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It's not bad outside. Rainy. Clouds to hide the indecent blue sky. And the temperature is supposed to soar almost to 70F. Unfortunately, this means the rest of the week will be cold and clear. So, I'll take what I can from today and hold it until the warmth returns again. Ena sn'ial.

I have Jethro Tull cranked up today, trying to keep this whole winter thing at bay.

Also, I ditched Firefox this a.m. It was just entirely too buggy to endure. Spooky's using an earlier version, which seems to work better. That makes sense. Isn't their some law of software about the inverse relationship between "improvements" and function? If not, there ought to be. Anyway, now I'm back on Safari, which seems like an old friend after wrestling with Firefox for a couple of weeks.

The writing went well enough yesterday. I did 1,005 words on the twelfth section, but didn't reach it's conclusion. I'll do that today, and hopefully get the thirteenth section written, as well. "Bainbridge" will probably have fourteen sections, total. To date, the story's 12,949 words long, which comes to 58 double-spaced typed pages. I suppose that it's edging into "novella" territory. I know that I need it to be finished. At this point, I've spent something like 18 days with this story. Even if there wasn't other work that needed doing, I'd be looking for the door marked "exit." I desperately need to be done with it. So much of me has gone into this one. In some ways, it's been like going back and revisiting an earlier me, since it was an earlier me who birthed Dancy Flammarion, but, in other ways which will no doubt be very obvious to the informed reader, this story is going to draw attention to the schism between the earlier me and the new me as no other book or story has previously done. I think one reason this story has been so difficult is that this is me trying to leave a period of work behind. I am finishing with Dancy. Oddly, I'm finishing by telling the first story. Well, not counting whatever went down in the cabin on Eleanore Road before she started her journey that ends with Threshold ("You know, like Caine in Kung Fu. Just walk from town to town, meet people, get in adventures."). It's also the story of her mother. It's also another story entirely. You'll see. Me, I just want it finished.

matociquala has written a very good entry on the subject of writing commercial fiction; just click here. Me, I can't do cartwheels for shit. Lately, I've found myself wanting to, really. I want to be a cartwheelin' fool. But I think I'm too tall and can't gather the requisite momentum to get my damn long legs off the ground. So, I keep writing these strange, unwieldy books no one much wants to read, no matter how many print critics heap praise upon them. I keep writing these books which do not neatly fit the "three-act" model. The last time anyone saw one of my books in an airport or grocery store was the original mass-market paperback release of Silk back in 1998. And we all know how well that went. Since then, I've set about writing the only way I know how. My books and stories are written to entertain no one but me. I am the only audience which I have in mind (and sometimes Spooky). If it turns out that someone else is entertained, it makes me very, very happy, especially if enough other people are entertained that my sales go up a little. But it's just not enough incentive to force me to learn the cartwheel trick. If it were, I'd be writing Bullet Girl #1 right now instead of tryting to decide what my next novel will be. My agent lectures me about "accessibility," and I know that she means well, and I do try to listen; I haven't the heart to tell her she's casting pearls before swine. Anyway, read what the Bear has to say. I don't want to highjack her entry, but it might well have been subtitled "Why Caitlín's books don't sell."

And yet, you can buy some of them on eBay, particularly the specialty press editions that have sold out. Please give our new auctions a look. The Dry Salvages is really quite good. That is, it entertained me. I wrote it because not enough people are writing the sort of sf that I want to read. I think docbrite described it as a "ripping good space yarn," which is very accurate. That's what it was meant to be, more or less. And subpress has sold out. You can get it cheaper, but not if you want it personalized by me. It was read by a number of the Big Hollywood Producers and Directors, though, ultimately, it was deemed too "literary" for film. Whatever. Anyway, we have copies up on eBay. Also, consider starting the year off right with a subscription to Sirenia Digest. I promise you there will not be one single cartwheel, but there are freakish contortionist acts aplenty.

Crap, I think I have a hangover...

Comments

( 17 comments — Have your say! )
nykolus
Jan. 2nd, 2006 05:22 pm (UTC)
'The Dry Salvages is really quite good. That is, it entertained me.'

me too!
eldritch00
Jan. 2nd, 2006 05:29 pm (UTC)
Same here! But then again, I don't think I've read anything of yours that didn't move me on some level.
lokilokust
Jan. 2nd, 2006 05:59 pm (UTC)
i've been meaning to ask your opinion on 'the dry salvages.'
personally, i loved it and thought it was one of the best sf pieces i've read in the past year or so.
have you subscribed to 'sirenia?
if not i HIGHLY recommend it.
the first two pieces were stunning, and one of them is another charming bit of sf.
(sorry for the highjacking!)
greygirlbeast
Jan. 2nd, 2006 06:02 pm (UTC)
(sorry for the highjacking!)

Hey, as long as the flattery keeps coming, highjack away.
eldritch00
Jan. 5th, 2006 01:30 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, I haven't subscribed to Sirenia. *cringes with shame* But I hope so, sometime soon. Sometime.

As for The Dry Salvages, it was even better than I expected, and I was expecting a lot, since there's virtually no bad review of it anywhere, at least from what I saw. It made me want to read more SF, but I don't think there are many SF stories out there that will affect me as much as this one did. The Dry Salvages definitely raises the bar, at least for me.
matociquala
Jan. 2nd, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC)
Of course, I look at your stuff and go, man, I wanna rub words together the way she does....

:-P

If it's any help, I know several people who think you at the cat's pajamas. (Thought what cats need with pajamas has never been clearly established.)
greygirlbeast
Jan. 2nd, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
Of course, I look at your stuff and go, man, I wanna rub words together the way she does....

Thank you. I would blush, if Nebari could.
mellawyrden
Jan. 2nd, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for writing about this.

For months I've been working through ideas to submit to a Playwriting II class. My Playwriting I started off well, but then it disintegrated as I became more and more confused about the form. Exposition through sleight-of-hand. Characters accidentally exposing who they are by only showing who they aren't. It's the opposite of descriptive narration. I'm so damn straightforward in my approach that this is really difficult for me. I can't stop imagining the professor looking over my submission for the class and tossing it aside like trash. Though I know I shouldn't, I keep trying to remember the things other people wrote that he said were successful in Playwriting I, and wondering if I have that in me.

I need to be reminded (as many times as possible!) that, just as in visual art, I need to be making this for myself at all times.

Thank you for reminding me to make art.. not products.
docbrite
Jan. 2nd, 2006 09:30 pm (UTC)
Exposition through sleight-of-hand. Characters accidentally exposing who they are by only showing who they aren't. It's the opposite of descriptive narration.

This sort of makes sense to me, but it also strikes me as being the sort of thing you have to figure out for yourself rather than being taught in a class. I feel certain I've used these techniques, but if asked to compose an example off the cuff, I doubt I could do it.

mellawyrden
Jan. 2nd, 2006 10:22 pm (UTC)
Yes, it seems basically impossible to teach. The closest I've come to a good explaination of the experience is that it's like memories (the way we remember things, compared to the way things really were.. "truth" v. facts. The truths are more important) Or that it's like the way things work in dreams. The more good plays I've read & seen, the more I've come to understand the specific skills of playwriting. Edward Albee's THE PLAY ABOUT THE BABY is one I liked a great deal.
docbrite
Jan. 2nd, 2006 09:31 pm (UTC)
matociquala has some excellent points, but I tend to suspect that anyone who really believes "writing formula fiction is easy" has never tried to do it. Like most people who write for a living, I've occasionally attempted to churn out crap for Penthouse Forum or whatever (that mythical 75 cents a word sounded like manna back in 1991! Actually, it still doesn't sound half bad). To my dismay, I found that writing careless junk was about as hard as writing well. I'm sure some would say this speaks more to my ability as a writer than to the difficulty of formulaic writing, but absent the snarkers (I hope), I'll just say that I believe writing original work you care about is a little easier than writing formulaic junk, because at least you've got passion driving you.
stardustgirl
Jan. 3rd, 2006 12:53 am (UTC)
Isn't their some law of software about the inverse relationship between "improvements" and function?

One word: ebay

If they "improve" it any more, it'll...well, hmm... can't really say "it'll drive me crazy" because I'm obviously already there. But you get the idea.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 3rd, 2006 01:23 am (UTC)
But you get the idea.

Yep.
stardustgirl
Jan. 3rd, 2006 01:07 am (UTC)
And another thing
See? Crazy. Can't concentrate. Brain is flatlined.

The Dry Salvages is really quite good. That is, it entertained me. I wrote it because not enough people are writing the sort of sf that I want to read.

The Dry Salvages was the book I had my nose stuck in and unable to remove throughout most of a con in Michigan in 2004. It caused me to not notice people speaking to me, absorbed "down" time when I'd normally be meeting new people, and most of all, caused me to get 3 hours of sleep (because I had to find out what happened!?! before a drive back home that was accomplished only with constant infusions of high-octane caffeine, a full-blast one-channel stereo, and cold wind rushing through the open windows. But it was worth it.
styggian
Jan. 3rd, 2006 08:05 am (UTC)
You probably hate it when people say this but "the only problem I had with 'The Dry Salvages' is that it wasn't long enough."
greygirlbeast
Jan. 3rd, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC)
You probably hate it when people say this but "the only problem I had with 'The Dry Salvages' is that it wasn't long enough."

Nahhhh. I take that as a compliment. It's like when I go to see a long movie and I'm surprised and disappointed when it's over so soon. Anytime someone wants more after however much I've given them, that's a good thing — so long as they don't inisist there's something wrong with a story because they didn't get more.
styggian
Jan. 3rd, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
Yes, exactly.
I read the last half of MoA and The Dry Salvages on a train to Milwaukee once.
The ticket said 20 hours but it ended up being more like 36.
( 17 comments — Have your say! )