mrissa: (good mris pic)
I am having a naming problem again.

Luckily I am having it early this time. A few years back, I named a character Laura, and she was Laura through the whole first draft. In the second draft I went to change her name to Lucy, and I had to change every single scene she was in. Because Lucy was just not the same person as Laura. She just...wasn't.

I have attempted to name one of my protagonist's dear friends Susan. And...it's wrong. It's wrongety wrong wrong, and I know it's wrong. I write a sentence like, "They left Susan behind." What could possibly be wrong with Susan in this sentence? It is a straightforward sentence. There is no sense of wrongness of description, nothing that doesn't match internally. The only thing that could be wrong is that Susan is not her name.

Maybe she's Laura.

This feels fiddly and psychotic, except that sometimes there are enough problems in the world without forcing yourself to name a character Susan when she'd rather be Jamilla or Zofia or Ginger or Jill.

(Nope, not any of those either. Damn. I will try writing one of the scenes without this character and see what happens.)
mrissa: (Default)
We were driving down Hennepin, my dad behind the wheel and me in the passenger's seat and Lars, Henrik, and Sophie in the back. I was pointing out what various buildings were when they asked me, or else when I felt like it. We passed Franklin, and you can see the Scottish Rite temple behind Sebastian Joe's from Hennepin. "What is that?" they asked.

"That's a Masonic temple," I said. Brief conference in Swedish in the backseat; nobody knew. They asked, "What is that religion?" I said, "It's not really a religion, it's...have you seen the Stonecutters episode of The Simpsons?" I began to sing: "Who controls the British crown, who keeps the metric system down...?"

And immediately Lars and Henrik chimed in, right on cue and with enthusiasm: "We do! We do!"

My dad was greatly amused.

I said, "So that's who they were making fun of in that episode. The Masons or Freemasons, but they called it the Stonecutters." "This is a national club?" asked Lars. "International," I said, but it got me thinking: there appears to be some successful international conspiracy here, but it sure isn't the Masons. We're onto you, Matt Groening.

In other news, [livejournal.com profile] greykev brought me a Fodor's Scandinavia in 1952 with Finland and the Olympic Games, and the minute I opened it, I knew that any hopes I had of avoiding writing Laura's book were gone, gone, gone. (Laura, for those of you not keeping track of the cast of fictional people in this journal -- which really should be the vast majority of you, because you have better things to do with those brain cells -- used to be in Thermionic Night and Copper Mountain. I thought I was changing her name to Lucy, except that her behavior changed, and then it was suddenly clear to me that Laura, rather than not existing, was the other sister back home in England. And that she wanted a book. Quoth I, "Crap, crud, and corrosion." And now I know in somewhat more detail which book, as this lovely Fodor's is admonishing her that if she insists on traveling by air they will weigh her hatbox. I am going to have to exercise my not-writing-of-books skills to the utmost while I read this one. I'd put it off, but I'm going to want it for Copper Mountain revisions now that I have it. Bother. Ooh! But bother. But ooh! Etc.)
mrissa: (intense)
This is the first adult novel I've written since Thermionic Night and Copper Mountain (née Sampo) (collectively née The Not The Moose Book, because I thought they were going to be one book, because I was INSANE), and I'm at about 44K on it. It definitely feels like an unfinished book rather than a nebulous storyish thing yet to congeal. There is book here, and it will be written by me, and soon. Yay. Here is the difference between this book and that one, from a writing perspective:

When I was writing the Finnish stuff, I kept having revelations. Something like once a week, I would have a grand revelation that was going to show me the way and make the book amazingly much better and so on. Between revelations, it was extremely slow going.

With this book, I have thoughts about small things that will make the book better and more fun to read. But I rarely have grand revelations, and the words keep happening without them, and in a book-like fashion.

The thing is, the grand revelations really look like they were necessary for the Finnish stuff. I started writing it with no clue what I was doing, not the faintest of clues. I needed to find out. And it worked that way -- it was just harder. Much harder. I'm still dealing with the repercussions of the hardness as I revise Cu Mt. I don't think it was the kind of harder that means it's going to be a far better book than this one is, though. I think it's the kind of harder that means I was a far worse writer then, and that it was a far more difficult book to write even without me improving as a writer. But being more difficult to write does not mean being more interesting to read any more than being easier to write does; they're orthogonal. (At least for me; mileage varying and all that.)

This one has its hard bits, don't get me wrong. It's just that they aren't the kind of hard bits that are amenable to dramatic revelation. It's funny, because in some ways those books had a lot simmering under the surface and only breaking out into the open some of the time, whereas this one has a lot of really overt action. But from the perspective of what they're like to write, it's a much less dramatic book.

This is good. I'd prefer to spend that energy on other things than drama.

(Today I have very little energy at all. Today I am the next thing to useless. Some days are like that.)
mrissa: (writing everywhere)
One of the things that has been on my perpetual to-do list for months now is a requested rewrite on a short story. Normally revision requests get my attention right away when they come from people with money and an audience and an inclination to share both with me -- the last one was I think a three hour turnaround -- but this was a much broader and more general revision request. It was basically a request for a story kind of like the one I'd submitted, but longer and with larger scope and more attention to the things I already thought were the most interesting parts of the story.

So in that sense it was the best rewrite request ever: give us more of this (and we'll pay you more, because we pay by the word), and focus more on the things you like best! Also have it be for a story related to (but not dependent upon) two novels you've written!

But it has not been easy. Surprise: the good things in this business are not always the easiest things? How astonishing! And how unlike any other business, where everything worthwhile falls like rain!

One of the things that has happened since I wrote this story is that I got much better, more obscure source material. This is an historical fantasy, and while it's a tiny obscure little corner of history, one that's not likely to make most people say, "Wait, but wasn't there a fourth brother who wound up a photographer in England?", I'll know. Also, I think the new source material allows for an entirely new plot, one which is similar to the old plot but has some of the melodramatic aspects of it surgically removed. (This is just a side benefit. The fact that I'll know was going to be enough to make this part worth redoing.) And hey, the second brother, who wasn't a photographer in London: guess where he goes at the end, in actual recorded history?

Helsinki. No, really. It's not that I couldn't make this stuff up, because of course I could -- I do, all the time. It's just that I don't have to. People can look this bit up after they've finished reading this part of the story and say, "oh, huh, guess it wasn't just her obsessing on Finland again after all." He really was a Helsinki-dwelling student of stamps and their history. This should help the new plot a lot. I think I know how to do the whole rewrite now.

Yes, that's right: it's one of those rare times when philately will get me everywhere.

(Of course I couldn't resist, because the pun is quite literally true! And the flesh is weak, and the spirit is really not all that willing in the restraint-from-puns direction. Really, you wouldn't have resisted. I feel sure.)
mrissa: (bletchley)
I'm still working out some back stuff, and the side effects have been unpleasant. Last night, for example, the entire top of my head felt warm and tingly, and not in a good way. Like in a somebody putting current through the top of my head sort of way. I did not sleep well due to back and neck pain. As I say, working on it. Not my favorite thing. Could be better. But probably will be better, so.

Finished "Carter Hall Judges the Lines" last night, or at least a draft of it. It's a novelette. Sigh. We'll see what another draft of it looks like, but not now, probably not soon.

I'm a little freaked out by how much better-behaved Copper Mountain is than Sampo was, and each day I come closer to advising parents with badly-behaved children to change their names. More seriously I'm pretty sure that's not what's caused the shift. I think it's three things: 1) I've been working on it long enough. I probably started writing those two books (Thermionic Night and Copper Mountain, the latter formerly known as Sampo, the both together formerly formerly known as the Not The Moose Book) long before I was ready to do so, and it has not, I suspect, saved me any time. 2) I got some mildly good news yesterday and am feeling more cheerful on this subject in general. I don't want to say too much about this, but suffice it to say that I am not the sort of writer who does well in a vacuum, despite my writing-related anti-sociability*, and I am also not the sort of person who draws great inspiration from glum periods. But also 3) I have given myself some psychological room. I am allowed to work on other books, or on short stories, or whatever. It's not this or nothing. It's this for a few new chapters and then letting it rest and breathe a bit while I finish a short story or write a chapter of a new novel. Today, for example, I will put one more tweak to Copper Mountain and then close the file and work on something else. And it will be good.

But I will also have lunch with an old friend and run to the bank and the office supply store and the pharmacy and generally get things done, and I will take frequent and bendy breaks for the sake of the back, to avoid the sensation of being electrocuted, because that was not so much fun.

*Why am I not in any formal writing-related communities online? Because I don't want to hate people. Not out of jealousy. Out of feeling like they/you were reading over my damn shoulder. Cannot stand that. I don't think it makes me morally superior or inferior to any of you people who are doing thingies in time frames. It's just a thing.
mrissa: (intense)
Two acceptances, two rejections. Not bad.

Also, I must have been a very, very good writergirl, because my next book has a peasant uprising in it. I love peasant uprisings. I am just irrationally fond of them. I just have to figure out what Lover #2 does other than being a miller and a baker.* I mean, not that people who bake aren't automatically just plain fascinating, but there's something else. It tickles in the corner of my brain, on the opposite bit from where the librettist and composer live. And the protag doesn't know what it is, but then she doesn't even know about the cook's proto-socialist connections to begin with, so there's no use relying on her for any of this stuff. I will sneak up on it sideways while they're not-fighting** about her departure for the palace and see if it helps.

Oh, oh, there's another body exerting gravitational pull on him. I will sit very quietly and see if I can deduce what it is by the shape of the deformation of his orbit.

Girl. Lab. You know the drill.

*I mean what he does other than being the Orvokki for this book. Not that his name is Orvokki, but that he is the one who is sensible throughout, which no one else is, entirely, although the protag tries a good deal harder than anyone in Thermionic Night and Copper Mountain ever did. (See how casually I called it that? Just like it had been named that all along? I tell you what: if it actually works and Sampo is noticeably better-behaved as Cu Mt., I will tell those of you who are parents, and you can start referring to your adolescents as Morris and Cynthia when they get uppity. Unless you actually did name them Morris and Cynthia, in which case you're on your own.)

**Yes, they have the kind of relationship where they have not-fights. Very quiet, courteous not-fights.
mrissa: (hippo!)
1. I am renaming Sampo. It's now going to be Copper Mountain. This is partly because I think the latter is a better title in several ways but also because I secretly harbor hopes that Copper Mountain is a better-behaved book than Sampo. (So secretly that I put it on the internet! So: big secret. Don't tell anyone. Shhhh.) If you catch me making the wrong reference, please do poke and correct me.

2. Waking me unusually early (for me, which is late for many of you -- 5:15 a.m.) is apparently a good way to get random jobs done. This morning I washed out the utensil catch-all drawer in the kitchen, the one with stuff like the potato ricer, stuff we don't use all that often. This is the sort of job for which you have to take personal satisfaction, because nobody else is going to care whether your utensil catch-all drawer is clean. Even, you suspect, the other people who use it.

You also suspect that the second person may have been an inappropriate choice for these sentences.

3. Minnesotan lesson for the day: "He/she has other fine qualities," means, "I care about this person, but the trait under discussion drives me up the standard-issue cliched wall." This is not the equivalent of "bless his/her heart," but I'm not sure we have an equivalent of that. I did describe someone this week by saying, "She has a good heart when she remembers to use it," which is perhaps not the highest praise anyone has ever issued but not the biggest condemnation either.

4. I was opening my new(-to-me -- actually old -- but not used) Boiled in Lead CD, my third-to-last Christmas present of the year, and the (Minnesotan) record company postcard dealie that's often in them said, "We think you will find this not unlistenable." I love this state so much. Not unlistenable. That is a thing of beauty, is what that is. That is so Minnesotan it nearly hurts. Not unlistenable. Eeee.

5. I got my next-to-last Christmas present of the year yesterday. I think maybe I will get my last one today. That'd be good.

6. Travel is all a-tangle. Stay tuned.
mrissa: (Default)
I just got spam offering me "Charity or Pamela?" I like there being charity in the world -- I think it's a good thing. But I'm also fond of [livejournal.com profile] pameladean. So it's another example of not letting Them sucker you into Their binary worldview. Screw you, spammer! I choose both!

Ahem.

I am in a good mood this morning. I'm still pretty dizzy, but I slept like the dead, and yesterday felt like progress on more than one front: I got some medical stuff handled and also managed to do some of the (very extensive) Sampo revisions while I was lying on the couch. Little stuff, but it's little stuff that's done now and wasn't before. And I like feeling useful, even if it's just a little bit. And I have horizontal-friendly projects in mind for today.

My mom continues to be immeasurable amounts of help. They have the bop with them again from last night, which again put my mind at ease extremely. So considering how crappy yesterday was in some ways (being put on a table that moves around for an X-ray, while your head is already spinning? not fun), it was a very good day. So I'm going to go lie down, as I mostly have been after posting for the last week and a half, but I will lie down in a good mood, and that makes all the difference, no matter what the man says about roads diverging in a yellow wood.
mrissa: (viking princess necklace)
The top card on my desk says, "Fix puffins to groan." Did you know that puffins groan? I did not. I thought they would gronk or honk. It's good for writers to have friends who work various interesting places doing various interesting things, so that when the question comes up of what noise puffins make or when the color-band code on resistors became standardized, I know who to e-mail.

I am close enough to done with this revision of this book that I will possibly stop obsessing about puffins soon -- they're really a minor element, I'm afraid -- and, I hope, go back to obsessing about moose. Which are also a minor element. But still important. Also I will continue trying not to think of what novel comes next, because it is not time for that yet. Not not not not. No.

I had written "goddess tag" on a line where it needed to be indicated that a goddess was speaking, but now I'm caught up in trying to think what kind of graffiti a goddess would do. Tangentially, I saw a tiny gold heart around the word "home," sprayed on the sidewalk on a street corner near Sebastian Joe's, and I thought of your books, [livejournal.com profile] cristalia.

The last few days, I've been peckish at breakfast, ravenous at lunch, and radically opposed to the very concept of dinner. While this is better than a permanent opposition to food, and thus an improvement over last week, it is not what we would call convenient. Still, I had lembas fish and bell peppers and raspberries and a double-chocolate-almond cookie for lunch, and it's hard to think ill of that.

(Also, I originally typed "thus an improvement over next week." Because I'm having trouble with time again-still. One of my minor fears is that some editor will think I'm doing something complicated and either really brilliant or really stupid with time in one of my stories, when in fact I just can never keep the words today, tomorrow, and yesterday straight. Watch my verb tense -- that's the only way to tell, if you're not directly involved.)

Finally, [livejournal.com profile] yhlee has just asked what key I'm in, and I think I'm in A-flat major. (That's me, not my singing voice.) And you?
mrissa: (tiredy)
Two pieces of toast. One mug of juice. A bunch of water.

I really hope that's not the tally for tomorrow, too, or I will cry. I mean, not that I haven't. I've been feeling like Jo March weeping over J. Robert Oppenheimer's biography, and anachronisms be damned.

I still can't believe I named them Edward and Robert and didn't notice. And sided with Teller! Oof.
mrissa: (viking princess necklace)
I am coming to the part of this book where "said Soldrun grimly" is going to have to be expunged a million times in the next draft. She says a lot of stuff grimly. That's kind of how it goes. I could fuss about it now, or I could just write it down and move on to the next bit and handle it in revisions. It's one of those things that goes remarkably easily in revisions, not like getting the timing of character deaths wrong by a decade or more, or neglecting to write major plot points. (She said, carefully not looking at the manuscript of Sampo.)

Speaking of which, I was thinking about alternate titles for Sampo again. I was hoping to find something that went with Thermionic Night and Midnight Sun Rising a bit more, but so far Copper Mountain is all I've got. I like it because it's not only the traditional/mythical name of the place where most of the book takes place, but also refers to all the copper wire being strung about it over the course of the book currently known as Sampo. I'm not sure, though.

All the other ideas I've come up with have sounded like short story titles to me. Do you draw distinctions? Are there things you think make fine short story titles and terrible novel titles? Can you articulate why, or at least give examples?

My allergies are still rather miserable, but seem to be tapering off a bit with the rain. My aunt and uncle are down at my folks' house already. [livejournal.com profile] markgritter's folks are coming to town tomorrow, and my grands will make it up from New Ulm sometime Sunday. (They're going to a wedding there this weekend.) And [livejournal.com profile] markgritter's post of the best Ernie and Bert bit ever made me laugh so hard I fell over. (But has Bert always been from the East Coast? Did no one warn me? I just thought he talked funny when I was little, like any other Muppet talked funny, not like, you know, a specific talking funny.)
mrissa: (question)
That five-question meme has come around again on the guitar, this time from [livejournal.com profile] songwind. If you have questions for me or want me to have questions for you, post in the comments; you know the drill. [livejournal.com profile] songwind asks:

about writer's block, why I like him, retellings, and what he should read )
mrissa: (getting by)
As I said yesterday, I'm down to the last two questions from my sleep-dep night in January. [livejournal.com profile] scottjames said, "I will ask another topic of posting (for you to do with as you will): who are a few of your favorite historical figures, and why?" I'm not going to be able to hit all of them, so just the ones that come to mind right now:

"Favorite" is kind of a tricky word. I am fascinated with all sorts of historical figures I don't actually like per se and certainly wouldn't invite to dinner. One of the major exceptions is Niels Bohr: I have an overwhelming affection for Niels Bohr. He occupies a similar mental space to some of my favorite great-uncles and great-great-uncles. You just want to give him a big ol' physicsy hug. Well, maybe you don't, but I do.

Risto Ryti is something of favorite of mine, and the Marshal, too. (Marshal Mannerheim, I mean.) That's a much chillier regard, though: no hugs. Actually I have a lot of respect for a lot of Finnish politicians, given what they had to face, and without Risto Ryti, Finland could have turned into another fascist country, both in terms of general ideology (taking in refugees from Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia included) and in terms of losing their elections. They didn't. That's worth a lot.

Both Fabergés, father and son. Because it's tinkery and fiddly and neat. Because if you're going to work for a grand dictator, you might as well get him to fund something nifty. I'm also fascinated with Louis Comfort Tiffany just now, but that may pass.

King Christina. Yes, I do too mean "king." Drottning is a queen consort; Christina was kung, not drottning. Despite the abdication. Also Axel Oxenstierna while we're at it. Also Richelieu, a bit, in more a fascinated than a fond way.

Aud the Deep-Minded, for sure, and Thorbjorg the Volva, and Freydis Eiriksdottir:
Freydis came out of the camp as they were fleeing. She called, "Why do you flee such miserable opponents, men like you who look to me to be capable of killing them off like sheep? Had I a weapon I'm sure I would fight better than any of you." They paid no attention to what she said. Freydis wanted to go with them, but moved somewhat slowly, as she was with child. She followed them into the forest, but the natives reached her. She came across a slain man, THorbrand Snorrason, who had been struck in the head by a slab of stone. His sword lay beside him, and this she snatched up and prepared to defend herself with it as the natives approached her. Freeing one of her breasts from her shift, she smacked the sword with it. This frightened the natives, who turned and ran back to their boats and rowed away. (Eirik the Red's Saga)

I'm fond of historical figures from non-northern climes, but The Mark of the Sea Serpent and Sampo have eaten my brains, so that's what you get today.
mrissa: (writing everywhere)
One of the editors who bought a story of mine has asked for a blurb about its inspiration and difficulties in writing it. And I'm sitting here going, "uhhh...it came from my head...and then I wrote it down on the page...and now you're publishing it. Good story, huh?"

Look, this is what my brain does, all right? Pattern recognition, pattern creation. There was a guy wearing a funny hat on BART once, and that's why I wrote the story in question. The series of stories in question, actually. It wasn't a really ultimately strange hat with cuckoo-clock mechanisms and solar power. It was just a hat that was shaped slightly strangely and cast a slightly pointy shadow, and this is the third story in that series I've sold, and I've written a fourth, and I can promise there will be more. Because of a hat. Does this make sense? No, of course it doesn't make sense. You can't ask writers to go around making sense all the time. Inspiration is breathing. You learn to see story things the way you breathe. It's not the only way, but it's certainly one way, and then you come back and say, "Well...I read this book about Russian art...and two of the Fabergés' assistants were Swedish Finns...and now I have two books and three short stories and more on the way." Do you think I've skipped a step there? Because that's roughly how the brain worked, with "and then a miracle occurs" right smack in the middle there. And I think that's always how the writerbrain works. A big leap happens somewhere, or you never get to secret planets of predictive mathematicians in the kinda-Roman Empire or to Trollopian dragons or to aliens whose gender isn't the same for very long. Sometimes you can say something like, "Oh, I thought that it was a scorpion on the back of CJ's bathroom door, but actually it was a lobster. It was the hanging hook that made me think it was a scorpion, you see?" And then you smile as though you've said something helpful, and everyone else smiles as if you might get loose at any minute, and you try, with a wrench, to restart the conversation with no one understanding the essential step any better than they did before.

And the difficulties in writing it? This question really baffles me. I had to think of the right words and put them in the right order. Like you do. That is as hard and as easy as it ever gets.

Perhaps I am just obtuse. This is a possibility never to be neglected.
mrissa: (writing everywhere)
Two rejections. Slow month, this January. Probably should push through another short story just to have something more making the rounds, but that "should" is from a mailing standpoint only and does not factor in physical or mental health, so there you have that.

One of you (clear back in the mists of time with the sleep dep night) told me to write about hot boys. Here is what I know about dealing with hot boys: Children's Tylenol and cool cloths. Maybe entire cool baths if they're hot enough. Maybe popsicles. Same as for hot girls. If it's over a certain level, take 'em in and let the pediatrician reassure you.

Perhaps this is not what was intended by the question.

Possibly a little closer to the intent: I'm always baffled by people being able to cast their whole books with Hollywood actors, in the memes that relate thereto. My characters don't look like that. Even the ones I think of as being attractive to many of the other characters just...don't look like that. I'm also baffled by people who take a character's statement about another character's appearance as though it was universal and objective fact. I don't know why a reader would believe me if I said in authorial voice that a character was attractive, because a lot of people don't seem to believe me in real life when I say real people are attractive, and I don't believe them when they say people are attractive, so...where are we left here? With serious credibility issues, is where.

When I'm working on Thermionic Night and Sampo, it doesn't matter if I think Sohvi Vääräniemi is the hottest thing since fresh popcorn or plug-ugly -- what matters is that Edward Holliwell thinks she's the sex goddess of the western hemisphere and everyone else thinks she's kind of plain but they'd better not mess with her because she has other things to rely on than her girlish charms.

Most of the men I think are very attractive are not people who have to step carefully lest they trample the swooning people under their feet. So they don't have that, "yes, yes, worship my used tissues" attitude you see in pictures of some models and movie stars. It doesn't make a huge difference in how they go about their lives. Any "hot boys" in my fiction are probably like that, too.
mrissa: (getting by)
Progress, or just a fluke? Well, you decide: Ista did not attempt to gnaw the monkey underwear that was lying well within her reach on the bathroom floor. Did not even bite it once. Just sniffed the laundry about to go into the hamper from a comparative distance and then let it be.

Ohhh, the things we consider notable with small mammals in the house.

Someone wanted me to talk about Flying Squirrel Divas of the Jovian Moons. Someone is [livejournal.com profile] scottjames and has found the Flying Squirrel Divas of the Jovian Moons a source of endless amusement for years now. [livejournal.com profile] timprov suggested that Flying Squirrel Diva of the Jovian Moons might be the next award to give to people who have already been Hero of the Revolution several times. I am dubious: we haven't even gotten our caramel-filled, foil-wrapped chocolate Hero of the Revolution medals. I should think that it would be even harder to find chocolate flying squirrels in spacesuits.

This is the internet, so I could be wrong.

Someone asked me if I wrote alternate history, what country or countries would I pick, and what would the story be. Umm. Some would say that I already do write alternate history, since Thermionic Night is set in Finland in 1950, and to the best of my knowledge there was not magic in Finland in 1950. However, I try not to contradict recorded history (just recorded science), so some people would categorize these books as secret history, not alternate history.

Anyway, my big problem with alternate history is that if the story isn't really, really close to the change -- and even most of the time when it is -- I don't think the author changes enough. (To compound this problem, stories further from the change may well be more interesting. Much, much, much harder. But more interesting.) A major historical change two hundred years ago means that most of the people who are currently alive might well not have been. Very minor policy changes in the US in history would result in vastly different immigration and settling patterns. If different people settled here -- or if population pressures in the Old Country for all sorts of values of "the Old Country" were not relieved -- the world goes very different directions very quickly. And I'm supposed to believe that the author's favorite historical figures exist anyway? That's a much more major suspension of disbelief for me than it seems to be for most people, and the story has to be a corresponding lot of fun to make it worth my energy. Any appearance of John Dee or Benjamin Franklin requires a lot of effort for me not to just close the book and walk away quietly.

The alternate history ideas I get rely heavily on the kind of history I read. This means that they tend to be the sorts of ideas that would make it difficult for most people to spot the turning point, and as such I think it would be harder for them to care about the result. "What if something you didn't know happened had never happened? Wouldn't that be weird and interesting?" Umm, gosh. How fascinating. I know that the right story can be fascinating that way -- I'm certainly hoping that people manage to find themselves interested in mid-20th century Finland in ways they had not expected to be -- but it takes a lot more work from the author to establish why anyone should care about this obscure historical change, and often it seems less worth my time than other, equally shiny ideas.
mrissa: (hippo!)
The color quiz says I will be happy if I have lots of sex. I wonder what colors I would have had to pick for it to say I would be miserable with sex. I don't really feel like experimenting to find out, though.

When I don't feel like looking something up that's on the tip of my tongue and breaking the flow of a scene, I will put a shorthand for it in square brackets. I just found a bit where I indicated Lysistrata with "[Greek women refuse sex play]." Which is actually a much more useful note than some of them, which say things like "[guy]" or "[place]." I have not yet resorted to "[thingy]" on my manuscripts as I do in conversation, but I suspect it's only a matter of time. I have also bracketed a paragraph in pink with the label, "Make more sense." Good advice for many writers: hey! Make more sense!

It's a pretty low-energy day for me, and for [livejournal.com profile] timprov, too, but we're trying to be of some use anyway. Working on Sampo and "At the Sign of the Fish and Amulet," in my case, although there may be snow yagas in my future. There may also be a nap in my future. We'll just have to see.
mrissa: (bletchley)
As this book is not a New Age seminar, my characters can all stop $#&@% finding themselves! Okay, sure, the skalds have knocked you out, you can maybe wake to find yourself in a featureless room, but generally you can just be impressed with something rather than finding yourself impressed, go to the forest rather than finding yourself in the forest.

Grumblegrumbledeletedeletedeletediedie.

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] gaaneden was asking us for brags, and I have to say, with all the stuff I'm revising out of this draft, I really do like some bits of it. I don't want to quote too many bits so it's like a movie trailer that shows the only worthwhile parts of the movie so then there's no point to going. But I really like some of the stuff I'm doing here. And it's not even all Orvokki.

It's mostly Orvokki, though.
mrissa: (reserved)
I am amused at how many people on my friendslist have said that they've had an uncharacteristic night of insomnia recently, and that they all keep thinking it would have been useful if only it had been tonight, because then they could call me. You people are sweet.

When I was thinking about 2005, one of the mental tags that popped into my head was The Year I Didn't Have A Brain Tumor. But actually I would prefer not to have that as a unique signifier for 2005, if it's all the same to you.

I'm allowed to have naps this afternoon and early evening, if I can take them. My plan is to go in to get my back fixed at 1:00 and then come home and try to take a nap. Isn't that a thrilling plan? You're here for the nonstop excitement, I bet. That and the recipes for bars.

I figured out that if Baba Yaga lived in Bemidji, her house would have avocado green siding. So at least I'm doing something useful this morning. Isn't that great, that in this line of work, this counts as productive? Writing about tract homes lurching down the freeway on chicken feet? I love what I do. This morning I've been working on "Carter Hall Sweeps a Path" and also on Sampo revisions. If I could stop obsessing about tonight, it would be a pretty good morning.

Do not forget to make suggestions to fuel potential blogorrhea to help keep me up tonight. You can decide not to; that's fine. But don't forget. Also e-mail might be a pleasant diversion. Keep them cards and letters coming. Yah.
mrissa: (bletchley)
Dischism: The unwitting intrusion of the author's physical surroundings, or the author's own mental state, into the text of the story. Authors who smoke or drink while writing often drown or choke their characters with an endless supply of booze and cigs. In subtler forms of the Dischism, the characters complain of their confusion and indecision -- when this is actually the author's condition at the moment of writing, not theirs within the story. "Dischism" is named after the critic who diagnosed this syndrome. (Attr. Thomas M. Disch) -- Turkey City Lexicon

"Eetu, just put it down for a minute and go get something to eat," said Orvokki.

"And will someone make sure Eetu stops working for five whole seconds?" [Sohvi]

"Let me do it, Eetu; you get some rest." [Jatta]

"Back away from the circuit, Eetu, and no one gets hurt." [Sohvi again]

Umm. It is Edward's condition within the story. Still.

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