Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Wednesday, a good day for feedback, apparently. it is Wednesday, right? I'm having brain zaps.

I'm hosting Pene now. so go to [makikoscape] and navigate your little heart out. Pene is now located here: [the stars, baby, the stars]. and, because she's not given her due appreciation, doubleplus thanks to [luperkate], the Geek Girl mama of grapefruithead and our own personal genius.

on Leviathan, they're talking about writing strategy. Rather, the strategy of writing (and not, like, how to write strategy, which is something I'm still not good at, even after a couple of years in strategy-rich SN and WW, but that's another story for another time) and a world of approaches.

me, I'm having brain zaps. But as far as approaches go, hm. I'm working on this WW thing right now that I want to "feel like a Paul Simon song." That's not an uncommon aspiration for me, or type of aspiration. like --

[Not Dead] wanted to be patronizing, obnoxious, wanted an unreliable narrator. That's what I sat down with, on the train on the way up from Princeton, with Josh's upside-down notebook and brain zaps and my favorite ball-point pen. I didn't have a plot yet, didn't know the shape of the thing, but I knew what I wanted it to feel like. knew I wanted it obnoxious, defensive. Knew I wanted Crichton seeing Aeryn through envy glasses. knew I wanted him feeling competitive.

The events of the story followed as I went along. had no idea how it would go, what the punch line would be, etc.

[A new device is being tested] wanted crazy-Crichton. wanted a Crichton who reached for Scorpius because he was there and because Aeryn wasn't. the story went through about nine million iterations on the way there, because that was all I knew to begin with, and I had no idea how I was going to execute that. I delete more than I write in any given day. I have outtakes twice as long as the story. I try to do the thing, you know, "carve away everything that isn't elephant." Which is why when Maayan says the finished version is miles away from the first draft she saw, she's not just whistling Dixie. *I* knew what I wanted in there, but it took two dozen drafts to get my ideas on paper. I tried going chronologically, first, starting on the command carrier with Crichton having sex, being obsessed with Scorpius, with Aeryn off doing her own thing, with noble Crais, with tormented Co-Kura, with Crichton burying himself in Scorpius and wormhole work because Aeryn was ignoring him, and it wound up somewhere between vague and overwrought, with emphasis on the wrong scenes because Crichton was too crazy too early.

For a while there I had a complicated plot involving the Ancients and the Charrids and wormhole tech, but it was just there to be a step along the way, to get me to Crichton/Scorpy/Aeryn. and it turned out I didn't need that either.

people keep asking me why Crichton forgot about Scorpius so abruptly at the end, why he didn't protect Scorpius against the black Ops, why he didn't go back for Scorpy at the end, after all they'd been through. Which means there was at least one thing I didn't do correctly. I wanted Scorpius to be a replacement for Aeryn, so Crichton would naturally forget him the minute the Actual Aeryn appeared. he shuts Harvey up too, he doesn't need either of them. Yeah, you know, one squelched thought about Scorpius might not have been out of line, but too late now. On the other hand, I did want it this way -- whether it worked or not. I wanted Aeryn to erase the memories of Crichton's messy previous weeks, wanted her to fill his consciousness so completely that he didn't even need Harvey anymore. Because, don't forget, he's tricking himself, perpetually, into believing what he wants to believe, needs to believe to get through the day. what's safest for him, out here on his own. I dunno.

I'm having brain zaps. but I think that's as lucid as I'd be anyhow. I don't generally outline, don't generally know the end at the beginning. I just know the punchline, the underlying moral/emotional theme. At least, that's the thing that makes me want to write a particular story. Then I try and hammer out a story that tells the story I want it to tell.

and then, last, I find a title.

Anyway, it was a good day for feedback. Thanks Shrift, thanks Alara, thanks sheridan. more for you later. and, yeah, in my old age, I write for me. or, better said, rule #3. "Fuck the View."