June 10th, 2007

msauvage purple

Sunday morning, bleary

So my internet's been out for the weekend, and when it comes back I have something like 250 emails in my Livejournal folder, where the comment notifications live. Oh God, I think, some horrible fight must have broken out while I was gone. So I go to LJ itself to read over the comments and, miraculously enough, there are a few people who disagree but (and I'm still reading page four here, so knock on wood) it all seems to be intelligent discussion. So thank y'all, first of all, for that. And then I realize that people have been linking to it, which is why so many people are commenting. So I go to Technorati to see who's been linking--not "who" so much as what they've said when doing so. It doesn't pull everything, but people here mentioned a few other links they came from as well, and what I'm seeing a lot is, "Cleolinda said exactly what I was thinking, so I'll just link to her rather than go off on a fresh tangent." And I have to say... I feel kind of embarrassed now that I wasted a thousand words on Paris Hilton. And a lot of the criticism has been, "Why are we spending so much time on this waste when real things, bad things, are happening around the world?" The long answer to this is, because there's something satisfying about a small and petty victory; because we're not going to get victory or even closure in any of these world issues for a very, very long time, if ever. We can't fix Darfur or world hunger in a weekend, but by God, we can see that some vapid party girl doesn't wriggle out of her jail time. The short answer is, uh... I don't know. It really is a pretty shallow, annoying thing. But people now have my thousand-word rant to link to instead of wasting even more words or time on her, so... it evens out?

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black ribbon

Sunday night already?

Sigh. Have been deeply depressed the last few days, but I think that might be because I ran out of medication (oh, you think?), and that tends to be the side effect of more than a day's withdrawal. And by "deeply depressed" I just mean lying on the sofa, feeling unmotivated, feeling worthless and futureless, that kind of thing. You get to the point where you have to find some kind of spark inside yourself and say, no matter what happens, I have to protect this. I can't let this down. For me, that spark is my writing--just in the sense that if I died tomorrow (a car accident, a freak lightning strike, a condor swooped down and carried me off, I don't know), all of these stories that are mostly finished in my head but not in print, not even typed out and hashed out to completion--no one would ever see them. I mean, my own mother would be sitting at my computer, reading these things and she'd get halfway through and they just wouldn't finish; I hate the idea that even a handful of people, friends or family, would see my writing after I was dead and there'd be no ending to these things. I've got to see these stories through, no matter how unhappy or lonely I am in the meantime, and I don't mean that in a melodramatic way--we have jobs we hate, we have relationships that don't work out, we have disappointments. It's like living for your children--I have to live for these things I've started but not finished. Whenever you feel like crawling into a hole and staying there, you have to think of something that would drive you crazy if you didn't do it, or see it, or finish it.

So, to that end, and to veer dramatically to a more concrete subject, I went and reread a lot of my unfinished writing this afternoon. There's one stand-alone novelish thing that's very promising, although I don't think I've put enough time or research into it yet; the dialogue strikes me as being all wrong for the time period. Mostly I went through and tried to reorient myself with regards to Black Ribbon, and it was amazing how many fairly recent decisions I'd made that I'd already forgotten. Good decisions, too. Black Ribbon's going to go through a lateral expansion--some new characters, some new elements, more of Rose Hannah's world, more of the steampunk element. Interestingly, rereading The Golden Compass a few months back was instructive in that last regard--really just a very few changes Pullman makes to Lyra's world, but they're so vivid that he signals the difference fairly quickly. I forget what they use instead of electricity, but you see right there, he's got an opening for all kinds of "scientific" things, because he immediately establishes that their science isn't ours. Or even a simple word like "chocolatl"--you immediately understand that it's the same, but shifted. Rather than stress out over real-world science, and does it work, and was it already in place at the time (and therefore not actually borrowing from the near future) a couple of simple This World Is a Little Different signifiers could give me a lot of wiggle room, even something as simple as altering the name of a major location or landmark. I'm still in the drafting phase--which is my favorite--and in the end, I could go back and make it more real-world compliant. But since it is the drafting phase, knowing that I have this option to color further outside the lines is really freeing, because it's the strict inner workings of science that give me the worst block.

I'm also going through and making a list of things I know I want and I know that I need. If I've got a character who's fairly involved in the first half, I've got to do something with him in the second, you know? I can't just let him disappear; it's more satisfying if you bring that kind of thing back up and resolve it somehow, even if it's just a mini-resolution and you leave the rest of it for a future installment. I don't know how many of y'all have read the three online chapters or remember them if you did, but Ned Morland has pretty much dropped off the map, and he needs to come back somehow. I have something for him to do in the second novelish thing, but I at least need to acknowledge that he's leaving the stage for now. So I'm making a list of loose ends--but I also have a list of Things I Just Think Would Be Cool. There's going to be more of the Inventors Club, more about the Exhibition, and of two much-foreshadowed characters, one will actually show up, which I hadn't planned to have happen initially (not until the second or third novelish thing, anyway). In fact, the fate of That Character is actually very different now, and better, I think. So, you know. It's better that I'm over here trying to accomplish something with it than feeling miserable.

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