget, however.

Well, I'm going to stare at this for a little bit. And the in about an hour, when the steamed buns I had for lunch have digested a little, I'm going to do some yoga, and then maybe take a hot bath and practice guitar, and see if any of that puts some words in my head.

The book has gotta get drafted, and the damned things do not draft themselves. My hope is still to break 25K this weekend, which means putting my head down and pushing hard today and tomorrow, as the draft currently stands at 20,547.

At least, having a third of a crappy draft in the can, I feel a little more secure about my ability to meet my deadline. And having had the first really good, fluid writing day in a long time yesterday--I looked at what I wrote again this morning, and I actually really like a lot of it, and the bits that are rough are, you know, rough and can be fixed, not a cause for seppuku--I have a sense of encouragement about the whole writing thing. Maybe I am moving off this godawful plateau.

Of course, I've been hopeful about moving off the godawful plateau since roughly 2005, and it keeps not actually happening, but you never know.

Maybe I'll get lucky.
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Come on, Tristen. Talk to me.

Hmmm Tristen talking?
I pictured Tristen as more of a man of action. Perhaps he's the one with the gun.
The book has gotta get drafted, and the damned things do not draft themselves.

what? you mean you can't just blink and it's all done?

i thought of you today (or really your posts) when i was walking in downtown philly...there was this huge protest against scientology and how they don't pay taxes or something along those lines.
Sadly.

Ooo, protest.
for some reason half of them were wearing masks from V for Vendetta or other weird make-up.
*g* That was Anonymous.

I'm about two thirds through Dust, and I suddenly realized that, like Carnival, this books plot is about mutually clashing agendas too... I tend to think of it as intrigue, but i've never read much of that; it's a change for me, as someone who's rarely read a book where there's usually only a few main struggles, or only one definite struggle with subjective intrests boiling distractedly about...

(Bear has caused him to look at a dimension of books he hadn't thought about before...)

Also, as to growth--well, I can't say one way or another, can I? Perhaps you'll get "lucky", but I'm not sure what the "godawful plateau" is. Writing being overly difficult, forced, self-conscious?
That's intrigue. *g*

Plateaus are those nasty parts of learning something where all you can see is how much you suck and how bad it all is.

Shallow praise..XD

Well, you've definitely been talkin' about *that*...;P

And if it helps Bear, I don't think you suck. Well, maybe there are certain objects you suck in your own free time, but if we're talkin' about verb vs. adjective...

Your writing is really good. You do some things really well, and i'm definitely reading with open eyes to pick up some tricks, always. And I find your writing enjoyable.

Re: Shallow praise..XD

;-) Thanks.

Re: Shallow praise..XD

Hee. Well, anyone who quotes Edna St. Vincent Millay is just incapable of sucking in my book...
You will get lucky, or you'll make your luck.

About Dust, Dust devoured my weekend, or I devoured Dust over the weekend. No pun, the book came Friday, but I started reading on Saturday around 11-ish and just finished a couple of hours ago.

What can I say, Bear?--you're brilliant. Dust blew me away.
Thank you! I'm glad it worked for you,and I hope I can make the sequel work also.

*flops*
Judging by your track record, I'm sure you can make the sequel work.
*g* Everybody's got a bad book in them.

The trick is to keep making sure it's not THIS one.
What you already laid down as far as settings, characters, theme, intrigue, etc., it cannot be this one. The series already has a momentum. Ride it.