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Things and Stuff and Dren

I did a modest 1,076 words on Chapter Four of Daughter of Hounds yesterday. The need to do research regarding Providence that should have been done months ago wasted time that might have been spent actually writing. Also, I determined that the scene I wrote on Monday, the opening scene for the chapter needs more work — the dialogue needs polishing and the whole thing should be expanded by about a thousand words. But first I have to finish the scene I began yesterday. I was very slow getting started. First I wrote:

The night before, Saurday night, after Soldier had driven Saben White to see the doctor on Federal Hill, the greasy old croaker who sewed them up whenever something went wrong, after she’d left Saben at her apartment across the Seekonk in East Providence, after those things that were her responsibility, she’d had dinner...

...which I hated, so I erased it and wrote:

The night before, Saturday night, Soldier sat at home, waiting for Odd Willie to call and tell her that he’d taken care of the priest’s body and everything was right as rain...

...which wasn't any good, either, so I wrote:

"Your responsibility," the Bailiff had told her, no uncertain terms there, so after Rocky Point, Soldier drove Saben White to see the greasy old croaker over on Federal Hill who sewed them up and set broken bones and extracted bullets whenever something went wrong.

...which, it turned out, was the bit I'd been looking for, and the chapter progressed.

Later, Spooky and I took a walk in Candler Park, and I found a golf ball. Later still, and thanks to "the dethbird," I read the unexpurgated text of Clark Ashton Smith's "The Dweller in the Gulf," which is online if you'd like to take a look. This is the text from the Necronomicon Press edition. Previously, I'd only encountered the story in the bastardized version that appeared in some Arkham House collection or another. I am not a huge fan of CAS. He has his moments, but they are few. Take "Dweller in the Gulf," for example. There are far too many atrocious phrases like "mephitical effluvia" and far too few genuinely powerful sentences like "There was no light anywhere—and not even the recollection of light." Generally, I think his prose would have greatly benefited from much more attention to characterization (it's almost entirely absent in this story) and a little less forceful hand when it comes to letting us know about the dark and creepy stuff, in that he all to often tells instead of showing. And without characterization, all the atmosphere in the world is only window-dressing. I do admire what CAS was trying to do, in his efforts to avoid quasi-scientific exposition and explanation, and his desire at drawing us into the Unknown, but I find that the actual writing leaves far too much to be desired.

I have a meeting with Marvel at 3 p.m. this afternoon. Hopefully, soon I can release some details about this project.

Okay. Must. Go. Write.

Comments

( 1 comment — Have your say! )
sovay
Apr. 6th, 2005 06:25 pm (UTC)
I don't know if the feedback matters so much as what enables the story and feels right to you, but I do like the third variation best of all: it leaves me wanting to know what happened at Rocky Point, and what became of Soldier and Saben White on Federal Hill, and I don't even know who they are yet. Thank you for this slice of how you write.
( 1 comment — Have your say! )