it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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[21:24] katallen: you write the book you've got - only you don't
[21:25] matociquala: Oh, elaborate on that a little.
[21:27] katallen: it's part of the advice neh
[21:28] katallen: we always say write the book - make it as long as it needs be, do it the way it wants, the characters are themselves
[21:28] katallen: we try and write the book the way the book is
[21:29] katallen: only that's not the truth about books
[21:29] katallen: it's the non-paralising version
[21:30] katallen: first off it changes so other people will understand... be caught up etc
[21:31] katallen: and that becomes part of the writer skillz thing - it kind of eases in
[21:32] katallen: and all's well and good
[21:32] katallen: you write the book you've got but make it readable
[21:32] katallen: then you get to selling the book
[21:32] matociquala: I like to think that its more a process of exhumation.
[21:33] matociquala: The book is under there, and you have to learn the skills to get it out.
[21:33] matociquala: I don't see trimming a novel as an abrogation of artistic integrity, really.
[21:33] matociquala: But an opportunity to make it better.
[21:33] katallen: I don't think I'm meaning anything deep about artistic integrity
[21:33] matociquala: Now, if it's cut into incomprehensibility that's different *g*
[21:34] katallen: not sure about whether there is total artistic integrity
[21:35] katallen: I want to sell a book and have it published and read by more people than would read if I self-published
[21:35] matociquala: I think artistry is communication....
[21:36] katallen: ::nods::
[21:36] matociquala: There are things I would consider abrogations of my artistic integrity.
[21:36] matociquala: You know.
[21:36] matociquala: But, and I cross my fingers, a long fiction editor has never done those things to me.
[21:36] katallen: ::nods:: but those aren't the same things exactly
[21:37] katallen: or are far enough down the spectrum that it's difficult to see a point to objecting
[21:38] matociquala: Yeah
[21:38] katallen: I mean if an editor says - you need this to be under X words
[21:38] katallen: either you cut or not
[21:39] katallen: and if a scene or two or a subplot goes...
[21:40] katallen: it's what is
[21:41] katallen: I dunno, it's just lately I keep seeing sentences as endlessly malleable
[21:41] katallen: it mildly drives me nuts...
[21:42] katallen: I have more trouble with the malleability of books
[21:43] katallen: but after I finished Middlemost I was looking at it and thinking that what's fixed is just one possible variation
[21:43] katallen: like the whole multiple alternate universes thing
[21:45] katallen: given how much trouble the endlessly malleable sentence gives me, this may not be wise thoughts
[21:45] matociquala: Kat, yeah, that's the thing.
[21:45] matociquala: This whole being edited thing has taught me there are infinite books.
[21:45] matociquala: And some are better than others.
[21:45] matociquala: But you find a book you like and try to get that one.
[21:46] katallen: and basically it's trying to nail down one expression
[21:46] matociquala: Whiskey & Water's not a DIFFERENT book because of the scenes I cut.
[21:46] matociquala: And yet, it is.
[21:46] katallen: ::nods::
[21:47] katallen: there's always another version of a book
[21:48] matociquala: But the idea is not to break the story, I think.
[21:48] matociquala: The story's not the words on the page.
[21:48] katallen: ::nods::
[21:48] matociquala: And even when the words are beautiful, they're there to do a job.
[21:48] katallen: I keep calling EO the same book as when I first thought of it
[21:49] katallen: but it's nothing like it
[21:49] matociquala: Yeah.
[21:49] katallen: the same way Blood and Iron both is and isn't at all like Shadowhand
[21:49] matociquala: Well, my original idea for the book that became B&I was three books.
[21:49] matociquala: Shadowhand, a book about Keith and the wolves, and a book about the Magi.
[21:50] matociquala: And it turns out they're all one book.
[21:50] matociquala: Because I didn't understand when I was conceptualizing how much STUFF a novel needs.
[21:50] katallen: ::nods::
[21:50] matociquala: And W&W was two books--
[21:50] matociquala: one about Kelpie and one about Matthew
[21:51] katallen: massive great changes in some ways
[21:51] matociquala: But it's still the same story.
[21:51] matociquala: And it's better this way.
[21:51] katallen: ::nods::
[21:52] matociquala: It sort of illuminates that old saw about books never being finished, just abandoned.
[21:52] jmeadows: oh that sounds sad
[21:53] matociquala: I think it's kind of beautiful.
[21:53] matociquala: They're like a snapshot of a story.
[21:53] matociquala: And the stories themselves are alive.
[21:53] jmeadows: it makes me feel guilty about leaving them. *blink*
[21:53] katallen: I have more trouble reworking a book once it hits paper than the sentences in a book
[21:53] matociquala: They keep changing.
[21:53] katallen: which is weirdness
[21:53] matociquala: That's practice, though, Kat, I think.
[21:53] katallen: ::nods::
[21:54] matociquala: because I couldn't have gutted B&I the way I did until I had to learn to do it.
[21:54] matociquala: I mean just rip the corpse apart and Frankenstein it together
[21:54] matociquala: And it about killed me, remember?
[21:54] katallen: ::nods::
[21:54] matociquala: And now I'm like, oh, sure, hand me the table saw.
[21:55] katallen: I think fiddling disturbs me because like sentences I might just lose all track of what I'm doing
[21:55] matociquala: Or like that conversation we had about the revisions to EO you were talking about, and you were like "It's huge!" and I'm like "It's a couple of scenes and some nitty gritty sentency work that will be boring and dull."
[21:55] katallen: I'm not good at judging *better*
[21:56] matociquala: Well, it's not really about better.
[21:56] matociquala: It's like...
[21:56] matociquala: okay, think of a song.
[21:56] matociquala: It's a different arrangement.
[21:56] matociquala: Maybe different orchestration.
[21:56] matociquala: Same song.
[21:57] katallen: you know I noticed this with changing some end bits on EO... the new Chahu scene
[21:58] katallen: I work at it, and then at some point I just... have no idea anymore what I'm meant to achieve
[21:59] katallen: it ceases to have meaning
[21:59] matociquala: Heh.
[21:59] matociquala: Yeah.
[21:59] matociquala: I loose the balance.
[21:59] matociquala: The final versions?
[21:59] katallen: at which point I pitch a total fit and panic
[21:59] matociquala: I have to trust my editor, because I can't feel the shape of the book in my head any more.
[22:00] matociquala: So I just shut my eyes and do what they tell me, except when I think they're on crack.
[22:00] katallen: ::nods::
[22:01] katallen: I can really see why no one explains this to newbies
[22:01] matociquala: Well, they do.
[22:01] matociquala: And we panic.
[22:01] matociquala: *g*
[22:01] katallen: heh
[22:02] matociquala: And babble on about our artistic vision and how the book is sacrosanct.
[22:02] katallen: you know, the biggest problem I have with changing things?
[22:02] matociquala: ?
[22:03] katallen: I mostly have things lined up just right so the ghastly stupid stuff and plot holes don't show
[22:03] stillsostrange: heh
[22:03] jmeadows: *grins*
[22:03] stillsostrange: yeah
[22:03] stillsostrange: I get that too
[22:03] jmeadows: me too
[22:03] stillsostrange: change one thing and a whole limb falls off
[22:03] jmeadows: have to juggle everything else and pray it still holds
[22:04] matociquala: Hee.
[22:04] katallen: like now... want this character to pay attention to the girl... gosh, how does he miss seeing what everyone else sees?
[22:04] katallen: ::facepalm::
[22:04] jmeadows: *pats*
[22:05] matociquala: You know, I can't speak to that bit.
[22:05] matociquala: Generally I find that when I go back and change things it's to either cut off or support the limbs that were creaky first time.
[22:05] katallen: ::grins:: ?
[22:05] matociquala: Different process.
[22:06] katallen: maybe just different way of looking at it
[22:06] matociquala: Which sometimes sucks, like unpersoning people through half a book because you retroactively realize they were dead weight and kill them off halfway through.
[22:06] matociquala: *coughs delicately*
[22:06] katallen: because yes, if it needs changing then it didn't work out so well
[22:06] stillsostrange: heh
[22:07] stillsostrange: I hate unpersoning
[22:07] stillsostrange: they always cry and make big eyes at me
[22:07] matociquala: Amanda, do you mind if I blog this?
[22:07] katallen: I don't think I've ever done an unpersoning
[22:07] matociquala: (I already asked Kat and Jodi. *g*)
[22:07] stillsostrange: sure
[22:07] katallen: probably because I tend to be short of persons ::grins::
[22:08] matociquala: Yeah. I still feel bad about unpersoning the Seelie court in B&I
[22:08] matociquala: Back when it was Shadowhand. *g*
[22:08] jmeadows: unless you count combining two characters, I don't think I have either, Kat
[22:08] stillsostrange: heh
[22:08] stillsostrange: I suspect I need to unperson zombieRae next pass
[22:08] stillsostrange: she's already giving me the sad eyes
[22:08] katallen: when I started EO the Cho were pretty much interchangeable
[22:09] jmeadows: as long as J-t-e-g is never unpersoned. *eyes Amanda*
[22:09] stillsostrange: heh
[22:09] katallen: I kind of had to sit some of them down and ask them what they wanted to be when they grew up
[22:09] jmeadows: hee
[22:09] katallen: then they just became the usual bastard secondary characters
[22:09] matociquala: zombieRae may need her own story
[22:09] matociquala: Or possibly a bigger role.
[22:09] matociquala: She's thematic.
[22:10] stillsostrange: yeah
[22:10] stillsostrange: she kind of is

Fair warning, there's a lot of stuff about all our once and future WiPs in there, as it's a crit group discussion--but I thought it also might be useful to somebody.
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