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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writing and rewriting

Last night we raced. My writing group, I mean, or a portion thereof: specifically, stillsostrange, leahbobet, cpolk, and me. The idea is that one sets a wordcount goal and tries to get there as fast as possible. But, yanno, everybody wins, because everybody gets a couple or four pages of writing done.

It can be helpful, because it does force me to get words on the page without worrying too much about whether they're the right words. As I've learned more about craft, and in specific come to understand the way my brain works, I have realized that I do not think, or generate narrative, in anything like a linear fashion. Which means that I have to translate my thought process for the less random/intuitive in the crowd. I posted an animated .gif a while back showing how the editorial process worked on some old text.

Anyway, what comes out when I write that way is true zeroth draft. And then I spend just as much time revising it as I would have spent writing it if I wrote it slowly and painstakingly the first time. But it's on the page, and sometimes that's what matters.

In his first weeks in Boston, by virtue of being able to claim a mutual acquaintance in [city], Sebastien had gathered an invitation to a certain well-known salon at the home of [name], which he now frequented. The lady was a daylight sleeper, though quite mortal, and her guests were accustomed to society hours. Lamps still burned in all the windows when he arrived, though it was well after midnight.

He tapped upon the door and was instantly admitted, though he had not taken the precaution of sending ahead a card. The butler knew him, and the party was still swinging. Sebastien surrendered hat, gloves, coat, and walking stick, and suffered himself to be led to the parlor.

Miss [name] was still rather European in her habits. French-speaking Swiss, she had only recently and under duress dropped the style of mademoiselle. [Phoebe introduced] Although she was but recently acquainted with Sebastien, she was well aware of his nature and history... and quite grateful for his attentions. She was growing older, and had left her own patron behind in Nice, crumbled by the sun.

She had been a courtesan in more than one sense, in the old days, and her salon was still populated by the demimonde. When he entered, there were three others already in attendance besides the lady herself: the actor, [name]; [name] an author even more scandalous than Mrs. Smith for all he was a man; and a woman in a domino mask, who they all did the courtesy of pretending to be incognito, though everyone in the room knew her identity. Even if he hadn’t been able to recognize her scent, Sebastien would have known her. She was indubitably famous.

Abigail Irene would have been quite shocked at him, he thought, with a trace of satisfaction. Although frankly, given her own checkered history, it would have to have been an act.

Sebastien waited as he was introduced--as Mr. John Nast--shook or bowed over hands as necessary, and took a seat close by the fire where it could lend some warmth to his winter-clammy flesh. He permitted himself to be poured a brandy that he had no intention of drinking, and bowed his head over the glass with a show of enjoying the fumes. Alas, even that was lost to him; they stung his eyes and burned his sinuses, and he blinked as water filled his eyes. "Please," he said, "don’t let me interrupt the conversation.

The woman in the domino sipped tea. Sebastien rather thought it might be fortified. "The conversation," she said, delicately, flicking her nails against the eggshell gold-painted-china rim of her cup, "hinges on matters of scandal."
The author chuckled. "Mr [name] advanced the suggestion that the architect of last night's murder might be the wampyr escaped from New Amsterdam. We were discussing the possibility--"

"There's no vampire in New Amsterdam," the hostess said, with a sniff. "There isn't a single vampire in America. How would one manage the Atlantic?"

"He could have himself shipped. Besides, they are seeking one--"

"They are?"

"The Duke's men," the author supplied, while Sebastien caught the hostess's eye and let her read inquiry in his expression. She nodded, ever so slightly, and he saw her blush behind her powder. Though he was dead, he imagined his pulse raced like a mortal man's. The body had its own ways of telegraphing excitement to the heart and mind, and these sensations did not change simply because the heart beat no longer. "I heard that the wampyr" --with painfully correct overpronunciation-- "subverted a crown officer, and she's resigned in disgrace."

"Is that so?" Sebastien made a show of boredom. Just an example of how tales grew in the telling: Abby Irene would as soon pluck out her eyes, he estimated, as resign her commission. "What do you know of vampires?"

"Obviously, far less than Mister [name]. I can't begin to aspire to his levels of erudition." Sebastien and the hostess shared an irony-soaked smile. Soon, she would feign tiredness, and escort them all to the door. Moments after, Sebastien would be re-admitted by the servants' entrance, and he and the lady would see to each other's needs.

An amicable arrangement.

Revolting, innit?


Tags: new amsterdam, writing craft wank

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