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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

We are aging soldiers in an ancient war

Apparently I have lost whatever ability I ever had to inject atmosphere into a work of fiction. Also, the narrator of this novel wants to express everything in terms of cliches, which means I get to write a sentence, swear at it, and then go back and take out all the cliches. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I wonder what my stubborn backbrain is working on so hard that it's entirely abandoned everything I thought I had managed to internalize about mood, setting, and sentence-level craft? (This is pretty typical, by the way: I dunno about other writers, but for me, when my brain starts chewing away at some new problem of craft, I often realize that I have come to suck oh, so very much at things I was doing without thinking about five minutes ago. And what is up with that? I can drive a stickshift; I can walk and chew gum. Surely I can exposit and build atmosphere simultaneously?)

On the upside, the prose is pretty clean, and I think I'm actually managing to handle these huge, wonking lumps of exposition without choking on them. Now if only this thing would stop behaving like a fantasy of manners and develop some goddamned whallop....

Right. It's too late to knock this off as a bad job and become a pharmacist, isn't it?


Mmmmm... Emmylou. Your title reminded me that I haven't heard "The Pearl" in far too long. I'm correcting that now.
*g* Red Dirt Girl is my theme music for this book. Once I had dragons and a character named Michelangelo, I knew I was trapped.

Fabulous album, isn't it?
Yup. I'm more partial to Wrecking Ball, but that's akin to saying you like Revolver more than Sgt. Peppers' -- they're both excellent.
I can see I need to order Wrecking Ball, as I don't have that one...

Argh! Too much music!

*dies under an avalanche of CDs*
Oh, that's it, woman. Totally get me obsessing about my inadequacies in sentence-level craft, will ya?
...the first step is admitting you have a problem...

It's to the point where I'm looking at perfectly ordinary figures of speech and wondering if they're trite. Maybe I'm just hypersensitive to it all of a sudden; that happens, too.
It's a deal. Here; you take out all the verbal tics in this chapter, and I will draft you some gracious transitions--
Hey, the cliches will go away again, Bear, and the atmosphere will return. We all have those yucky phases.

Just a thought -- could this project perhaps not be ready to write itself? I tend to think my writing is worst when I'm trying to force something that hasn't quite come together yet in my mind.
Well, the damned thing won't leave me alone, so it had *better* be ready to write.

*kicks spies*

Actually, I think the problem is that I'm trying to undermine the conventions of three subgenres at once, which means I need to inclue or exposit everything, and I'm working so hard to get this huge steaming pile of exposition into the text without actually completely destroying the narrative flow, that "pretty" is going to have to wait for a second pass.

Or, I may be demanding the book do too much at once, and it may need to start in this sort of mannered mood and then go sideways, boom, underwater, drown, seaweed in its hair. "Full fathom five thy father lies--"

And all like that.
Starting mannered and then sideslipping like a biplane sounds like it has potential, from what you've been saying about it.

Also, the narrator of this novel wants to express everything in terms of cliches, which means I get to write a sentence, swear at it, and then go back and take out all the cliches.

Welcome to my world.
Also, I thought it was truck driver you became when you quit writing.

I've actually considered it. Think of all the time you'd have to plot your next book!

Oh, wait.