Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fire light

Recently, I had the opportunity to do a podcast. It's still being edited, I'm told, but I will not fail to post the link here, and in other places when it's done. My first thought after finishing it was that I will be much less critical of other interviewees in the future. It was a new experience for me, having a conversation and imagining an audience. I didn't think I would feel such pressure to make sense, to answer the questions, to be persuasive and inviting. I wish I could do it over again. I wish I had followed a much earlier thought and jotted down some notes. As it was all I thought to have with me was water. That I learned from the artist talk I did back in Februrary, how quickly I become dehydrated when speaking. At least, I understand where you're coming from, Senator.

In other news, the fantasy novel has taken off. In the Wright brothers' sense. It's not touching the ground, but I don't know if anyone in the current era would quite call it flying yet. This process has been different from any other I've been involved with. I started writing before I was ready. My intention was just to feel things out, and much like a leash slipping through my fingers, things got out of hand. I had to track it down and put it back in its cage, and apologize to a bunch of neighbors. I wasn't lying. That type of thing normally doesn't happen. But I think I'm excited. I'm working with unreliable narrators (yes, plural) speaking on events retrospectively. That was a feel thing. It came to me, felt right, so I'm trying to pursue it, to the best of my current ability.

I'm going to say that I should be soon emailing people about the local book festival. Maybe typing it somewhere will help guilt me into actually doing it. Like usual, Spring was a distance away, and now it's here. I'm never ready for it. But I think that might be a large part of life, too. In a similar vein, the only steps I've taken toward securing an agent is developing a plan for how to decide between an agent I want to represent me, and an agent I do not. I think what I'll have to do is look at a bunch of different artists and styles and how their publishers present them, so I can say "I'd like representation to put me in that kind of position." That feels like the wrong way to go about it, but it's the best I got so far.

A friend told me a story, about a sibling of his writing a novel, and the slippage he noticed in the reading of it from chapter to chapter, parts where he found his confidence lowering in regards to whether or not the author knew certain things, had polished certain things, adding things at later points, in a foggier mindset. Sort of like the difference between putting a puzzle together while fully awake, in the daylight, versus just before going to bed with the lights down low. The friend paid me the compliment that he never had that feeling working on my stuff. It was gratifying because it made me feel like all the work that sometimes feels superfluous serves reason.

So, I'm still here, grasping around in the darkness. This one here feels like a corner piece, upper left. I sure hope I've guessed the correct shape of this thing.

Monday, April 4, 2016

It is not safe

I'm going to have to do something unpleasant to one of my characters. Well, that isn't entirely accurate, but I do have a lead on what has to happen next to improve the short story. It is a personal weakness of my craft that I struggle with writing less likable individuals. Evil, I can do, because I've always thought that evil depended almost entirely on perspective. One woman's trash, or treasure. Heroes can look a lot like villains depending the jersey the beholder is wearing. But for this story, for this character, to capture the perspective I am trying to highlight, I really need to make the narrator wrong-headed. Which is far afield of the person being unreliable. There can be some fun in unreliability. This will probably not be fun. And a particular weakness of mine is that I struggle moving forward with unpleasant tasks.

Maybe that's why there was significant movement on the next novel idea. I woke up at midnight a week or so ago, and things all began falling into place. I could understand the world better because the characters became clearer. A recent conversation identified me as a "character based" writer, as opposed to being plot driven. After that interchange, I thought for the rest of the day on the concept of how plot could ever be more important than the characters driving it, involved in it. I guess I know what a partisan politician feels like now. It came up again while I was watching a movie that recently won a number of academy trophies. I latched onto the characters, their conflicts and quirks, and thanked them for holding up what was objectively a plot that amounted to a series of unfortunate disasters. 

I need to figure out Skype. I have the opportunity to participate in a podcast, and I raised my hand without imagining at all how I might be lending my voice to the enterprise. They say look before you leap, but there's no advice on what to do if one leaps first. Certainly, it wouldn't help anything if one looked after. I say if you haven't looked by the time you've leaped, don't bother afterwards. You might ruin the moment. So, anyway. Technology. I saw a video of a robot that can roll up vertical surfaces. I believe machines have become more terrifying than zombies.