September 9th, 2008


Blustery morning...

We have some serious weather sweeping across Connecticut towards us. The wind outside is wonderful. I have the office window open just a crack, letting in the fresh, storm-scented air.

Yesterday was a good writing day, just not as good as the three days before it, those three rather exceptional days. Yesterday, I did 1,052 words, and each one seemed to come with great difficulty. I was too easily distracted yesterday. Bits of research that needed doing as I was writing —— because I always research as I write what needs researching. In fact, often I don't know what will need researching until I'm writing. That was the case yesterday. So, a couple of hours were lost to researching various subjects, which, of course, means they weren't lost at all, as the research is part of the writing. It did not help that yesterday was "the sex scene," the mechanics of which inevitably slow me down a little.

I puzzled over what, at first, seemed like an apparent paradox yesterday. I maintain there is no correct way to write a novel (or short story), and yet most novels are badly written, which seems to imply that there's a wrong way to write a novel, which would demand that there also be a correct way. However, after a little pondering, I saw that the paradox is only apparent. In fact, there is no right way and no wrong way to do this —— no objectively valid, demonstrably infallible set of rules —— and those multitudinous examples of bad writing do not result from those who do not know or will not follow the "rules," but from those who simply cannot write. It's terribly anti-egalitarian of me, I know, to claim that most people cannot write, and that most people cannot be taught to write, and it goes against the grain of the whole "writing as craft" camp, but there you go. Oh, you can learn grammar. You can learn literature. You can learn literary theory and spelling and even the mechanics of storytelling. All of these things may even be necessary, but they surely are not sufficient. So, no paradox.

Please have a look at the new eBay auctions. Also, subpress is now taking pre-orders for A is for Alien. You may also now find the new mass-market paperback edition of Daughter of Hounds in bookshops or order it from Thanks. The books must roll.

Anything else interesting about yesterday? Not much. For dinner, Spooky added eggplant to the Chinese leftovers from Sunday (beef lo mein, beef fried rice, and pork dumplings), stir fried it all together in the wok, and something yummy came out. I spent an hour and a half after dinner editing, uploading, and posting photographs from our most recent trip to Point Judith. Most of the rest of the evening was spent reading. I got about seven hours sleep, but woke to my dratted aching mouth and a mild Lortab hangover.

And that's far too much to type before breakfast. I think I'm just going to sit here for a while and watch the storm's approach....