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bear by san

March 2017

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bear by san

I walk on guilded splinters. I walk on pins and needles.


The storyteller's intelligence is partly natural, partly trained. It is composed of several qualities, most of which, in normal people, are signs of either immaturity or incivility: wit (a tendency to make irreverent connections); a refusal to believe what all sensible people know is true; mischievousness and childishness (an apparent lack of mental focus and serious life purpose, a fondness for daydreaming and telling pointless lies); a marked tendency toward excessive eating, drinking, chattering and a weird fascination with dirty jokes; a strange mixture of playfulness and embarrassing earnestness; patience like a cat's; a criminal streak of cunning; psychological instability; and finally, an inexplicable and incurable addiction to stories, written or oral, bad or good.

--John Gardner




Unless you are a writer of some hard experience, it is challenging to understand this basic contradiction: the more intense and disturbing the content of a scene, the harder it is to write the damned thing without making it unintentionally funny.

The reader's defense mechanisms really pink up close to the surface when you start hacking limbs off or raping people. And that's not the sort of thing that you want to have provoke snickers.

Orgasms are challenging that way too.

Progress notes for 5 June 2006:

"Orm the Beautiful"

New Words: 347
Total Words: 347
Pages: 2
Deadline: none
Reason for stopping: I should not be working on this short story. I should be working on that book.



"Les Innocents"

(Please note, I have two unfinished New Amsterdam stories already started. I do not need a third one.

This one will tie up the arc, though.)

New Words: 48
Total Words: 48
Pages: 1
Deadline: none
Reason for stopping: I should not be working on this short story. I should be working on that book.



Patience & Fortitude

New Words: 68
Total Words:  7746
Pages: 35
Deadline: none
Reason for stopping: I should not be working on this book. I should be working on that book.

...now he's admitting to his girlfriend that he's been getting sex tips from a lesbian.

I love this character. He is such a giant dork.



Undertow

New Words: 1900 
Total Words: (actual / ms)
58,821 / 67,750
Pages: 271
Deadline: August 1
Words per day to meet deadline: 566
Reason for stopping: end of scene. MUST SLEEP.



Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
58,821 / 100,000
(58.8%)


Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
271 / 400
(67.8%)


Two thirds of a book!

OMG, we really are in the homestretch now.


Stimulants:  assam
Exercise:  Gym with ashacat, 90 minutes: weights, elliptical, rowing
Mail: I've been Thogged! What's really crushing to my poor underdeveloped ego is that I know there are far worse sentences in that book.

I find them every time I do a reading.

This is, alas, the reason why my draft manuscripts are spotted with highlighted text that when hovered, reveals comments such as "This is the worst paragraph in the history of paragraphs. Fix it."

It doesn't help.

Also, SF Signal feels metz-a-metz about Worldwired. 

Today's words Word don't know: doozy
Mean Things: Jean just saw the black helicopters
Books in progress: Martin Cruz Smith, Stallion Gate; Jay Lake, The Trial of Flowers
Other writing-related work: slushed, critted a chapter
Interesting tidbits: The Bride of Absolute Write: the reconstruction is under way.
The glamour!:Cut a bit of protein and some keratin off my left index finger while chopping lemon balm. Fortunately, I was using a just-honed Henckels knife, so it doesn't hurt a bit, but it was pretty gruesome for a few moments there.

Comments

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Yes, I noticed, thank you.
I've been Thogged!

You have, but it's a compliment. 'Specially as we-all read that and think "Ah, but what you're missing here, Dave, is that Bear wrote that with irony..."
It is a reference to the painting, I think.

Some of us work towards being Thogged.
I've been Thogged! What's really crushing to my poor underdeveloped ego is that I know there are far worse sentences in that book.

Someone looking at a particular necklace once said, not knowing I would hear it, "I think that's the ugliest necklace she's ever made." My response was an immediate, "Hey, that's not true -- I've made lots uglier things than that!" (I was amused, though. May it be so for you as well.)


"Orm the Beautiful"

*dances wildly about*

Ahem. Right. Supposed to be working on that book.
*g* Well, I *did* say it was mugging me.

I wore The Follow Me Light to the office yesterday, by the way, and got mugged by about half the office staff. "What *is* that?" "Where did you *get* it?"

...it looks very well with a little black dress.
Orgasms are challenging that way too.

Oh, how true is this? Biological descriptions are just eewww (I have shot my man and begot my man, as Kipling says; in this context, it means I've written my porn novel - just the one - and it gets so tiresome, seeking more and more ways of describing what is after all just the friction of mucous membranes), and metaphors tend towards the risible. We even have an award for it. What's a poor writer to do...?
Accept that Jean Auel has used up the available world supply of orgasms and move on to more ecologically sound alternatives?
Reluctantly, perhaps - but then the critics say you ducked the hard stuff. And they're right, but that won't save them. Henckels are good knives...
Hee.

Throw in a nice messy torture to appease them.
Not just on paper, neither. Alas.
"This is the worst paragraph in the history of paragraphs. Fix it."

I'm starting to see that in my own work. This means that there is hope for us both. GRIN.
I love that Gardner quote.
Hey, James Blish's is much worse.

Thog sometimes just makes me scratch my head. I mean, there are mistakes that are unmistakeably mistakes, and then there are minor oddities that, in context, in a particular voice, might be fine, but that look weird in isolation. There's nothing technically amiss with that sentence if one is not determined to be as literal as possible. I suppose you could have done the same thing without triggering Thog, but I'm not sure. Thog is very easily irritated.

P.
Yeah, I agree. *g* I feel sort of slighted! I mean, they could have picked a real howler.

I know there are some in that book. *g* It's why I don't reread my own stuff.

Too much wincing.
...the more intense and disturbing the content of a scene, the harder it is to write the damned thing without making it unintentionally funny.

I think Call of Cthulhu players understand this too.