January 23rd, 2007

twain & tesla

don't let the vengeance of heaven begin

Poppy posted this today. For those of you who have read Carnival, I swear upon my life I have never seen that tomb carving before.

One of the things I am finally really internalizing as a writer is that part of what makes a book good is the Cool Shit. Which is to say, really really good books are in fact usually full of awesome. (Many completely disposable books are also full of awesome. Awesome alone does not a literary masterpiece make. It does, however, get people to read the damned things.)

Now, I'm not a proponent of the three-act structure, or scene-and-sequel, or any of the prescriptivist Ways Of Writing Commercial Fiction. Of course, what I write is commercial fiction, in that it's intended for a general audience. But I firmly believe that that does not mean it has to be hackwork, or predictable, or consolatory, or crap. So when I say "full of awesome," what I mean is that one of the ways that fiction is entertaining is by being full of cool, inventive, amazing things.

This is especially true of fantasy and SF novels. We even have a term for it. We are, as far as I know, the only genre that does have a term for it. We call it Sensawunda. Sensawunda, of course (say it out loud, with an American accent) is just another way of saying "cool shit."

Or, if you prefer, full of awesome.

See, I think often when we are young innocent writerses, we write stuff that is full of awesome. And then we grow up, and try to be taken seriously, and become very concerned with other stuff.

But here's the thing about full of awesome. Full of awesome will make readers read your books. Full of awesome will make them keep reading your books while you figure out how the hell to write, and become a literary mastermind.

And then you will be Terry Pratchett.


Think about that for a minute, and then get back to me.

Progress notes for 23 January 2007


New Words:  804
Total Words: 36,687
Words for the Year: 38,124
Pages: 176
Deadline: Sometime in June or July, I'm guessing
Reason for stopping: quota

Stimulants:  shiraz
Exercise: geocaching: fell on my butt three times, too.
Songs mutilated: none
Mammalian assistance: The cat is demanding recompense for me being out all day
Mail: nomail

Darling du Jour: His face gave away nothing, but Rien was still holding his hand.
Mean Things: meeting the 'rents

There's always one more quirk in the character: Rien can get her back up about things like you would not believe. Also, she found the theme.
Other writing-related work: none
Books in progress: Phyllis Ann Karr, The Arthurian Companion; Gustav Davidson, A Dictionary of Angels including the fallen angels; J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring;
The Internet is full of Things:  if you haven't already seen this: sam clemens on the literary offenses of james fenimore cooper