September 25th, 2003

bear by san

Two dollar high-heel shoes and a honky tonk dress--

So I started thinking about reader (and writer) fetishes last night when I was supposed to be sleeping, and the vodka-with-a-twist that was supposed to be relaxing me for bed was instead waking me up. Ah, the perversity of alcohol. If I'd needed to stay awake, it would have laid me out like a right cross.

So anyway, fetishes. Fetishes are different than squids, because squids (in my theoretical framework) arise from deep-seated psychological issues and convictions that the reader or the writer holds on a subconscious or emotional level.

Fetishes are those other things. "I hate first person." "I hate second person." "I hate third person." "I hate omniscient." "I hate present tense." "I write everything in present tense because it feels more immediate that way."

Now, some of this stuff is harder to do than others. (Omniscient POV is hard. Hard. Hard.) And just because you meant to do something doesn't mean you did it well. God knows I've bitched up enough tricky stuff in my time--and I think the things that people say they hate are hated because they are easier to do poorly than well. (First person, present tense, and so forth.)

But I firmly believe they're all tools in the toolbox, and the magic of writing is that there is no right or wrong way to do anything. There are only ways that work and ways that don't work.

Frex: I tend to write in a slightly distanced third-POV. I call it "the telepathic steadicam." My betareaders used to call me on it all the time as a POV violation, and I screamed and wept and tore my hair about how they just didn't understand my genius.


I still write a telepathic steadicam third. And I realized yesterday that the only time any of my betas has called me on a POV violation in about six months was when it was a genuine POV violation.

So obviously, previous to that, I may have meant to do it. But I wasn't doing it right.

And another thought from the trenches, pursuant to yesterday's rant on perseverance:
  • Current Music
    Tina Turner, Overnight Sensation
bear by san

*drowning the Tudors in a bucket*

I've figured out why this damned book is kicking my ass right now. It's because I've reached the part of the narrative where I have to explain what the hell these people are doing, and why, and what the motivation is. And thereby hangs the tale. Because the Elizabethan history is exactly what's kicking my ass.

Because it doesn't make any sense.

It's random and arbitrary and totally opaque and nobody on earth has any idea why any of these people were doing what they were doing, and I have to turn it into a narrative arc. This whole bizarre nest of apparently random betrayals and counter betrayals and minor insurrections and nonsensical pardonings and what the hell was Elizabeth thinking, and what the hell was Robert Cecil trying to pull, why the HELL didn't anybody ever put a bullet in Robin Poley's thrice-be-damned head?



  • Current Music
    Suzanne Vega - Story Of Isaac
bear by san

Progress notes

Words: 1774
Reason for stopping: Waiting for a brief Latin translation from somebody who speaks Latin, and not French. Also, I'm too tired to care what happens next, which is not the time to be writing High Drama.

Finished the Will POV, got into another Kit POV, and he's stalling. I'm on page 755 continguous, and I have 786 pages total, counting some scene and outline stuff that's hung off the end. Also, I figured out why the hell Frances Walsingham Sidney married Robert Devereaux, the 2nd and icky Earl of Essex. (Yes, that Essex.)

I suspect I need to get Edmund Spenser and Ferdinando Stanley on stage a bit more in the first two thirds of the book.

I think I have too many damned characters, subplots, and things. And it's like juggling a seven-ball cascade keeping all this stuff in the air. (ebear wanders off into a brief visual fantasy where she's standing on a teeter totter in Harvard Square, juggling things, and occasionally bouncing a bag off her foot to put it back into the cascade)
(And now I wonder if that guy still does Harvard Square, or if he broke down and got a day job. That would be sad, because he was awfully good.)

This would be my clue that it's time to go to bed.
  • Current Music
    Hugh Blumenfeld - Longhaired Radical Socialist Jew