I really am very curious about Kate Wilhelm's rationale for telling aspiring sf/fantasy writers to avoid contractions unless absolutely necessary. I've been paging through my favourite sf stories and novels, just to be sure my memories were correct. They are. Contractions galore. And I like contractions. I use them as often as I can. They make otherwise rigid, unnaturally formal prose into something that seems more like the way people think and speak. If a character says, "I cannot possibly do that. I do not know why you would ask me to!" it means quite a different thing than if the character says "I can't possibly do that. I don't know why you'd ask me to!." The presence or absence of contractions changes the mood and something fundamental about the character. This seems obvious to me. I have noticed that lots and lots of newer sf tales are almost (and oddly) devoid of contractions, so I assume this is becoming some sort of conventional wisdom. Me, I shall stick with my contractions, at least until they pry them from my cold, dead hands, and I suggest you do likewise.
The writing didn't go so well yesterday. For one thing, I was far too excited about Sirenia Digest to focus for very long, and, for another, I'd reached a point, so near THE END, where I have to be absolutely certain of what happens next and what the repercussions will be. I wrote only 229 words on Chapter Ten. At least they're 229 good words. I expect to do better today. I sort of have to. I have to finish this book and get Threshold proofed for the mass-market paperback edition before December 1st. Time's a wastin'. After the writing yesterday, we took Sophie to the park again. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by an enormous hawk. I'm not sure of the species, and we have several, but it was a glorious bird. Sadly, Sophie's park experience was ruined yesterday by some fekkik who showed up with five rowdy English setters that he couldn't be bothered to control. At one point, we had to literally beat one back with a stick. Shortly afterwards, many of the other dog owners in the park converged on him. I don't know what was said, but he took his doggy thugs and left soon after. Atlanta has a leash law for a reason. I'm thinking of printing up fliers and taping them to trees all around the park, reminding people there's a $150 fine for letting dogs run wild in a park that is meant for more things than dog frolicking. I've nothing against dogs, mind you. Though I'm a "cat person," I rather like them. Ah, well...the weather was nice, anyway. We got up into the low eighties yesterday. Today, I think they're calling for mid-sixties. That's autumn in Georgia. Back home, after dinner Spooky and I celebrated the launch of the erotica thingy with French absinthe and Indonesian cloves. Much later, I watched Miller's Crossing on FMC. It's on my list of the 100 best movies ever, and it was the perfect way to end the day. I went to bed about 3 a.m. and lay awake another half hour, thinking about the book and the dash to THE END.
Oh, I also started work on an e-mail interview last night and was reminded that Anita Nicker, who interviewed me for Subterranean, will soon be interviewing me for the subpress newsletter, and we have to arrange a meeting. I don't like doing face-to-face interviews, but Anita's drad, so it's okay.
It's not bad enough that the Kansas Board of Education is actively dumbing down science classes and promoting creationism. No. To prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that they have no fear whatsoever of being laughed at or of churning out scientifically illiterate graduates, the Board has now rewritten "the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena." (for the full article, click here). Back in the eighties, creationists tried to redefine religion to make it more scientific. Having failed, they're apparently now determined to cut to the chase and redefine science! Just how far do these dolts have to go before the idiocy they inflict upon students becomes something criminal? Farther than this, it would seem. I shudder to think.
Okay, well it's time to write. Remember — subscribe today!