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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take my advice, you'd be better off dead

Progress notes for 8 May 2006:


New Words: 2051
Total Words: (actual wordcount / manuscript) 29,660 / 33500
Pages: 134
Deadline: August 1
Words per day to meet deadline: 828
Reason for stopping: End of scene, and things to do.

Three more scenes, and I will have joined up the new beginning of the book to the old beginning of the book. Yay!

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
29,660 / 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
134 / 400

Stimulants:  tomato and spinach bread broiled with campari tomatoes, fresh basil, feta and mozzarella.
Exercise:  gym with ashacat
Mail: nomail
Today's words Word don't know:  sawtooth, albedo, carabiner, spatulate
Words I'm surprised Word do know: n/a
Mean Things: With any luck, made the reader love somebody I'm about to kill.
Tyop du jour:  It's one of the things the yearn; the guys to get involved.
Darling du jour: I had a few today, but none of them stood out on their own.
Books in progress: Wendy Moore, The Knife Man;
Interesting tidbit of the day: More on writing, and how it is like everything else:

In fact, rigor in the "color theory" literature consists of stating simplistic rules decisively, then refusing to concede that the rules are arbitrary. "Color theory" is attractive not because it is true, but because it replaces complex experience with simple rules.

This is equivalent to the complex experience in my own field of artistic endeavor (and do you know how hard it is to learn to call one's self an artist without meaning it ironically, without feeling like a poseur or a fraud or a pretender to an unearned honor? Oh, we break our children early and well.) where many seek the simple set of metrics that will allow them to create publishable work. Write in third person limited, with a well-defined and clear character arc. Eschew ornateness or ambiguity. Keep the tension high and the action moving.

And of course its never as simple as that.

There are no rules. Only techniques that fail, or do not fail, or succeed.

(I stumbled across this site because I spent fifteen minutes this morning researching subtractive color mixing for one phrase in this silly book. What *did* we do before Google?)

Other writing-related work: returned SH contracts
The glamorous life of the writer: dishes, sweeping, laundry, pay bills, go to the bank.

Poetry grows through the broken places, brother.

--Lucifer Morningstar, The Journeyman Devil

Is it done to quote one's self? Well, I'm doing it just now.

This is inspired by a conversation in comments regarding violence in art, and the old advice to send in a man with a gun. Or, more specifically, very little narrative art can be accomplished without breaking something. It can be a little something--a heart--or a big something--a planet. This is the thing we call conflict, and the vast majority of stories have it. Even in the sort of classic New Yorker story, the slice of life, there are underpinnings, tensions, undercurrents of desire and longing that may be entirely inexpressed, but drive the character. Even enlightenment does not free one from conflict, though it may give the perspective with which to assess conflict harmoniously.

It leads back to the discussions of writer koans. The violence is not just violence. The man with a gun you send in is not just a literal man with a gun; sometimes he's a metaphorical man with a gun. Or, as I like to tell people, when I get stuck I kill somebody. Now I'm not always killing a person: sometimes I'm killing a dream or a relationship or--

The idea is to keep tension running, to keep the reader grappling with the story, to keep him engaged. To keep him pulling with you, rather than pulling away. But tension can be a very quiet thing. And part of keeping him with you is in occasionally giving him some play, a little reward, a cookie for following closely.

Tags: progress notes, undertow

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