April 10th, 2007

problem cat

There's a Shakespeare meme going around for Poetry Month, and I have to be contrary:

Room! room! make room for the bouncing belly,
First father of sauce, and deviser of jelly;
Prime master of arts, and the giver of wit,
That found out the excellent engine the spit,
The plow and the flail, the mill and the hopper,
The hutch and the bolter, the furnace and copper,
The oven, the bavin, the mawkin, the peel,
The hearth and the range, the dog and the wheel.
He, he first invented the hogshead and tun,
The gimlet and vice too, and taught them to run.
And since with the funnel and hippocras bag
He has made of himself, that now he cries swag!
Which shows, though the pleasure be but of four inches,
Yet he is a weasel, the gullet that pinches
Of any delight, and not spares from the back
Whatever to make of the belly a sack!
Hail, hail, plump paunch! O the founder of taste,
For fresh meats, or powdered, or pickle, or paste;
Devourer of broiled, baked, roasted, or sod,
And emptier of cups, be they even or odd;
All which have now made thee so wide i’ the waist
As scarce with no pudding thou art to be laced;
But eating and drinking until thou dost nod,
Thou break’st all thy girdles, and break’st forth a god.

--Ben Jonson

callunav on practice.

writing one-eyed jack

(no subject)

Tonight, I have been invited to "lecture" (if you can call it that) to St. Anthony Hall at Yale. The topic will be the folklore and mythology of Las Vegas.

It is open to the public. So if you happen to be in Southern Connecticut and not doing anything, I expect we'll have a lot of fun.

If I run out of Las Vegas material, I'm going to have to punt. But I suspect I can get a half hour out of the Kiels and Stewarts, easy.
lion in winter broken because you're bri

There Will Always Be Assholes.

Don Imus is an asshole.*

And I support his right to be an asshole.

I also exercise my right not to listen to the bigoted turdbrain, so everybody's happy.

The whole point of freedom of speech, if you ask me, is because it makes it easier to spot the assholes on the horizon.

*But I've got to wonder: he's been an asshole for years. Why are we only just noticing now?
writing headbang

jeanie had a chance yeah she really did

Jay and Toby are talking about revision.

My process, not surprisingly, isn't much like either one of theirs. But I also write a lot fewer stories, I suspect. (Toby says he has 60 trunked stories on his HD. I've probably trunked one or two dozen stories, and published about forty. Hang on! I have a bibliography. I can look! Hmm. Okay, I've sold about forty stories.

The thing is, I tend to keep pulling the old stories back out and poking at them again until they eventually sell. I mostly do the same thing with novels. I've never actually trunked an entire novel. (I've trunked several partials.)

I think this is because of two things: One, I abandon stuff all the time. Two, Jay got his voice first, as a writer, and the thing I came in with was a grasp of character and narrative structure. Even on my old awful stuff it's the prose and the line of direction that's terrible, not the characterizations and not the narrative arc.

And even to this day, I don't have a particularly strong and cohesive voice: I'm more of a chameleon. Everything I write is a bit different from everything else.

Thematic unity, that I have. I can't shake the thematic unity.

Even when I want to.

So my first draft generally shows up with the narrative, the structure, and the characters intact. What I then have to do is go through and tidy the crappy prose, unearth the things that I tend to leave buried because they seem self-evident to me, add a bunch of exposition, and I always have to explain the endings more than I did the first time through. Also, I have a problem with getting sufficient boom up front, because my plotting style is like building a house of cards or a domino series. Hours of delicate set up work, and then...


Revising to editorial direction is different. But usually, the stuff that editors ask of me is pretty much what I've detailed above: make the arc more patent, explain the character actions more, add exposition, clarify, limit ambiguity, give more backstory, demonstrate the worldbuilding. Imply less, explain more. 

My editors as a whole leave my characters and plots alone, although they sometimes want me to trim subplot and secondary character kudzu, which I normally do without too much bitching.

paulwitcover caught the New York city Iggy and the Stooges show right after the one stillsostrange and I attended, and did a much more extensive write-up.

ginmar talks some more about her experiences in Iraq, and her former CO comments.