July 13th, 2006

lion in winter dead

Every stone a story like a rosary

Progress notes for 12 July 2006:

"The Rest of your Life in a Day."

Which is about Matthew and Kelly Szczegielniak in 1982 or thereabouts.

New Words:  595
Total Words: 595
Pages: 5
Deadline: none. because of course I couldn't be mugged by either of the shorts I owe.
Reason for stopping: bed
Stimulants:  cream cheese bagel
Exercise: weights, ski machine
Mail: money!
Today's words Word don't know: depilation, scrunchy 
Mean Things: scrotal tattooing.
Darling du jour:  The tattoo artist was Yukako Kobayashi, and she was in her sixties or seventies--or possibly older; with her hair skinned back in a bun, her cheekbones lifted like unfurling wings under button-bright eyes. She was tiny in her batwing sweaters and leggings, scrunchy elf boots pooled at her ankles, and Matt was just barely thankful that she hadn't opted for the Laura Holt hair to complete the outfit.
Books in progress: Martin Cruz Smith, Stallion Gate; Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice;
The glamour!: I just spent two hours researching penis tattoos. I do not get paid enough for this gig.
bear by san

Oh, and a review roundup. Nearly forgot.

Eagle's Path reviews Scardown favorably.

A Usenet review of Blood & Iron by Andrew Plotkin, who I also seem to have confused completely, but who says incredibly nice things about the book.  This is not the time to confess that I didn't mean to be confusing, is it? Nah, didn't think so. (It's all the fault of unclear journeyman writing the incredible complexity of my concepts!)

Charlie Stross liked it too. (He also briefly comments on a bunch of other worthies, including mevennen's book. *g*) In another thread, I was reminded of why I never post to the Usenet groups I read. I'm too old for it, I suspect.

I think I linked one of these before, but not both: Once Upon an Albatross reviews Scardown and Worldwired.

Both Blood & Iron and The Chains that you Refuse are Locus New & Notable books.

Jenn's Books liked Blood & Iron. (I can't believe the reviews and comments this book is getting. I've fooled you all!) And bookofkell liked B&I too.  (Yes, I ran a blogsearch. Because I am nosey.)

Okay, straw poll: do I keep posting the reviews I collect unlocked, stick them under a friends-lock, or just post them privately so I can find them later?
bear by san

I love my dead gay job.

So, um. I need a couple of volunteers.

Really, this is research.

I need a tattoo artist or five who are willing to answer questions regarding the process. (I know at least two read this journal occasionally; knowing the magic of livejournal, I expect another one will be along in a minute.)

And, er. I need somebody who's willing to talk about CBT (not in the interactive computing nor the psychotherapy senses, but the BDSM one), from the point of view of the recipient thereof, and answer a few technical and sensory questions.

Since I don't have the requisite physiology, I need somebody who's willing to be frank. Confidentiality respected, of course.

Comments are screened. Email will reach me at the usual place ([this journal name] at gmail dot com).


bear by san

Your wants desires needs and wishes will be duly noted

bear by san

(no subject)

Progress notes for 13 July 2006:

Yep. The novel finished, the short stories plunge like lemmings to clear themselves from my brain.

two scenes written; seven to be going on with.

"The Rest of your Life in a Day."

New Words:  1340
Total Words: 1935
Pages: 9
Deadline: none. because of course I still couldn't be mugged by either of the shorts I owe. I'm thinking about "War Stories," though.

My goal is to finish all of the outstanding short fiction before I have to start another new novel draft.

Reason for stopping: end of scene

Stimulants:  milk, beer.
Exercise: none
Mail: proofreader queries for Carnival and "Sonny Liston Takes The Fall"

burger_eater hated Blood & Iron with a profound deep hate, for exactly the same reasons that james_nicoll didn't like it. (Spoilers. Spoilers. OMG teh spoilers. Fair warning.) And it's probably wrong to react with glee to a review of my work that involves this much vitriol. But I will quote one sentence of his rant here:

"What kind of dumbass tries to paint themselves as victim and monster in the same argument?"

I leave that as an exercise to the class. And dance off, crowing to myself, "the book works, it works, it works."

Today's words Word don't know: tattooist, Tsarevich, psych, chested

Mean Things: still with the scrotal tattoos. That's worth two days of mean. And Kelly's being a jerk.
Darling du jour:  "Perfectly normal reaction," she said, and bent his penis to the left to get a better angle.
Jerry-rigging: I'm patching bits of "The Firebird" and "Beautiful Vassilisa" into the narrative. Challenging!
There's always one more quirk in the character: Kelly smokes camels. Who knew?

Other writing-related work: All the Windwracked Stars proposal
Books in progress: Martin Cruz Smith, Stallion Gate; Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice;
The glamour!: did the dishes. blew off archery because I really, really need to spend some time in my coccoon.
bear by san

The Learning Process

So I'm working on this revision of All the Windwracked Stars so I can send Jenn the proposal so she can send it out. And I want the first three chapters, say.

Anyway, I found a whole scene of which I can use entire chunks of stuff, as long as I... well, rewrite it in entirely different words. Because four years is a goddamned long time in writer-years. And I used to do things like peppering every sentence with a zillion prepositions, because it was the only way I knew how to handle line of direction, and explaining the character motivation in embarassing repetitive detail.

For example:


"I struggled up onto my knees."


"She shoved herself up."


"He let me live," I said into the night.  "Mingan the Grey Wolf permitted me to live."  What horrors had he seen in me, to call me sister in a tone other than mocking, to kiss my face with a kiss that did no murder?  Tarnished, he called to the darkness in me and it answered.

It is not so easy to slay a sister.  Even for a warrior.  Even for the fallen.

"And next time, perhaps he'll convince me to aid him after all."

I felt his exasperation as my own.  Ride, he commanded.  I walked to his side.


"He let me live," she said. "He called me sister."

It implied more than she could bear. A coward--she would accept that judgement. But she was not a monster.

The stallion's exasperation prickled as if it were her own. Ride.

Of course, if I were actually writing this as a new novel, previously unwritten, I could make it better. But I still like the world and the characters enough to try and save it. Even if it will always carry some of the traces of the apprentice I was when I made it.

Once the alloy's made, you can pound the cup into a new shape, but you can't get the tin back out of the silver.

bear by san

Do I have to write a synopsis?

Can't I just put, "She's a not-quite fallen angel with a bad case of survivor guilt; he's a nineteen-year-old gigolo and semi-professional kickboxer; he's a steam-powered warhorse; she's a kitten with a monofilament whip; he's a child of Loki with terminal heartburn; they fight crime!"?

Maybe I can just transcribe the really funny bits of Joanna Russ's phone interview from WisCon (she'd just had--hip replacement surgery, I think? so she granted an interview via Chip Delany) in which she performed a feminist critique of Why Spike Is the Thinking Woman's Hott!! and call that a proposal.

(I just wrote her a hugely embarrassing fan letter. It was only my second or third real fan letter. But I had the Carnival ARC in front of me, and it seemed like a good idea at the time.)

No, huh?

By the way, you have thirteen more minutes to buy this book and still count as one of the cool kids.

Just saying.