December 29th, 2007

writing goddamned verbs slithytove

and even though it all went wrong, i'll stand before the lord of song

More revising, or, it really is all about the goddamned verbs, and the nouns also. Specific and unexpected is better than general and cliche:

First version:

Three strong men could not have lifted it, but you handled the weight with ease. 

Final version:

Three strong men could not have lifted it, but you bore the inconvenience with disdain.

A useful trick is to look for words with implications. Inconvenience here is better than weight because weight implies heaviness. Inconvenience implies insignificance.
shotgun sf torchwood cap'n jack

i wish i were special. so very special.

Tyop: maidenly green like the first hesitant uncurling feathery bugs of April.

485 words of "Your Collar," the !Victorian minotaur story, last night, which made me happy. I'm enjoying this little story a lot. I think it's in the same world as "Orm the Beautiful," but set about a hundred years earlier.

It has the same kind of voice. Which is appropriate, I guess, because it's also an elisem-inspired piece. I've been writing it while staring at "The Oracle In Springtime," and that seems to be working out.

via hominysnark, so how does subliminal advertising work, anyway?

The subconscious is a fascinating thing.

Some of writing well, for me, is getting conscious access to that process. Because one thing that happens is that when you become aware of the cliches and patterns of narrative, you can manipulate them. You can use the expectations to your advantage, either by playing to them or undermining.

It's how archetype works, and zeitgeist, and all those varied things. And it's also why taking a shower or going for a walk or engaging in repetitive housework can unlock the creative process.

Also, that's how writers can "just know" how the story goes. Because there's a whole lot of brain in there that the "I" doesn't have conscious access to--but it's down there shooting out smoke signals and making pictures and telling you things you can't get into words, because words are (mostly) a tool of the left-brain.

Some reviews!

guaroth rather liked A Companion to Wolves.

We got the gay all over drelmo's companion animal fantasy, however.

vatine, who, um, appears to read a lot, liked Hammered:

Persephone Reads votes yes on New Amsterdam:

Whatta Fiasco votes yes on Whiskey & Water:

And ASIF! Podcast reviews New Amsterdam at length, with discussion and spoilers. I found this super charming:
spies mfu goodliest outside napoleon

this thumping in our chest said there is no there is no there is no rest

More horrible teases for the secrit projekt! (a preliminary version by stillsostrange.)

Here's the two completed ones again, in case you missed them the first time:



Could I be more excited about this stuff? I THINK NOT.

Just a couple of notes: fantasy reader received wisdom/convention that's just plain wrong?

Yes, women can work around and ride stallions. Really. I've done it.
Yes, you can pivot on your heel rather than on the ball of your foot. If you are wearing stacked-heel boots, it's actually pretty easy to do so.

Interesting discussion of what exactly choosing the right word means, and how I go about it, here. (in comments.)

So far, I have 1500 words of Bone & Jewel Creatures tonight, and a little bit on the minotaur story. My plan is to stay up late and work on the novella, and see how much I can get done.

But first, I am making popcorn,. So you get progress notes.

Tyop: Of curse not.
Mean things: Zombie apocalypse. Jackals.

I heard from someone you're still pretty
And then
They went on to say
That the pearly gates
Had some eloquent graffiti
Like 'We'll meet again'
And 'Fuck the man'
And 'Tell my mother not to worry'

--Iron & Wine - "The Trapeze Swinger"