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Bitter cold, with clouds moving in, clouds and possibly heavy snow. Currently, it's 25˚F, with a windchill of 13˚F. I'm sipping a Red Bull, though any reasonable person would be having coffee. But coffee fucks up my stomach.

I have an idea for a new Dancy story, and that's what I'm going to try to begin today, for Sirenia Digest #131. Yesterday, I sold a reprint of "The Maltese Unicorn" to an anthology of unicorn stories. Surprisingly, I've written two unicorn stories – "The Maltese Unicorn" (Supernatural Noir, 2011) and "The Peril of Liberated Objects, or the Voyeur's Seduction" (Sirenia Digest #41, April 2009). Well, it surprises me, anyway.

Yesterday was Shirley Jackson's 100th birthday.

I want to quote here from my November 4th, 2007 LiveJournal entry (which, in turns, quotes two other entries):

"The day sort of spiraled away from me afterwards, because I have reached that point where the next novel must be written, regardless, and every day when it does not begin is a day added to the weight and struggle of finishing it by my deadline. This morning, I went back through the blog (something I do not often allow myself to do anymore) looking for the entries immediately before or at the beginning of the last two novels — Daughter of Hounds and Murder of Angels. And I have these two quotes, the first from October 9, 2004:

Yesterday, I spent three hours 'writing' and wrote only 252 words, crawling through what might be page four of Daughter of Hounds. This book just isn't beginning. There's something I don't know, or many, many things I don't know, that are preventing me from moving forward. In a lot of ways, beginnings can be the worst part of writing. Beginnings are where we begin to eliminate possibilities. Every page I write, I eliminate that much possibility. Anyway, I'm so disgusted with this that I'm not touching it again until Monday. Maybe two days just trying to think about the book will help me figure something out. And then I can kill possibility with more efficiency.

And I have this quote from December 27, 2002, when I was trying to begin Murder of Angels:

To stand, again, at the starting point, that steep drop off the edge down to nothing at all, nothing to catch me or break the fall until I make it. The beginning of the quest for The End. One of the most difficult things that I've had to reconcile myself to, as an author, is the way these quests have to continue, one after another, forever, until I die, because that's what writers do. There is no, 'And then, having survived the trials of the journey, our hero arrives at last at the fabled The End and there she lives happily ever after.' Because there is always another quest waiting. For all my forever. If I look at it that way, though, it can crush me. I have to try to keep my eyes on the next book, not the necessity of all the books that are waiting in my future. Just the next book. That's more than enough. And now it's time to make it start happening, no more excuses, no more back-patting, no more 'yeah, but, really, there's been so much crap to deal with,' nothing but getting down to the business of writing, taking the first step, falling and having faith I remember how to write the Very Soft Place at the bottom. That is what writers do. The rest of it, the rest of it is just the space in between."

I was trying to begin Joey LaFaye, the novel I finally gave up on (after about six or seven months) and wrote The Red Tree, instead. Its relevance to my current situation should be obvious.

Aunt Beast


( 4 comments — Have your say! )
Dec. 15th, 2016 04:01 pm (UTC)
I remember your mentioning here what you had once started that eventually led to writing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir as well. I would not presume to try to understand or paraphrase another human's process, but between Joey LaFaye and the discard of what began before The Drowning Girl, it led to some of your greatest, deepest works. Sláinte to Red Bull and eliminating possibilities.
Dec. 15th, 2016 04:03 pm (UTC)
Re: I have an idea for a new Dancy story
How has HBO or Netflix not made her into an on-screen badass yet?

And, when you're ready to talk about Dark Horse, I'm very interested in hearing about what happened over there.

I hope the words come easier today.
Mitchell Henson
Dec. 15th, 2016 04:38 pm (UTC)
Looking forward to a new Dancy. That's what finally convinced me to subscribe.
Eric Cantwell
Dec. 15th, 2016 09:16 pm (UTC)
Daughter of Hounds is one of my favorite novels you have written. It has this intersecting randomness to it that isn't so common in the average tight little package of a novel. I wrote a review for it on Amazon where I said that it was something like the movie Pulp Fiction meets Chronicles of Narnia, especially when taken out of context as being a sequel of sorts. It's both "vulgar and lovely" at the same time.
( 4 comments — Have your say! )