January 6th, 2010

writing softcore nerdporn _ heres_luck

won't make trouble. don't need no fuss. but i'm wounded, old, and i'm treacherous.

A funny thing happened on the way to the--

no, wait, that's not how the story goes.

At some point in the past couple of years, I've lost control of my stories. I mean, not--not like I had no control over them when I started writing, and just did things in any way I could because I didn't have the toolkit to choose how I was going to try to accomplish any given task. It was all brute force and ignorance, and not a lot of technique.

No, I still remember how to write. I still have all the tools in my toolkit, and I know how to use them. It's not the writing I've lost control of.

It's the stories. They've gotten... well, all the tidy has come out of them, and some of the calculation, and some of the rigid adherence to structure. They feel kind of wobbly and loose and ambiguous in my head. It's been scaring me, because I've been getting this sense that what I'm writing these days is not just not under control, but not controllable at all. Like there's bottom down there I can't see.

But based on the reactions I'm getting to them, that's working out okay somehow.

See, I used to know what the structures did, what they were there for, what work every piece did and how it affected the balance of the whole. I was a watchmaker. I had figured out how to build these machines and I could speed them up or slow them down. They didn't control time, but they were excellent devices for measuring it, quantifying it, making it observable and maybe even comprehensible.

And then suddenly I couldn't do that anymore, couldn't make those approximations that make something incredibly complex and contradictory more easily apprehensible.

I was panicky about it. I felt like they were all wrong. They were broken; they weren't working.

And then I started looking at some of the stuff other people are saying about my newer stories--"The Horrid Glory of Its Wings," "Sonny Liston takes the Fall," etc--and I realized something. They were working. They were working in ways I couldn't explain or quantify or set out on the dust cloth on the desk and move around with tweezers. They were working in messing, organic ways. These were not machines: these were organisms.

You don't own an organism. You negotiate with it.

These days the damned things are less like fine-geared pocketwatches and more like TARDISes--full of mysterious clankings and familiar spirits. Quite possibly possessed, a little bit random and out of control, never quite doing what I expect when I expect it. But actually in tune with something nexpressible about the nature of time, rather than just measuring each second ticking past.

And bigger on the inside than on the outside.

They seem to have taken on a life of their own.

That's really nifty.

I guess I have to start thinking of them as partners rather than tools now. That should be interesting.
spies mfu geekier than the average spy

stuff it up the hole in your culture

Aliete de Bodard (aliettedb), Campbell Award nominee and all-around hoopy frood, is doing a really interesting series of historical posts about the setting of her new fantasy series, Obsidian and Blood. (I have read the first book, Servant of the Underworld, and it was good. Bloody, but good.)

For your delectation:

1) The Valley of Mexico

2) Tenochtitlan

3) The Sacred Precinct

She has, to all appearances, done her research. ;-)

I have eaten cottage cheese (how come I never remember how much I like cottage cheese until I buy it because it's on sale?) and am about to make tea. Then I will go watch TV and think about Grail (I am confident in my deadline, even though it's only three months off. This worries me a little. Can I possibly be becoming innured to the damned things?) and brush the dog for a while, before resuming my Editorial Functions for truepenny.

Poor dog, he doesn't know about this yet.

Climbing tonight. And guacamole tacos for lunch, about which I am already ridiculously excited. I really like guacamole tacos.
  • Current Music
    Leonard Cohen - The Future
writing shadow unit reyes alpha

lord i need forgiveness for the methods i use

This is such a Stephen Reyes song.

I'm serenaded by a chorus of a thousand burning cigarettes
You've been taking chances, mama
While I've been placing bets
So tell it to the ashes, they know we served
It may be good for the soul but it's hard on the nerves

The very thing that drives you, can drive you insane
Got a head full of thought crimes and a number with no name
Got an eleventh hour Jesus and a mouth full of blame
A casket lined with silver dollars and a number with no name

There's nowhere to run
I've got no one to tell
My face has become a mask and I'm not wearing it well
For five days straight
I've been breathing fire
Don't have room on my body
For another scar

The very thing that drives you, can drive you insane
Got a head full of thought crimes and a number with no name
Got an eleventh hour Jesus and a mouth full of blame
A casket lined with silver dollars and a number with no name
writing gorey earbrass unspeakable horro

the order of the counting shall be... aieee!

2010, and why I will not be attending many conventions this year. My deadline dance:

"The Unicorn Evils" -- immediately, more or less

The White City March 15

Grail: April 15
"Spell 81a": April 15

"Uniform": June 15

A Reckoning of Men: July 1
untitled noir objective stuntwriting thingy: July 1
untitled vampire thingy: July 1

"Ligature": July 15

The Steles of the Sky: November 2

The White City chapbook: late fall

No fixed deadline:

space opera thingy
"The Romance"
Karen Memory
Singularity Rent novel