Spooky's birthday is June 24th, and anyone out there who wants to send her a pleasantry is directed to her Amazon wishlist. I would be grateful for any little kindness sent her way. Also, don't forget the Big Damn eBay Auction, now in progress. Note that the auction for the Black Ships Ate the Sky study ends this evening.
Normally, I do not plot a novel. Not in any conventional sense. I might think a little ahead. But I don't usually sit down and map it out. I prefer to allow a novel to unfold in what I think of as a more organic process. Though it may sound precious, I think of this as allowing the novel (or short story) to unfold "on its own." I don't mean that literally, of course, as the only will a story may possess is the will of the author. It's a game I play with myself, all about cause and effect, all about putting any given character in situation after situation and discovering how he or she will react. Anyway...yesterday was rather the opposite, as the nature of Blood Oranges demands that I work out an awful lot of the storyline in advance. It's working with many conventions of film noir (including so-called "Neo-noir") and Hitchcockian tropes such as "McGuffins" and the "wrong man." All the while, of course, deconstructing – or simply tearing apart and restoring – the mess that has been made of urban fantasy due to its having been co-opted by "romantic urban fantasy," "paranormal romance," PR, or whatever you want to call that printed offal. So, as was the case with "The Maltese Unicorn" this time last year, I'm having to do a lot more plotting than normal.
I spent about an hour and a half yesterday talking through everything to Spooky, setting forth whys and hows and elaborate switchbacks and feats of legerdemain...because, in part, these are things I needed to know before writing a riddle asked by a bridge troll. Oh, here's the riddle, by the way. Thought it might be fun to see if anyone can solve it. The riddle is a response to the question, "Is there any way to control lycanthropy?"
A child of woman newly forged,
The pump what drives the rosies.
Round about, round about,
So Bloody Breast flies home again.
Soldiers come in single file,
Aphrodite’s child tills loam.
Good luck. At any rate, in part the problems were solved. Enough that I could proceed. I wrote 1,043 words on Chapter Three yesterday. I've got to get that daily word count up higher again.
readingthedark arrived about 6:30 p.m. or so. He brought me a truly marvelous belated birthday gift, a copy of House of Leaves (full-color, remastered edition), personalized to me by Danielewski. We talked a bit, then got calzones for dinner, then talked much more...including a good deal more Blood Oranges plotting, solving a problem I'd been unable to solve earlier in the day. So many crosses and double crosses, hidden agendas, unseen perils, and misdirection. That is, among the novels character's, not between me and potential readers. Later, I wanted him to see Malcolm Venville's 44-Inch Chest (2009), so we watched. He left about 3:15 ayem, I think. I'd already taken my evening meds, and was a little loopy by that time. I know that I'd begun to making bold and sweeping declarations, like "There are no literary conventions!"
And that was yesterday. Oh, except I read "Selenemys lusitanica, gen. et sp. nov., a new pleurosternid turtle (Testudines; Paracryptodira) from the Upper Jurassic of Portugal" in JVP.
Many odd and unwelcome dreams last night, this morning. Most of them I've let slip away, glad to see them go. Only the substance of one remains. By broad daylight, I enter a rather unremarkable building. It looks rather like an Eisenhower-Era bank or federal building. But once inside, I am greeted by a cool darkness through which prowls all manner of jungle beasts – specifically, I recall tigers and pythons – stalking before a painted rainforest backdrop. I turn to the left and follow a grassy ramp up to the second floor of the building, where I'm greeted with a long counter, along which bank tellers are spaced at regular intervals. I speak to one, and she takes out an enormous ledger (no computers are in evidence). She's trying to record my name with a fountain pen, but keeps having to start over because she's having trouble hearing me. Because I'm hardly speaking above a whisper. And then, finally, someone – a manager, I don't know – comes over and explains to her who I am. She records my name, and I'm given a small brass key. And there was more afterwards, but it's been forgotten.
Okay. Time to make the doughnuts.
From the Forests of the Night,
Almost forget. Here are three somewhat random photos taken back on the 6th, while I was making line edits to Two Worlds and In Between. Hubero was helping (we may eventually auction the ARC in the photos, by the way):
All photographs Copyright © 2011 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac