February 11th, 2007


chopsticks & nose drippings & a perfumed Sodomite

I wrote 1,345 words yesterday. So far, the story is still called "Untitled 24," and though I should be able to finish it today, the ending is proving elusive. Last night, I sent all I've written thus far (5,465 words) to sovay for an outside opinion. While it is true that I virtually never know how a story will end when I begin it (what would be the point of that?), only occasionally do the endings prove particularly problematic to locate, as they are generally the result of a natural progression. I think one of the challenges presented by this piece is that it's a very grim, somewhat horrific SF story, but I am determined it will have a "quiet" ending that does not resemble the obvious and easy endings so often found in "horror" stories. Anyway, whatever I wind up calling it, and however it might end, you may read it in Sirenia Digest #15 later this month.

I've been asked to write a short article for Locus and have accepted the invitation. So, now I owe articles to Weird Tales and Locus, the former late this month, the latter sometime in March.

After the writing was done yesterday, I had to make a trip out into the wide, wide world, as far as the B&N on Monroe, as I'd finally filled up the most recent volume (#17) of my pen and paper journal and needed a new one. I found that, and we also picked up a copy of the new Dan Simmons novel, The Terror. Back home, after dinner we watched Disney's somewhat goofy 1954 adaptation of Vernes' 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea on TCM. Kirk Douglas is hokey as hell and Peter Lorre spends most of the film looking confused, but the whole thing's worth it for the giant squid attack alone. Later still, I read more from In the Wake of Madness.

Yesterday, kendare_blake wrote (HERE BE SPOILERS):

I've just finished reading Daughter of Hounds. It is, as I suspected, and as most others have said, fantastic. And the ending is, as I think you mentioned in an earlier journal entry, much less ambiguous than the endings to your other novels. I gather that some people have complained about that. While others have raved. I'll do neither. Daughter of Hounds seems to have ended where and how it must.

Of course, I was more than half expecting you to kill Deacon, or someone else that I loved. You have this heartbreaking habit of killing off my favorite characters. I instantly liked Soldier too, so I figured, "well, she's toast," just like Daria and Chance and Salmagundi and Jimmy De Sade. But, she survived! For now.

I could blather on and on about the various virtues and beauties of this book, but frankly you've got professional reviewers doing that already, and they have a lot more clout than I do. So I'll just say that I was reluctant to leave Emmie's world, even though my butt was fast asleep from being sat upon for five hours, and I still love the way that you manage to make the ordinary menacing. And yet, pretty. I particularly enjoyed your description of the dying hurricane, early on.

And lastly, I know that you don't LIKE writing novels. But every time one manages to free itself from your mind and eyes and fingertips, though it might be a bloody and unpleasant thing for you, is a day of rejoicing for us. So. Thanks.

To which I reply:

1. Thank you, Kendare. Very much.
2. The best anyone can ever hope for is to survive "for now."
3. Always, I consider it one of my most sacred duties as a novelist to end a book "where and how it must," so thank you for that, as well.
4. That thing with some people loving the ending for being less ambiguous, and others hating it for the same reason, it only goes to prove that one must write to please himheritself and never engage in the folly of trying to write so as to please others. In the "trade," this is sometimes referred to as "writing for an audience," and it's something I have never done. It's an impossible, futile task that only succeeds in robbing writing of whatever artistic merits it may actually possess.
5. I like the thing with the hurricane, too.

Okay. Platypus says it's time to earn my keep. The platypus is a harsh mistress.