?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Down to the Bloody White Bone

Here in Providence, the weather is still chilly and the rain is still beating at the windows. The flood warnings continue. Winds are gusting to 29mph. It's bleak, and I try not to look out the windows, but the raw sound of the wind is constantly drawing my eyes in that direction. Oh, for a sunny, hot, summer day.

Yesterday was a sort of triumph, I think. I say this with great caution. Spooky and I sat down to talk our way through the tangle that The Wolf Who Cried Girl (the next novel) had become. We talked, and we talked, and we talked. My purpose was simple, to pare down the very plot-heavy novel that I'd concocted back in January and December (with the aid of Geoffrey and Sonya). I started out by saying something like, "Screw the plot." Indeed, I wrote in one of my notebooks, "Plot is the enemy; mood and character and theme, these are the things that matter." So, we talked about India Phelps and Eva Canning and Albert Perrault (who has been dead almost a decade when the novel opens). We talked about fairy tales. In particular, various takes on "Little Red Riding Hood." We talked about art and artists, sculpture and stage acting. And the excess layers of plot began to fall away, so that I could see the heart of this thing. I made pages and pages of notes.

I think the greatest single "eureka" moment was deciding that this novel can be written in an epistolary form, even though I "just" did that with The Red Tree. The big difference is that in The Wolf Who Cried Girl, the story will be told by more than a single journal, alternating between India and her lover, Eva, and possibly with excerpts from Albert Perrault's Werewolf Smile, as well as excerpts from books written about Perrault. It will be a novel about obsession, both artistic and sexual. Some of the themes that dominated my original vision for the book have been jettisoned or given considerably less importance. There will be some overlap with The Red Tree, I think. Joseph Fearing Olney may be mentioned, and the writings of Sarah Crowe may also be mentioned.

The novel will be set almost entirely in Providence. India and Eva will have a loft in Olneyville, and when I realized that, despite the foul weather, I got dressed and had Spooky drive me over to Olneyville to "scout locations." I always, always do this before I begin a novel, as I always mean my settings to be real places, or abstractions of real places. I already had the loft in mind, but we saw a lot of other interesting architecture, and will be going back on a sunny day in order to see far more than we saw yesterday. All in all, Olneyville is one of those parts of Providence that reminds me of Birmingham— abandoned warehouses and factories, a desolate post-industrial landscape. Some of the photos I took are behind the cut:





India and Eva's loft (above the temp agency, at the left).



Olneyville through a rain-streaked window.



I will always be astounded at the flourishes that once were taken with such merely "functional" buildings as warehouses. A shame modern architects have gone in other directions.



We came unexpectedly upon this building, and it was a somewhat startling sight. If a building could bleed, it would look like this, I think.



Very like Birmingham, as I said.



I was especially taken with this doorway. The sign reads, "Victory Pearl Inc., Manufacturers of Indestructible Pearls." I don't know when Victory Pearl bit the dust, but the building is now used by local artists for installations, shows, and such.

All photographs Copyright by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac.



So...yes. I think this novel has finally become something that I can write.

Comments

( 20 comments — Have your say! )
sovay
Mar. 15th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
The big difference is that in The Wolf Who Cried Girl, the story will be told by more than a single journal, alternating between India and her lover, Eva, and possibly with excerpts from Albert Perrault's Werewolf Smile, as well as excerpts from books written about Perrault.

Fantastic.

I love this idea.
cucumberseed
Mar. 15th, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
Agreed. I cannot wait to read it.

The bleeding building is breathtaking. I will be dreaming of it, I think (also hope and fear).
greygirlbeast
Mar. 15th, 2010 07:39 pm (UTC)

The bleeding building is breathtaking.

Agreed. When we came upon it, it was rather like having my breath knocked from my chest.
thehousesparrow
Mar. 15th, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
You talked about Red Riding Hood! Eeee!

"Plot is the enemy; mood and character and theme, these are the things that matter."

Love it!

I took Greek Mythology this past summer, and have been meaning to type up my notes from the class. I run a mythological rp when I'm not in Insilico--they are great for inspiration. If you would like my notes, let me know and I can forward them to you.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 15th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)

You talked about Red Riding Hood!

Often, I do. It's a story revisited time and again in my novels and short fiction.
captaincurt81
Mar. 15th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
The 'bleeding building' photo is subtly creepy. It's good to hear the novel is beginning to reveal some of it's secrets, it's anatomy, to you.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 15th, 2010 05:11 pm (UTC)

The 'bleeding building' photo is subtly creepy.

It was even creepier in person.
sfmarty
Mar. 15th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
I have been waiting for the book. Fell in love with your title right away.

Wolf who Cried Girl.. yessss.


The buildings are wonderful.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 15th, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC)

I have been waiting for the book.

If there are no other setbacks, it should be out in the first quarter of 2011.
jplangan
Mar. 15th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)
This sounds wonderful--very much looking forward to it!
fusijui
Mar. 15th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the level-up :)

'Indestructible pearls' has a great ring to it -- a Gnostic sweatshop hucksterish kind of vibe.

Oh, for a sunny, hot, summer day.

!! You really are our generation's foremost writer of weird fiction.... ;P
greygirlbeast
Mar. 15th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)

You really are our generation's foremost writer of weird fiction....

A rainy day every now and again is fine. This, however, is grinding me down...and there wasn't much to grind to begin with.

Besides, fuck the stereotypes.
fusijui
Mar. 15th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
Sorry; that was badly phrased -- didn't mean to suggest you were or weren't living up to a stereotype, just re-airing my sense of unease with sunshine and heat.
gargirl
Mar. 15th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
I love the bleeding building, it looks so scraped raw and painful.

Your ideas for the next novel sound wonderful, I already feel the anticipation.
juushika
Mar. 15th, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
The snippets of your creative process have been fascinating, this update even more than most. It's good news, it's outright interesting to see the novel mutate in these fetal stages, and as much as I love your novels with intricate plots The Red Tree is still haunting me—it was hardly a simple novel but the comparably sparse plot opened up so much room for thematic freedom, for rich imagery...

I can't get it out of my head and I would love to see you do something similar in your next novel.
greygirlbeast
Mar. 15th, 2010 07:37 pm (UTC)

Nice icon.

as much as I love your novels with intricate plots The Red Tree is still haunting me—it was hardly a simple novel but the comparably sparse plot opened up so much room for thematic freedom, for rich imagery...

Truthfully, I've never had much interest in plot. And I've never though I was very good at plot. It's something that I'm consciously trying to move away from (aware this may put me at odds with the expectations of most contemporary genre readers).

I can't get it out of my head and I would love to see you do something similar in your next novel.
amethyst_clan
Mar. 15th, 2010 11:11 pm (UTC)
omg, I love the bleeding building. I can totally see that in one of the worlds I'm poking at.

I've kinda had my own revelation about some of my worlds that I've been poking at. If I can only get up the courage to actually sit down and write, I might actually get this damned 5 year long writer's block beaten down. I'm so excited!!
jessamyg
Mar. 16th, 2010 02:56 am (UTC)
Bleeding Buildings
I just love the photo's and look forward to the novel, though I haven't yet managed to even get a copy of The Red Tree over here in wet and windy Lancashire. It reminds me of a cross between the city of Durham and some of the dockland areas of Newcastle in the North East of England, where i'm originally from. Sort of makes me homesick. Wishing you luck with your writing and hope you have less trouble with your insomnia than I have with mine.
pisceanblue
Mar. 16th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC)
Very taken with the new direction for the novel, I hope it all begins to come forth as it should. And I love the Victory Pearl sign, there's something about it which seems very suited to your imagination.
monstermustdie
Mar. 17th, 2010 11:32 am (UTC)
On Birmingham...
I can see the visual connection with Birmingham, having spent many years of my adult life there. In fact, it was your detailed descriptions of places in B'ham that so impressed me in Low Red Moon, the first of your novels that I had read. I spent more than a few evenings at the original (upside down) Plaza, beneath the Western Supermarket just off Highland Avenue. Amazing how words can take you back to a place and time long forgotten, neh?

On a totally unrelated note, Éireann go Brách!
( 20 comments — Have your say! )