I can tell there's a good story in this story somewhere, struggling to get out, but I cannot seem to find the bones of it. I may need an intervention. Or the ghost of James Tiptree, Jr., to come do a quick line-edit for me.
This is one of the Hard Things about being a writer. See, I've been over this story a dozen times now, and every time it's gotten closer to being the thing that I feel like it should be. But it never quite clicks in on that really deep level.
And I've picked a hell of a story to do it in. Whatever it is that I'm doing. Because somewhere in the accessible subtext of this thing, I need to inclue enough information about dominant/submissive serial killer partnership and Persian childbirth vampires that the casual reader will understand what's going on here. Without actually coming out and saying, "hey look, it's a dominant/submissive serial killer relationship, and here's what you need to know about Persian childbirth vampires."
And I need to figure out how to make the theme feel like a kick in the chest rather than a little banner with a legend fluttering off the port rail.
Meanwhile, back in the Iskryne, I have realized that if I never write another relationship story, I will be a happy person. I'm tired of relationships, and after Carnival and The Stratford Man I am more tired of gay male relationships than any other kind. I think I have said all I have to say on the topic, and need to move on to something else.
Like serial killer partnerships. Friendships, friendships are still fine.
Oh and of course, The Steles of the Sky? All about goddamned relationships.
At least the only relationships in "Confessor" (yes, the furry animal story grew a title last night) are professional or sibling. Thank God.
Sentence-level craft is really on my mind again. Specifically, the level of control it takes to imply things, to express them, and to do both things plainly.
Some of this is the tiny tiny particular sentence-level work it took to get an unreliable-narrator, cryptobigot villain in a story that I recently did some beta work on to come across as what sie is, without making it blatant. (Not my story, but boy did I do a lot of thinking about the tiny nuances of one word versus another, in editorial mode.)
Some of it is what I'm trying to do on "Needles," and what I have likewise been trying to do on "Dolly" and "The Romance." Because one thing I am working very hard on right now is making my work more accessible without pulling the layers out of it. Which means actually getting more layers into it, and doing it in the same number of words.
It's frustrating and it's fascinating and it's incredibly hard work, and it requires diamond-cutter attention to detail. I'm used to bringing that to my prosody and the shades of meaning within narrative passages, but now I'm having to learn to layer that over with words that reveal as much as possible while still supporting layered (or sometimes alternate) readings.
It's a level of meticulousness and it's hard to talk about in specific terms, somehow. Because mostly it's just about thinking really hard about what the words suggest, and how they pull in the same direction, and either do or don't contradict one another.