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bear by san

March 2017



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criminal minds garcia technopeasant

you and your sister live in a lemon world. i want to sit here and die.


I can tell there's a good story in this story somewhere, struggling to get out, but I cannot seem to find the bones of it. I may need an intervention. Or the ghost of James Tiptree, Jr., to come do a quick line-edit for me.

Or something.

This is one of the Hard Things about being a writer. See, I've been over this story a dozen times now, and every time it's gotten closer to being the thing that I feel like it should be. But it never quite clicks in on that really deep level.

And I've picked a hell of a story to do it in. Whatever it is that I'm doing. Because somewhere in the accessible subtext of this thing, I need to inclue enough information about dominant/submissive serial killer partnership and Persian childbirth vampires that the casual reader will understand what's going on here. Without actually coming out and saying, "hey look, it's a dominant/submissive serial killer relationship, and here's what you need to know about Persian childbirth vampires."

And I need to figure out how to make the theme feel like a kick in the chest rather than a little banner with a legend fluttering off the port rail.

Meanwhile, back in the Iskryne, I have realized that if I never write another relationship story, I will be a happy person. I'm tired of relationships, and after Carnival and The Stratford  Man I am more tired of gay male relationships than any other kind. I think I have said all I have to say on the topic, and need to move on to something else.

Like serial killer partnerships. Friendships, friendships are still fine.

Oh and of course, The Steles of the Sky? All about goddamned relationships.

At least the only relationships in "Confessor" (yes, the furry animal story grew a title last night) are professional or sibling. Thank God.

Sentence-level craft is really on my mind again. Specifically, the level of control it takes to imply things, to express them, and to do both things plainly.

Some of this is the tiny tiny particular sentence-level work it took to get an unreliable-narrator, cryptobigot villain in a story that I recently did some beta work on to come across as what sie is, without making it blatant. (Not my story, but boy did I do a lot of thinking about the tiny nuances of one word versus another, in editorial mode.)

Some of it is what I'm trying to do on "Needles," and what I have likewise been trying to do on "Dolly" and "The Romance." Because one thing I am working very hard on right now is making my work more accessible without pulling the layers out of it. Which means actually getting more layers into it, and doing it in the same number of words.

It's frustrating and it's fascinating and it's incredibly hard work, and it requires diamond-cutter attention to detail. I'm used to bringing that to my prosody and the shades of meaning within narrative passages, but now I'm having to learn to layer that over with words that reveal as much as possible while still supporting layered (or sometimes alternate) readings.

It's a level of meticulousness and it's hard to talk about in specific terms, somehow. Because mostly it's just about thinking really hard about what the words suggest, and how they pull in the same direction, and either do or don't contradict one another.


Relationships...gah! Like a cameraman friend of mine once said: "Shooting film would be easy if it wasn't for all the goddamn LIGHT."
I am old and bitter and writing relationship is fucking BORING.

That is all.
Oh the endlessly spiraling fractal insecurities of writing.

I see you up there waving and I'm pretty sure that's the same trail I'm on. It's the same biota.

Today for me revision took the form of select-all, delete, fresh words. This is probably what I get for revising a story I wrote two years ago, but so far my revision process appears to happen at geological time scale.

Except, of course, when it doesn't.
It really is lather, rinse, repeat.
God, do I hear you on the challenges of combining accessibility and layers of meaning, though I imagine what you're trying to do on that front is a bit beyond what I've been wrestling with. I'm still at the "repeat something 3 times, in different contexts, if you people to notice it" stage, which is... not necessarily ideal, though about as subtle as I'm willing to trust myself to be, at the moment.

The thing that I've continually been bumping into, is that writing prose that contains both densely packed information and specific, telling details is hard, and it only gets harder as time goes on and your standards go up. And I'm not even trying to support alternate readings or anything, so you have my sympathies.
Hey Alec!

Good to hear from you!

Yes. That--the part where you make the information part of the story--is also really hard. And all of it is so damned frustrating.
Persian do-what? Hum.

English makes this sort of craft hard. And possible. (Note for the gallery: other languages, other crafts.)

Nice to see you noodling on writing again.
Lamashtu, technically speaking.
I realize this remark is of no practical value, but it's fascinating to read this and try to pick up on the flavor of this abstract process through your description of it. I really enjoy your posts on writing.
I'm trying to do a better job of posting about process again. I'm getting tired of my own opacity.
I became rapidly more sympathetic to and enthusiastic about literary criticism when I figured out that the tools and mindset could transfer over to this. (Happily, none of my English teachers seem to have minded that I do literary criticism like a fiction writer.)
Think of the tiny rose. Think of the feeling when ... it's worth it, eh?
I'm tired of relationships, and after Carnival and The Stratford Man I am more tired of gay male relationships than any other kind. I think I have said all I have to say on the topic, and need to move on to something else.

Oh? ::sadface:: After reading New Amsterdam and The Stratford Man I've been craving more good gay male relationships in my fiction. (Carnival is on the to-read pile.) I've started reading gay male relationships into other books where they aren't textual (Kote and Bast, anyone?), and I'm seriously in danger of writing slash. But if you're said-out on the topic, nothing good will come of trying to say more.

Are there any books by other authors, not necessarily though preferably SFnal, with good gay male relationships that you'd recommend?
Huh. You know, it's not something I actually go looking for, in general. You might try Lynn Flewelling, Sarah Monette, Geoff Ryman... um, anybody? I don't actually sort books in my head by queer content....


Don't forget Swordspoint and The Fall of the Kings by Ellen Kushner!
I can't write at all, but I found this entry one of the more interesting and well-written ones I've read on LJ about that processing of writing without sounding too whiny.
Sometimes I also whine. *g*