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The writing went well yesterday. I did 1,558 words on Chapter Seven of Daughter of Hounds. Oh, this book. This damned book. I'm so in love with Emmie Silvey and Soldier and Odd Willie and the Daughter of the Four of Pentacles, but I am so afraid of this book. And yesterday I came to one of those points (thank you, Spooky) where I'm made to consider that perhaps I've been looking at the problem entirely wrong the problem, in this instance, being the bringing together of two connected but separate narrative threads. It may be that they are to remain separate, that my protagonists might never meet face to face. Or that meeting may be very brief. I have begun to understand that through such a narrative as this I could perhaps better serve the story, and also serve a favorite passage from Schopenhauer which I used as the opening epigraph for Silk and which has since informed much of my writing:

All the events in a man's life would accordingly stand in two fundamentally different kinds of connections; firstly, in the objective, causal connection of the natural process; secondly, in a subjective connection which exists only in relation to the individual who experiences it, and which is thus as subjective as his own dreams....That both kinds of connection exist simultaneously, and the selfsame event, although a link in two totally different chains, nevertheless falls into place in both, so that the fate of one individual invariably fits the fate of the other, and each is the hero of his own drama while simultaneously figuring in a drama foreign to him...

If I do this, it will make a much stranger novel of Daughter of Hounds, the same way that Chance's kidnapping effected Low Red Moon, and the absence of a climatic explosion effected Threshold, the same way that Niki's suicide effected Murder of Angels, and so on. And it frightens me. Those things which stand apart make easier targets, and I must admit that after eight years (the time now since the publication of my first novel in 1998) of painting bullseyes on my chest, I'd really kind of like to blend in just a little. It's a cowardly ambition, I know. It's an ambition alien to what I am supposed to be doing here, and one that I have to disregard, no matter how alluring it may seem sometimes. It's always, always, a question of doing right by the book, or the short story, or comic script, at hand. And doing right by Daughter of Hounds, I see now, might mean that I leave some less adroit, less adventuresome readers scratching their heads. This will likely not be the novel that leads critics to proclaim I have at last gained the "common touch." This will be the novel it needs to be.

My thanks to brokensymmetry for bringing additional errors in the text of "Night" (?"The Horses of Neptune") to my attention, and to my editor for giving me the time to do something about them. I'll get to that ASAP.

Last night, we had a rare dinner out with friends. Very good Thai at Top Spice. And the conversation was even better — better for me — than the food. Back home, I squandered a couple more hours on Pariah and it's murky storyline. Er...let's see. Anything else? Oh, yes. I meant to say that yes, the things I said yesterday about the necessarily self-conscious, self-indulgent nature of fantastic fiction does, indeed, apply to the writing of all fiction. I really didn't mean to imply otherwise. It just came out that way. To my way of thinking, all fiction is fantasy, as all fiction is equally fictional (i.e., non-factual, which is not to say untrue).

And we've begun a new round of eBay, the first in a couple of months. As you'll recall, we're now selling from a new (old) account, and all inquiries should be sent directly to Spooky at crk_books@yahoo.com. If there's something you want, but it's not currently listed, just ask (lettered editions, for example). All interested parties please proceed to Spookycrabbit. Thanks!

Comments

( 12 comments — Have your say! )
jlundberg
Jul. 25th, 2005 04:28 pm (UTC)
Caitlin, I don't know if you've read The Bones of Time by Kathleen Ann Goonan, but she employs two simultaneous narrative strands which never intersect, and it seems to work, mostly because the strands are connected thematically, and also because theories discussed in one strand are enacted in the other. So it can be done, and frankly, I'm interested to see how you do it as well. Good luck!
greygirlbeast
Jul. 25th, 2005 04:56 pm (UTC)
Caitlin, I don't know if you've read The Bones of Time by Kathleen Ann Goonan,

I have not. Interesting. Thanks!
thingunderthest
Jul. 25th, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC)
I understand the lure of keeping your head down and blending in, especially in todays society. I am always attracted to stories that break the mold, both in plot/storyline as well as narrative elements. I think blending in is encouraged too much from a marketability standpoint, that idea that people should be fed what they expect

the absence of a climatic explosion effected Threshold
This absence in Threshold really left my mind thinking. I normally churn out a lot of threads on what might/might not have happened. I have a penchant for over-analysis that I have been able to focus into work skills, but Threshold really left me running around in my head about what happens next, going over branching outcomes that kept my mind occupied and involved in that world a lot longer then an ordinary novel.

Also on the idea of self-indulgent fiction. Wouldn't the opposite be fan service or pandering?
greygirlbeast
Jul. 25th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC)
Wouldn't the opposite be fan service or pandering?

You'd think so, wouldn't you? And actually the review sort of accuses Neil of that, sort of, in a round about way, in that it says, ah well, no matter, the fans will love it regardless. I don't know, the wording comes out more as an insult to his readers than to Neil, but anyway.

I honestly cannot imagine from what idealized neutral space this (and many other reviewers and "reviewers") imagine writers work. We write to market, we're pandering. We pursue our own interests to their logical ends, we're "self-indulgent." Whatever...
thingunderthest
Jul. 25th, 2005 05:13 pm (UTC)
It almost seems like some of the reviews for technology products where the review is based on the amount of advertising you buy, or in records where you have to bribe people to actually play a track outside of college radio.

I find it easier to find a reviewer whose taste seems opposite of mine and seek out what they pan, then find one that matches. I guess these days where you can get Oprah to mention your book and have it instantly be a best seller it must be tempting to write a few "sell out" novels with the proper uplifting empowerment themes to guarantee sales to finance the stories you might really want to tell.
9fingers
Jul. 25th, 2005 06:37 pm (UTC)
Do you do much, if any, outlining before beginning your long works?

Seems to me, these twists and turns could be a lot of fun in the writing process... Never knowing what's going to happen as the writer -- I would think -- only ensures that the reader's going to be shocked as well.

Suppose it's got its ups and downs...
greygirlbeast
Jul. 25th, 2005 06:40 pm (UTC)
Do you do much, if any, outlining before beginning your long works?

It varies, but I think an honest answer would be only a little to none at all.

Seems to me, these twists and turns could be a lot of fun in the writing process

Well, on the one hand, there are times it's the thing that keeps me writing, if only so I'll find out what happens. But on the other hand, sometimes, like today, not knowing what's going to happen on the next few pages is frelling terrifying.
humglum
Jul. 25th, 2005 07:44 pm (UTC)

Garth Nix said something on his website about outlining novels that I liked quite a lot. Something along the lines of the outlines are written only for the joy of deviating from them later on.

Personally, I can't see how anyone could stick to an outline to the letter. It'd be like trying to live according to an outline. Where's the fun in that?
greygirlbeast
Jul. 25th, 2005 09:12 pm (UTC)
It'd be like trying to live according to an outline. Where's the fun in that?

I think some people like things this way. It would explain the existence of a number of phenomena, such as organized religion and the Republican Party.
robyn_ma
Jul. 25th, 2005 09:47 pm (UTC)
Apropos of extremely nothing, has anyone told you that you resemble Carson McCullers?

(With my luck, it'll turn out you hate her writing and, for my impertinence, you will dispatch small loathsome creatures to my bedchambers some unspecified evening.)
greygirlbeast
Jul. 26th, 2005 02:22 pm (UTC)
has anyone told you that you resemble Carson McCullers?

(With my luck, it'll turn out you hate her writing and, for my impertinence, you will dispatch small loathsome creatures to my bedchambers some unspecified evening.)


No one's ever pointed that out, and it's never occurred to me before. I asked Spooky, as she was surprised at the resemblance.

But I'm flattered. No loathsome creatures. Unless you just want some...
robyn_ma
Jul. 26th, 2005 04:47 pm (UTC)
Admittedly it was as random an observation as anything else I usually deposit here, but a book of hers came in at the library yesterday, and that was the author photo. And I looked at it and said 'Boy, she looks like Caitlín there.' Particularly the expression that says, 'Sigh. Well, I suppose I will sit for a photo if I must. But ask me to smile pretty for the camera and I'll kick you somewhere soft.'
( 12 comments — Have your say! )