February 1st, 2007

bear by san

With the new month comes new ink.

Fiction, fiction everywhere.

First off, over at Baen's Universe this bimonthly period you can find "War Stories," a new Jenny story by me. No surprises, but maybe some illumination. (No, I have no idea who those white people in the illustrations are.)

In addition, Fast Forward 1 will be available on Monday. This thing is getting rave reviews, and I for one can't wait to read it.

In non-fiction news, there appear to be reviews of Subterranean 5, Fast Forward 1, Carnival, and also Carnival in the February Locus. I'll try to do my nervous vomiting quietly. *g* The good news is, they can't be too bad, because both Fast Forward 1 and Carnival made the Locus recommended reading list for 2006, as did "Wane," one of the New Amsterdam stories.

...and I see a lot of other familiar names on that list. Good job, guys!

It was rumored that there would be Carnival reviews at Sequential Tart and IROSF this month, but I can't find the one (It's probably gone wherever that rumored Washington Post review went) and the other's February issue isn't up yet. So I'll get back to you on those.
writing dust bible 'house of dust"

poison angels

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
224 / 400

(or maybe)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
224 / 440

1500 words this morning, to a total Word count of 46,980 and a total page count of 224. Movng past the halfway point with a smoothness that worries me a little: it gets me waiting for the other piano to drop. In any case, it is now time to quit and go take a shower.

I feel kind of mighty: there was a Fateful Meeting and a lot of exposition handled, I think, pretty smoothly. And the characters were full of snark:

"The world has a name," said Samael. "Its name is Jacob's Ladder."

"I know," Perceval replied. "It's painted on the side."


"Somebody is going to have to get eaten. I'm sure you can understand my position."

Tyop: earrings and finger-fings.
My morning glamour! today was cat vomit.
Words I had to teach Word: serotonin, razory, viewscreens, resurrectees, unblades, dammit, flumph, footrail, achingly, dayside, waystar, spaceworthy, demiurge, Israfel, kinked, Shakziel (patron angel of water insects, don't you know), biosupport, hornier, biosystems, vanishment, cherrywood, mutagen, choosers, demiurges,

420.6 miles to Rivendell
rengeek superbard! _ strangepowers

"We love best selling writers for their sentimental inexactitude." -- Norman Mailer

One of the nice things about being a bad guitar player is that when you screw up, you often find a chord Pete Townshend uses for something.

I've decided that today is a day for drinking chamomile tea and not going outside. Also, a big chunk of plot dropped into my head this morning, but I was having restless fits and couldn't concentrate to write, so, ah, I played a lot of Dinomite and then played guitar for an hour or so. Slowly but surely, I am transitioning from "Somebody who owns a guitar" to "The world's most feeble guitar player."

It makes me feel accomplished. (I'm trying to learn Bflat now. It doesn't seem like it should be that hard, but it really kicks my butt.)

Carnival reviewed at Sequential Tart! Hah, found it. *sack dances.*

All right. I'm going to play some more mindless computer games and figure out what the next scene is, because unfortunately the big chunk of book that my brain gave is macro level rather than micro level.

I should explain that, shouldn't I?

Okay. When I write something, I am thinking about it on ~6 levels. There is the big-picture narrative level, what I call "the story." This is the stuff that goes in the synopsis, or the stuff you list when somebody says "Well, what's your book about?" Then there is the actual scene by scene progression of action, the "plot." This is the questions raised and answered along the way. Forward motion. Tension. That.

Then there is the thematic level--the "argument." This is the thing your 9th grade English teacher asked you essay questions about.

Then there is the "work," which is what the scene accomplishes in terms of the structure of the book. In other words, "This is the scene that introduces character X to character Y, and establishes their relationship." "This is the scene in which Character Z's minor triumph becomes a major setback."

That's four, right?

Five is the character arc--what each scene does in terms of illuminating who the characters are and how they are growing or failing to grow.

Six is the Cool Shit. This is for worldbuilding or throwing in shiny setpieces just because you happen to think of the shiny setpiece. OTOH, once you think of the shiny setpiece, it needs to start doing some of the other five things, too, or soon you have a bloated and repetitious series of volumes about which your readers cry "Seven hundred pages and nothing happened!"

And if you can get a scene doing five or six things?

That's narrative momentum, baby, as long as the prose is up to it.

Is this how you should work? I dunno, Probably not. But it works for me.

Anyway, right now I have the first thing and the third thing, for the rest of the book. And bits and pieces of the other four.

Unfortunately, I need more bits and pieces of NEXT scene, so I can write it. (The worst is when I know the work a scene should be doing, and can't figure out any of the other things that could cause that work to happen. Hate that. Hate it.)