July 6th, 2006

bear by san

Oh, the iron will, and the iron hand

Progress notes for 5 July 2006:


New Words:  1,866
Total Words: 78,035 / 91,000
Pages: 364
Deadline: August 1
Words per day to meet deadline: 333
Scenes left / scenes myrtilized (notecards, if I were using notecards this book): 15/3
Reason for stopping: end of scene, bedtime, want to finish Holly's book.

Stimulants: water, hefeweissen
Exercise: gym: core, upper body, ski machine
Mail: many many reviews
Today's words Word don't know: unmoored, defanged, nonfatally
Words I'm surprised Word do know: gimbals

Mean Things: Shot a bunch of people.
Tyop du jour: Elboys
Darling du jour:  He could have been a paper airplane, flying from hand to hand. All that mattered was the information written on his wings.
Jerry-rigging: Had to go back and patch up Cricket's plan to make it make a little more sense. Still not happy with my logic chains.
There's always one more quirk in the character: André apparently has a conscience.

Books in progress:
Martin Cruz Smith, Stallion Gate; Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice; Holly Black, Tithe
Things I'm glad I didn't go to my grave without:

Geoffrey K. Pullum takes us all to task for a particular type of narrative cleverness that he dubs "linguification" at Language Log. He doesn't think it's clever or funny or amusing.

In the same blog, Mark Liberman mocks him roundly.

Because god knows, the humor and pleasure derived from creating figures of speech must be tightly regulated so that the constructions are logical. And we all know that the light from logic takes a billion years to reach games of synechdoche. metaphor, and hyperbole.
bear by san

Book # 49, Holly Black, Tithe

I've been saving this book to read after Blood & Iron was out, because people have mentioned some similarities between Holly's work and mine to me. And I can see a bit of that--both books, for example, revolve around the tiend (at the end of every seven years / we pay a tiend to hell) and the lengths the Fae go to for means by which to pay it. Both of them are kidnapped-by-Faeries stories, after a fashion, and if I'd written B&I from Hope's point of view, there are ways in which it would have been very much like Tithe.

But this is a book I never could have written. I'm glad she did, though: it was an awful lot of fun. And her Kelpie is Just Right.

I often have a problem with YA in that a lot of what I read seems emotionally muted to me, as if adult authors or editors can have a hard time committing to really brutalizing young characters. (Which is not to say there's not adult work where we have a hard time committing to brutalizing our characters, either.)

Concisely, *I* remember childhood and adolescence as being pretty much dripping with pain and portent; I hadn't much in the way of emotional management skills or perspective. And blackholly captures that nicely, and doesn't tie up the main character's problems too neatly in a bundle at the end of the book. Her faeries are sharp pointy wicked tricksy things with teeth and inhuman morality, which is as it should be, and she's got the guts to talk about the seductions of having a heart of stone.

Which is something else faeries are traditionally about. Life is far easier when you only think of your own pleasure.

But you stop being human in there somewhere, don't you?

I read a bunch of urban fantasy when I was in college, and a lot of it, as I recall, privileged Faerie as this sort of otherworld where maybe everybody wasn't really nice, but... things got made a bit safe. The betrayals came from where and when you expected them, and the good folk were mostly just human, with pointed ears, perhaps prone to temper tantrums. And of course our heroes and heroines, being pure of heart and artistically gifted (why are they always artistically gifted?) were more or less privileged as well. And there was this undercut through some of it (and god, don't ask me titles: this was intensive reading fifteen, seventeen years ago) that dichotomized magic and technology, romanticized and exoticized the one and demonized the other. Black Satanic Mills, etc. (I was also left with this sort of racial memory of many of these books having a Kidnapped Princess fallacy thing going on--"You're not my real parents! I am special!")

There were never really the prices to be paid that traditionally there are, when you go into Faerie: a broken heart, a broken soul, a broken life, a broken back, a broken life. A hundred years gone by in a night.

Holly's book points out that being Special isn't always Good, and sometimes being Annointed is not a destiny you really should prefer.

(I'm not talking about Tam Lin and War For The Oaks and Thomas the Rhymer here, I should be plain, but certain more commercially oriented books that dealt with Faerie. I read highly commercial fantasy by the shovel-load in college, because it was what my brain could handle a lot of the time. Also, that's the source of my Lilian Jackson Braun thing. They're so light! And fluffy!)

Holly, on the other hand, does a pretty damned fine job of nailing the arbitrary and willful nature of faerie, the morality of a bored five year old, the air of pulling wings off flies because they were bored. Her primary elf-knight is maybe a little too virtupus (his first and second appearances are marvellously scary and just right, but he tames down a bit) but then, I can't whinge too much about that--I have a somewhat over-virtupus elf-knight myself. (I was attempting to split the difference between his legendary half-brothers (and wouldn't it be a spoiler to say who those people were?) and it became obvious about halfway through The Stratford Man that the temperament--along with the looks--came from the sire line in this case. *g*

It's okay, though. His descendents seem to have gotten all the mean.

Anyway, good book; I will be passing it along to an 11-year-old of my acquaintance, with her Mom's permission, I think. *g*
bear by san

It's so much nicer thinking about the finished books than the unfinished ones

ten book-related things I know are pointless, but can't resist doing

10. Fiddling with optional commas on the page proofs.

9. Fretting over the grammar in my back cover copy.

8. Rewording sentences in order to get that one trailing word that's stranded on its own line gets sucked up to live with its friends in the rest of the paragraph.

7. Wondering if there's not a better way to phrase a sentence every time I type the word "was."

6. Ego-googling

5. Wincing at errors in books and stories that are in print.

4. Rolling my eyes at readers who obviously wished they were reading a different book.

3. Feeling cheered when I find comments from readers who obviously got what the book was doing, even if they hated it.

2. Contemplating hacking BookScan

1. Checking the Amazon page for Blood & Iron twice a day to see if anybody other than Harriet has reviewed it yet. (still not King!)
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bear by san

She wouldn't make love, but she could make a good sandwich.

Progress notes for 6 July 2006:


New Words:  1015
Total Words: 79,050 / 92,250
Pages: 369
Deadline: August 1
Words per day to meet deadline: 298
Scenes left / scenes myrtilized (notecards, if I were using notecards this book): 14/4
Reason for stopping: I have arrived at the omniscient section of the book. Hmm. Maybe I should play some Chuzzle.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
79,050 / 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
369 / 400

Stimulants:  iced tea
Exercise: 1/2 hour of archery
Mail: ARCs of Carnival (check your mail soon, leahbobet, allaboutm_e, clarkesworld, et al) which are *lovely* (they did me proud: four-color cover with a white border, yay!); contrib copies of Subterranean 4, which is also lovely, and my new cheeseboard! (er, that would be my Locus award plaque.) Which is quite pretty.

I feel very special today.

Notes from the blogosphere:

hawkwing_lb comments on Blood & Iron

as does kendwoods

(full disclosure, both of them are fellow OWWers.)

Today's words Word don't know: spasmed
Mean Things: another sympathetic secondary character bites the dust.
Darling du jour:  he was struck by how her displayed slender throat, her open slightly-moving hands, should have seemed vulnerable but instead gave the impression of a lean, dozing predator.
Jerry-rigging: figured out that I could probably pack three scenes into one through use of an advanced stunt-writing technique... which actually makes structural sense.
There's always one more quirk in the character: André just grew up.

Other writing-related work: none
Books in progress: Martin Cruz Smith, Stallion Gate; Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice;
Books read: Holly Black, Tithe
Things I'm glad I didn't go to my grave without: Jennifer Jackson on Romancing the Blog, regarding the village it takes to raise a b&^k.
The glamour!: I got spam from Lesa today.

...shit, she knows where to find me.

...shit, she wants to enlarge my penis.