greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

  • Mood:
  • Music:

keeping [chaos] at bay

The reading went well yesterday. It must have taken about five or six hours to do Chapter Four and what remained of Frog Toes and Tentacles, but now it's frelling done. I think that I like Chapter Four of Daughter of Hounds. I think it points me towards the rest of the book, and I think that I can trust it. Those are some of the most reworked pages of my entire writing career, scenes written and rewritten in a way that is very unusual for me. I just sense that a lot is at stake with this novel, both for me, personally, and for my characters and the universe I've created (or found, whichever — maybe goddesses don't create universes; perhaps they only stumble across them and claim ownership). So, I am taking great care, even greater care than usual, obsessive care, not to lose control of these proceedings. Even now that I've scaled it back from my original conception of the book as a 200K-word behemoth to a modest 130K-word giant, still, it's a complex story with lots of characters and subplots and so on and so forth. Stories within stories. Grave magics (literally). Regarding the parallel narratives, St. Sisyphus wrote on the phorum:

I'd take the criticism as a charming suggestion that your readers and reviewers are greedy for more reading material. Still, I can't see why a reader would refuse to deal with the fact that there may be converging storylines. Or even totally unrelated storylines existing parallel to each other with no possibility of convergence. I'm gonna lump this inability to deal with the more sophisticated elements of narrative design (and not even fantastically difficult design, just not basic design) with those people who think that "genre" fiction must have a resolution. Hell, red herring us a few times, C. Don't let us get too complacent.

It's just that I've seen this very complaint in the past, with novels that didn't even really have two independent narrative threads. Look back over the Amazon "reviews" of Silk and Threshold. I'm sure you'll likely see people who were annoyed because I kept "jumping back and forth from one set of characters to another." The fact that novels have been written this way for a couple of centuries doesn't really seem to make them any less ashamed to admit that such a simple narrative structure confused them (and, you know, it's okay to admit ignorance, but it's not okay to wear it as a badge of honour). I mean, Stephen King does it, ferchissakes. I wonder how those people would deal with, say, The Stand? Anyway, I don't write books so that they will be easy on the reader. I also don't exactly write them to be hard on the reader. I write them the way that it occurs to me that they should be written. As for red herrings, there are a few in Daughter of Hounds, but I don't think that they're there in a terribly obvious or purposeful way. They fell from the sky. I didn't see the point in sweeping them away.

Today, I have to get these line edits on Frog Toes and Tentacles e-mailed to subpress. That is Thing #1. Reading over it yesterday, I was struck again by how very pleased I am with this book. I very much hope it does well enough that I can do a second volume, perhaps as soon as next summer. Thing #2 is starting Chapter Five, which will be a violent shifting of gears from Chapter Four. Emmie and secrets beneath a bed, Deacon and the past. I have some notes here, which I'm kind of ashamed of, as they feel like a cheat sheet. Most of the ARCs of To Charles Fort, With Love have gone out. Mountains of them. The post office trembles when it sees Spooky coming.

Last night, we gorged on all three Poltergeist films, which, I'll admit, is a peculiar thing to do. The first one holds up better than I'd expected, and the early '80s millieu actually adds a new sort of surreality to the affair. Craig T. Nelson is funnier than I'd remembered, and appropriately pitiable in his role, and Zelda Rubinstein is still creepy, twenty-three years later. But, aside from one or two visuals and the superb performance of Julian Beck, the first sequel is entirely unnecessary and painfully goofy. The third film is simply awful, stem to stern, tip to toe, no redeeming qualities, and I spent most of it feeling sorry for poor Tom Skerritt trapped in such a dumb film. It helps that I know his career got somewhat better afterwards.

I'll leave you with the cover for the forthcoming dark sf anthology, FutureShocks, due out early in 2006, which includes my short story, "The Pearl Diver" (I like this cover; it looks like a '70s sf book):


  • 229

    A dismal day. Rainy and 64F. But...all the same...Happy St. Patrick's Day! Éirinn go Brách. I did not get any writing done today. Mostly, I went…

  • Doubling Standards (222)

    There is literally nothing good that can be said for this day except that it started off rainy and ended up sunny. That's it, in toto. Despite days…

  • Dismantling All I Love (221)

    The day turned grey and ugly and wet. Our high was a chilly 52˚F. And I had an entry in my head I wanted to write. But. I'd asked my agent,…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded