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"Serpent!" screamed the Pigeon.

A rainy day here in Providence, and the high today is forecast at 58F, which is something of a change from the freakish low nineties of Wednesday. The sun will be back tomorrow, and the world is going green.

Yesterday, I wrote only 581 words on Chapter 1 of The Wolf Who Cried Girl. I'd have probably made it past a thousand, had I not felt the need to rewrite Everything Thus Far, so that the narrator is delivering her tale in past tense, instead of present tense. "This is what I remember about the night I met Eva Canning. She is walking down the road." became ""This is what I remember about the night I met Eva Canning. She was walking down the road." These are not actual sentences from the book, but rather rough approximations to illustrate the edit. I intended to explain here why I made the change, and how it was not necessarily the right thing to do, but I find I just don't have the requisite motivation. Too few people comment, which leads me— perhaps fallaciously —to suspect far fewer read the blog than once did. And, besides, I've never been much for talking shop, talking the mechanics of writing.

And there's this other matter. For the record, speaking as the author, The Red Tree does not have a "twist ending." Of course, that fact, and my stating that fact, will not prevent Amazon.com "reviews" of this sort:

I was able to figure out the twist ending less than halfway through.

Which is a neat goddamn trick, I'll admit, given that even I don't know precisely what happened to Sarah Crowe. I'm not usually fond of "twist endings," and I almost never employ that device in my own fiction. At the end of the novel, the reader is left, quite intentionally, with an inability to determine what has and has not been experienced by Sarah, what she might have imagined and what might be "real," where reality begins and ends, and all manner of other things. But a twist ending would require a concrete outcome of one sort or another (Bruce Willis is dead, To Serve Man is a cookbook, etc.), and that sort of ending is plainly lacking, by design. So...this "reviewer" is, at the very least, mistaken. Revelations of uncertainty do not a "twist ending" make.

I fucking hate snitty readers who are more interested in appearing world-weary and cleverer-than-thou than in paying attention to the book they're reading. I do not write books for these sorts of people.

I should wrap this up before I dig the hole any deeper.

Here are a couple of photos from Tuesday, a breath of spring after a hard winter:

Photographs Copyright © 2010 by Kathryn A. Pollnac


( 15 comments — Have your say! )
Apr. 9th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
(1) Since I'm at the library and not on my home dial-up connection, it's cool to be able to look at your pics. Those are beautiful shots!

(2) Maybe the reviewer was a really, really smart person who had already made the incredible intuitive leap by the midway point that this was not going to be a conventionally happy ending?

Maybe even, judging by their brilliantly witty response in comments to their review, I think maybe, just maybe, by the halfway point, they had even figured out that something resembling the events described in the prologue might be in the works. Gotta give 'em mad props for figuring that out. I'm sure no one else did.
Apr. 9th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
I hate Amazon reviews. It reminds me of comments on news stories. Any idiot can sit down in front of a computer, feel self-righteous, and have their Holier Than Thou moment, feeling all the while like a brilliant book reviewer/political scientist/civil engineer/judge.

The good news is that most people can pick out an inane reviewer and shuffle said review to the ignore pile. At least, I like to think that's the case.
Apr. 10th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
I still like reading Amazon reviews because some folks give their honest opinion (and are often looking for a discussion about the book or product they just read/tried), but yeah. You can spot the smartiepants right away. I just skip over their reviews, they're not worth reading.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 10th, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC)
Seconded. I love your books because they make me think (the same goes for other authors I love).

Genre, storyline, style, narrative technique, can change from story to story and I still love the end results. And thus I buy pretty much everything the writers publish as soon as I can afford it.

I do, however, need more space to store them in, or to start culling my shelves for things I don't have to have in hard copy and settle on an e-book reader/slate computer for everything else.
Apr. 9th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
Twist ending? I read all the way to the end and never found a twist ending. Clearly I am a moron. =(

Love the photos, as always.

I would like to know why you changed the tense, if you ever get up the motivation to tell the reason. I'll say again, I love the way you write, and your use of tense is no small part of that. When you use present tense, though, it throws me off a bit more...as in, it makes the narrator less reliable (to me) because it makes me feel like they may be changing the story as they tell it. On a whim, maybe, or due to faulty memory.

Apr. 9th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
The "how" of what happened to Sarah was ambiguous, but the end result was stated right in the first paragraph of the prologue... definitely not a "twist ending." Kind of the direct opposite, really...

Apr. 9th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
This broken clock/drum says: Amazon reviewers suck, as does Amazon; they're the flies making the dunghill look lively. Take their money -- if you have to -- but give them the ignore.

We had the apple & cherry blossoms here last month, but it's stayed cool so far; certainly no 90F days. (Octopus gratia!) Purty though. Smell good too.
Apr. 9th, 2010 09:39 pm (UTC)
I fucking hate snitty readers who are more interested in appearing world-weary and cleverer-than-thou than in paying attention to the book they're reading.

Caveat: Your books do not do this.

I hate reading a book and paying attention and feeling world-weary about it. I'm reading a book from the "mystery" section right now that has a slightly Gothic "deep-dark-secret" feel to it, but: Some of the "secret" is in the back jacket copy. More of the "secret" is in the first few chapters if one pays attention to dates and facts.

I'm only hoping all these obvious bits are meant to distract me away from other portions of the plot, but so far, if this is just leading up to a fact I already know of, it's like the staggering surprise of finding 4 on the other side of the equals sign from 2 and 2.

Your books are a bit more like algebraic formulas with unknown variables, and possibly no equal sign at all.
Apr. 9th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
I don't often comment, but I thought I should say that I enjoy reading what you write here - especially when you write about writing. I would be interested in the explanation of your tense choice.
Apr. 10th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
even I don't know precisely what happened to Sarah Crowe

That's my favorite thing about the ending.
Apr. 10th, 2010 04:04 am (UTC)
This just in: Sarah Crowe broke through a mystical wall and assaulted ignorant Amazon reviewers until they pulled out all their hair and begged forgiveness.

In other news, writers and their partners are granted universal health care.

Apr. 10th, 2010 04:32 am (UTC)
You know Amanda Palmer has a new song?
Apr. 10th, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC)
Don't forget the lurkers
Ah yes, we creepy and silent lurkers. We're still poking around, I assure you, to stay on top of your less publicized releases if nothing else.

And what lovely trees. I always wish the blossoms would stay around a few days longer.
Apr. 10th, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC)
I just wanted to let you know that I really admire you. You're writing is unique and engaging. And you as a person know who you are. You aren't afraid to put yourself out there, whether it be on blog or books or, I'm sure, in person. You are strong and confident in ways that I can only wish for. Sure, you're probably thinking you have flaws and you're unhappy or something but that's what makes you human. I've been following your blog for months and haven't hardly commented, maybe once. But I still read it every day and hope to continue. Most authors are these inhuman "godly" storytellers that no one I've known has seen as real people. That is a view I try to avoid. And you have proven to me that authors are people too, and great ones at that. I admire your work, your personality, and your defined sense of self. You know who you are and what you want to be and I see you working nearly every day towards that. Anyone who is lucky enough to be close to you is gifted, as I'm sure they are aware. Keep staying strong, and know that your fans are here for you one way or another, no matter how far away we may be. Can't wait for your next book!
Apr. 11th, 2010 08:04 am (UTC)
It was still neat.
I finished The Red Tree three nights ago (enjoyed it a lot; atmosphere and dread like The Willows, except novel length). While the ending is not a mere twist, it *feels* like a twist in the sense that it reveals that what has gone before could have in fact been imagined. I see what you're saying, but it certainly did cause me to reevaluate my initial impressions of the plot, which kinda-sorta feels like a twist, or at least some form of elaborate peripeteia.

Off-hand, based on your list of inspirations at the back of the book, I finally decided to go with the bandwagon and picked up Straub's Ghost Story. Hopefully it lives up to it's name.
( 15 comments — Have your say! )