September 1st, 2008

sf star trek horta/spock

the plot of our life sweats in the dark like a face

2474 words to finish the novella, and then I answered a bunch of interview questions. So many people ask where one gets one's ideas, and there's just no answer to that question. One gets them in dribs and drabs, a bit from a song lyric, another bit from a news story on the radio, a third bit from something in a book that made you angry. And it's not like you remember where the bits came from after the fact.

Especially when it comes to something like the Promethean Age books. I started writing those books in 1987 or thereabouts. That's 21 years ago. I have adult friends whose parents probably had not yet met when I first started building that world.

But anyway, the damned thing is done. Which makes tomorrow a day for administrative trivia--la!--including repackaging a couple of books that seem to have come back from the Great Book Mailing lost and confused, and paying bills, and doing all that first of the month stuff. And not worrying about having to finish this freaking novella draft.

I'm kind of worried that my ending is lame and limps a bunch, but that's okay, because it's just a draft and I can fix it later.

One more damned thing crossed off the list.


for 2008

Finish Bone and Jewel Creatures
Last read-over of Seven for a Secret with attention to quotation marks.
Finish "The Tricks of London" (started)
Finish "Mongoose" with truepenny (started)
Finish Chill (started)
Write S2 Shadow Unit episodes: "Lucky Day" coffeeem (started)); "Wind-Up Boogeyman"; finish "Smoke & Mirrors" (started)

for 2009

Rewrite The Sea thy Mistress
Shadow Unit S3
Write Grail

When they get done:

Write "Smile" (Bone Garden) (started)
Write "Snow Dragons"
Write "The Horrid Glory of its Wings"

  • Current Mood
    hungry hungry
writing gorey earbrass conscious but ver

when their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone, they shall have stars at elbow and foot;

Well, I'm up and dressed. And there's a pre-order page available for Seven for a Secret.

Here's the flap copy:

The sequel to New Amsterdam!

The wampyr has walked the dark streets of the world's great cities for a thousand years. In that time, he has worn out many names--and even more compatriots.

Now, so that one of those companions may die where she once lived, he has come again to the City of London. In 1938, where the ghosts of centuries of war haunt rain-grey streets and the Prussian Chancellor's army of occupation rules with an iron hand.

Here he will meet his own ghosts, the remembrances of loves mortal--and immortal. And here he will face the Chancellor's secret weapon: a human child.

Other stuff to do today:

Pay bills
Get stuff ready to mail
Last read-over of Seven for a Secret with attention to quotation marks.
Start bread
Answer some of this *&%^*&% email
Math
Guitar
Work on "Smoke & Mirrors," assuming I'm not too deep in post-novel(la) ennui already. The post-novella ennui is not as bad as the post-novel ennui, but it's still pretty darned draining. But maybe I can get the team up the stairs to the cop shop and describe the homicide squadroom and so--into the case.

Oh, and tomorrow can be a work day too, except possibly for running in the morning. In fact, other than Wednesday afternoon and evening, this week is remarkably clear. I need to keep it that way, and hope my brain doesn't celebrate finally handing me and ending for B&JC by going on vacation.

Fabulous.


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And summer is back.

Do not want.

Fortunately, I decided that the smart thing to do today was not to go hiking, tempting though that is, but stay home and work. And maybe when I have done my work, I can then read a book or take a nap or something else racy and daring.

And you can still ask me a question over here.

But right now I'm going to shower and get dressed and make tea.

Oh, blessed tea.

Ye gods, I'm tired.

writing goddamned verbs slithytove

break in the sun till the sun breaks down, and death shall have no dominion.

Last night the writerchat was talking about poetry and its density of image, the layering of meaning and contrameaning, the conflict between what a poem may say, on one level, and what it may demonstrate in contravention of what it's saying. It was a good conversation, and it left me thinking about prose.

And specifically, that I want many of the same things from a good novel that I want from a good poem, on a prose level. I want the writer to have been aware of connotation and denotation and cognates when he was writing, and puns. I want him to really think about his words and use them such that the sound of the language tells you something in addition to the language itself. Among and amongst are different words, and which one the writer chooses is important.

There are no synonyms.

At the end of Refining Fire, for example, there's a sentence in which Falkner's coat droops in her hand. That coat is symbolically important, and coffeeem and I went through any number of verbs to find the right one. But wings droop, and ears droop, and spirits droop. So the coat had to droop too, and not dangle or hang or swing or cascade or trail. Well, you know, it could have trailed, maybe. Because banners trail. It also might have sagged. Maybe. But the drooping won out, and it was important.

Likewise, there's a scene in Ink and Steel wherein I used every English word derived from the Latin raptus* that I could manage. (Yes, it's that scene. You know the one.) Rapture, rape, raptor, rapt, rapine--

Why did I do it? Because these associations work not in the forebrain, necessarily, but in the back of your head, the place where you process connotation and emotion and feel things, where your gut emotions live. Because it makes a difference, whether or not the reader notices it. Perhaps especially if the reader does not notice it. Because this is part of the craft and attention to detail that makes good writing.

Now, having written that down, I shall now go do these other things I need to do.  Though I am a slow-moving life form this morning, and not very focused. But at least I have tea and raspberries, and the starter is fed so I can make bread for tomorrow morning.

And of course in no wise can I work without a cat upon my knee.



* raptus, meaning, “seized and taken, kidnapped by force, snatched hold of and then taken hostage, carried off or away.”

spies mfu (sorta) going to hurt ivan & h

i'm twenty-one years old i might make twenty-two

1400 words in 5 hours of work, for a total of 9944 words on "Smoke and Mirrors." Which is probably around half the story, if it runs to standard Shadow Unit length. Funny thing is, I have the beginning written and most of the ending--except the actual climax... but I have the stuff that leads into the climax written, and also the denouement. And I know everything that happens in the climax. I just have to make the words happen. The story is already in my head.

So the middle is what I'm working on now, and mostly I know what happens there too. There's a couple of tiny details I haven't quite got, which are currently indicated with notes to myself that go something like [figure out how the team makes this logical connection].

So I know what happens next and theoretically I could keep writing. But I think that 1400 words is a fine day's work, and I'm hungry, and I think I should stop right now before this becomes onerous, especially since I'm feeling sort of bored and sleepy. Maybe tomorrow I will have more enthusiasm.

Right now I'm going to feed myself and goof off a little and bask--BASK!--in my virtupus productivity for the day.

God, I am so much nicer to live with when I'm working.
phil ochs troubador

send your camel to bed

Well, managed a second sitting tonight, in which I added 790 words of pissing contest to a scene I had already written.  It's a very odd sort of pissing contest--two grown men who care about each other arguing from a place of deep personal trauma and fear and pain, and trying to be humane about it. I suspect it will need a few more passes before it really sings. (Sings, anyway, like a horribly traumatized and shamed canary who has made some Terrible Mistakes.) Anyway, the writing was easy and pleasant and felt good, like stretching into a run that's well within your capabilities. Work, but not hurtful work.

I love writing arguments. They are such a fabulous playground for personalities on parade, and unsuspected suprises. If only somebody would come over here and write the plot for me, I would cheerfully write all the Fraught Character Bits in between.

Alas, you need the plot for the Fraught Character Bits to mean anything. (This is why fanfic is fun; somebody else has already done the heavy lifting, and all I have to write is the payoff. Because the setup is all done.)

Meanwhile, the next scene I need to write is being obsctructionist. It's back to being plot, you see, and needing to advance the narrative instead of just letting the characters strut around and display their trauma like lopsided peacocks.

If it would just give me a POV and an opening sentence I could do something with it... okay, I know the POV. But, alas, still not the opening sentence.

I think at this juncture I choose to take a nap.