December 26th, 2009

writing new amsterdam

and the prison priests are decent. my attorney seems sincere.

I have read and edited that which I have written of The White City. And wonder of wonder, I like it. A lot, actually.

And still I have no idea at all how to end it. I mean, I know who the killer is and stuff. But I don't know how to build the climax and a thematic resolution that will make a satisfying finish to the story. Also, I have to go back and put in some more clues who the killer is. Making things feel inevitable and not arbitrary is a significant portion of the storyteller's craft.

I sense a lot of staring and pacing in my life for the next week or so.

"No really. I am working!"



Pursuant to the spinning, I'm thinking again about the stuff we strive to get right in fantasy. So much of the work set in the past, or alternate pasts, gets the details of life so very wrong. People have no trades, or if they do they are desperate to escape them. And actually, people who work with their hands often like what they do. Making stuff, after all, is quite satisfying.

Some authors do this very well--Connie Willis, Barbara Hambly. People work in their books, and the worlds feel real.

Another thing that always seems to fall out of fantasy written by modern authors is how integrated life was. People did not have work and leisure; everything ran together. You sat and spun while someone told stories, or you sang songs and worked the winch, or talked and shucked peas. And good tradesmen were respected in direct proportion to their indispensibility. A village blacksmith or potter is a hard thing to live without.

Our modern emphasis on book learning, I think, creeps in there and corrupts how we talks about other cultures.
lion in winter dead

and you shall plow and reap and mow

My mom made me a totally awesome pair of pink and purple socks!

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I guess now I get to sit and stare and think about how to fix The White City so it works. Maybe I will spin and listen to NPR. That seems a sitting and staring sort of occupation.

So close to the end. So close. Two ot three days' work, if I can just figure out what the work should be.

Meanwhile, today's teacup is one sent to me by stwish, made by his friends at Earthbound Arts (I also have a mermaid and a faerie queene--ornaments--from there, and both are lovely)  And today's tea is the last of the crepe faire from Stash--the last crepe faire ever, I suspect, as they've discontinued the flavor.

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holmes confidence

well i told her i was lost and she told me all about the pentecost

Just finished and filed my review of Sherlock Holmes for Tor.com (short version: it was awful and I loved it), and before that, I made some candles. See, I used to commit chandlery fairly often but had fallen out of the habit, and yesterday leahbobet mentioned she was thinking of taking it up, which inspired me to break out the wax and crayons.

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I'm still staring meaningfully at The White City, trying to figure out how the damed thing works. It would be nice if I could finish it by year's-end. But it all depends on if the story tells me how it ends.

 I guess tomorrow I start rereading it again.

It's finally raining out there, and the wind is gusting fiercely, but it's 41 degrees, which seems positively balmly.