equus peduus wrote:
If this was built as a summer house… does that mean she’s going to freeze come November, or was it built so that servants could live there year-round or something?
Ahem. It was not built as a summer house.
“. . . Most of them were summer cottages, and there are only a few of them left. There weren’t too many year-round houses to begin with. Yours—I mean,” she said, blushing through her face powder, “I mean the one you are going to look at, is one of only two that are still lived in. . . .”
It’s going to be a total ratbag to heat as all big old houses are. But it’s a year-round house.
I find myself wondering how writing this compares, stress-level and/or fun-wise, to your “regular” output?
Good question. I’ve been thinking about this too, especially as the first thrill-blast of new wears off* and KES settles down to become just** another piece of writing, like the blog, or the rather too-long emails I tend to write if I write any at all (which is why most of my correspondence has gaps of months or years: this is a leap from the old hard-copy street-mail world to the new virtual one which I made with, sadly, no trouble whatsoever***) . . . or SHADOWS. Or PEGASUS XVIII. The short answer is that it’s different. And a change is as good as a rest, you know? And it does give me a chance to have some fun that I wouldn’t ordinarily have—Flowerhair, for example, or Aldetruda, who at the moment I am neglecting, but she’ll have her time. I’m pretty sure Kes has at least one other series, and I’m surer that she’s written a few one-offs. Mostly she’s a parody of me, but occasionally she’s a wish-fulfillment: she writes her stories a lot faster than I do.
But KES has three clear advantages as a blog serial. One: an 800-word KES episode takes, on average, slightly less time to write than a 1500-word Days in the Life entry—and the writing muscles it puts the strain on are neither quite the Days in the Life ones or the story-in-progress ones. Sharing the load is always good. Two: I can write KES eps any time, at any length and any speed—I can write three in a row one afternoon and then not look at it for a week; I can write half of one this morning and the other half tomorrow night; I can write two lines in two hours because I’m knitting, and because I want an hour or two to think about the new character/situation I wasn’t expecting before I start feeling my way forward again. Which leads to Three: It’s not dependent on what the hell is going on in my life. I know I keep moaning about being an introvert with a privacy fetish . . . nearly every night, and usually for over 1000 words. Cognitive dissonance alert. Well, yes, and for me too. I’m a professional writer—oh, you’ve noticed?—which means that I can (probably) make something out of nothing if I get to use words, and that’s what I do. Every night. But I can still only do it the way I can do it, and I seem only to be able to do it at over 1000 words a pop. Unfortunately. But the Days in the Life are beads on a string; each bead is pretty much its own small hard shiny separate entity, and I don’t get tomorrow’s till tomorrow. KES is more like a plaited rope—it’s all one thing. And the surprises (I had no idea about the Friendly Campfire till she turned into the parking lot, for example. Or that she was going to bring a rose-bush with her) are still all about forward momentum and that live feel of any story—and nothing about frelling clock time. I frelling hate frelling clock time.
Am hoping this will be a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG serialization.
Well, that’s still the plan. Hold that enthusiasm . . . please . . .
I have been pondering a similar, or perhaps inverted, issue. If the blog is intended as an adjunct to the career as a writer one would hope that it is less work than the, to be published commercially, fiction. We don’t know how the effort of writing enough Days in the Life material compares to the effort of writing enough of Shadows since the excerpts that have been posted are presumably “free” in the sense that they had to be written anyway. In contrast, unless the point to the exercise is just the variety, the presumption is that enough Kes is less effort than enough Days in the Life*. For those of us who only do expository writing (and most of that for compilers rather than people) the idea that creative work of the sort represented by Kes might be regarded as “less effort” comes as something of shock.
It’s ultimately less, because it doesn’t get rewritten repeatedly and obsessively. It’s not going to be nailed down in hard copy where I can’t sneak back later and change something if I need to. (Note that I haven’t done this yet, but it’s early days. And I’ve never been good at seeing through the fog ahead: my gift is about feeling that the story is there, and then trying to write down the bit that is immediately under my nose, and hoping for the best about the future.) I’m not saying writing KES is easy or cheap or that I throw it off in the odd fifteen minutes between winning a marathon and ringing a peal of Laudanum Dreamscape Whazzat Royal, because I don’t. It’s work. It’s even hard work, like any writing that you’re trying to make—that you’re hoping to make—any good is. At the same time . . . writing is what I do, in a rather more absolute sense than store-restockers put fresh bales of Pringles on the shelves. Mechanics spend their weekends taking the family to motocross events and keeping the kids’ bikes running. Accountants read PROFESSOR STEWART’S HOARD OF MATHEMATICAL TREASURES in the bath. Countertenors and coloratura sopranos go to Bayreuth for their holidays. Writers write. And given that my chosen off-duty obsessions tend to be things I’m not very good at—bell ringing, singing—it’s perhaps not surprising that writing about it is . . . comforting. (Also, being bad at stuff is better material: like writing a savage review of something is so much easier than writing a good one.)
Some other evening I may rant a bit about the Writing for Free thing. There was a very good article that was making the rounds on Twitter, and I tweeted it on too—but while I’m grateful for someone supporting the idea that us writers have to earn a living by selling what we write, only to say that we shouldn’t write, or have to write, for free isn’t the whole story either.
*I originally typoed Days in the Lift which sounds a little more angst ridden.
I prefer it to Days in the Plunge.
Being the mother of a teen boy, I appreciated Serena’s end of the phone conversation, too.
Oh good. (Also I suppose because I’ve always had to watch my weight and post-menopausally I have to live on lettuce and sprouted seeds so I have calories left over for chocolate and champagne, that plague-of-locusts thing teenage boys do fascinates me.)
Readers who “forget about” their favorite authors must not have really engaged the books to begin with.
Well . . . as someone with a memory like . . . uh . . . what was I just saying?, and also as a writer who at least once a week receives another letter/email from someone saying some variation on a theme of I’VE JUST FOUND OUT WHO YOU ARE. BEAUTY/SWORD/HERO/OUTLAWS/DEERSKIN/ROSE/SPINDLE WAS MY FAVOURITE BOOK and then I left it on the bus/my best friend made me give it back/it was eaten by alligators, and then my parents got divorced/my dog ran away/my boyfriend left me for a job doing ice sculpture on the QEII for Cunard and I couldn’t remember anything for a long time. But my new best friend/boyfriend/dog just put a copy of SUNSHINE/DRAGONHAVEN/CHALICE/PEGASUS in my hands and I SUDDENLY REMEMBERED. . . .
But the idea that readers forget supposedly favourite writers merely because said favourite writers don’t get a book out every year (which I think was the context of this comment?) and a book, preferably, the next in a favourite series . . . that’s depressing. That’s extremely depressing, especially for a slow writer who doesn’t write series.
Too sick to read blogs today, but I HAD to read this one.
And I hope it was curative.
* * *
* I wrote ep twenty-six today
** Although there is no ‘just’ about writing to a writer.
*** I have told you, haven’t I, that years ago, and for years, Merrilee had a regular refrain that went ‘we must find a way to harness the writing energy you spend on letters/email’? Hee.
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