April 30, 2014

KES comments continued and so on and so on and doobie doobie do

 

Speaking of excellent stories, you’re all Octavia E Butler readers, I hope?*  Well, looky here:  http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-4976-0137-6

And now let the frivolity roll. . . .

AJLR

I hope Kes gets home soon, poor soul. I’m beginning to get quite concerned that she’ll catch a chill out there in her nightie.

Yes I’ve been worrying about that too.  It’s the sort of thing I won’t know till I get there.  Of course I often know things that still turn out to be wrong when I get there.**  But so far as I know she isn’t sneezing at the end of Part One.  Whether or not she wakes up the next morning (?) at the beginning of Part Two with a major fever that is trying to convince her she imagined most of Part One. . . . There will be one or two momentos of her experiences which will lobby rather forcefully against this ridiculous enterprise  however.***  Aside from the dead guy in the front hall.  I imagine Mr WS, being a gentleman, will do something about the body when the mayhem level subsides a bit† but I don’t think bloodstains on wooden floors is within his remit.  Maybe the hob will have some ideas. ††

Longhairmathgeek

I’m reminded of certain scenes in Sunshine which I reread recently…

I think this is a good thing . . . †††

. . . for the scripturally inclined: the second verse of Genesis, part of which is commonly translated “And darkness covered over the land,” could be trying to convey the sensation you’re describing [when Kes locates the Gate]. If you go back to the Hebrew, the word translated as ‘darkness’ could be translated as ‘seething unfathomable chaos.’

Darkness and Chaos being my natural state, of course.  This does give me the edge for certain descriptive passages.‡

Katinseattle

You didn’t know who shouted, only that it sounded like it came from someone standing with you, some Falcon, and that the voice was rough with both joy and terror. “Defender!”

Wait. Are these soldiers allies? Or enemies? Who are they fighting against? Who’s the Lady?

I realise you are expressing impatience, but if they were enemies, would the voice be rough with joy?

I take back what I said about wanting this story to go on forever. I want some answers.

You do?  Gee.  That’s too bad.

EMoon

The twisted strap on the saddle–I’ve had big nasty blisters from that. One of which got infected and…oh, wait, nobody wants to know about that. It’s just that I was taking a microbiology class at the time and I recognized…NO. (Smacks self on head, several times.)

Any time you want to write a guest blog on the interesting real-life applications of taking a microbiology class . . . we can just put a GROSS ALERT at the beginning.  And yeah, about blisters.  It is AMAZING how quickly a stupid little rubbing thing turns into a MAJOR WEEPING WOUND.  It’s why I’m so paranoid about shoes, since I spend so much of my time walking.  All Stars Rule.

But I miss Sid. I really, really want to know that Sid is OK back where Sid is (wherever that is…) and that the hob is dealing with the home invasion, and so on.

Well, I miss Sid too.  I can hear the barking.  You will too soon, I promise.  I don’t even think ‘soon’ is very relative in this instance.

Anne_d

I love that the guards are still ordinary people with mundane concerns. I think that’s one of your greatest strengths, building solid ground under the fantasy so that it’s even more real.

Thank you.  THANK YOU.  As I’ve said before when I’m doing a comment-answering post, I tend to cut out the compliments‡‡ because leaving them in makes me look like such a prat, but since this is one of my major preoccupations about the writing of fantasy, my own and everyone else’s, I’m leaving it in.  Yes.   Grounding is crucial.  People are people, even if they’re nine feet tall and have seven arm-like appendages, and if they live in a landscape with purple trees I want to know what the trees look like, what the shape of the leaves is, what the flowers smell like in spring and what alcoholic beverages you can make from the fruit.  As I keep saying, the great thing about fantasy is that you can make up your own rules . . . the ratbag about fantasy is that you then have to stick to the rules you made up.  And sometimes your rules are less great than you thought, and sometimes you’re so far into the story when you realise you made a mistake there’s nothing you can do but live with it.‡‡‡  But as soon as you think, okay, what’s it like for these guys, whoever they are, whether they’re human or not, they’re going to have upkeep issues, whether that means sewing on buttons and boiling water for tea, or gliffermying the vrumpetty and doogling the brezzer.  And if the latter you need to explain for your presumably mostly human audience so that the human reader totally feels the zogle pressing into the mrilf and kind of wants to have a go at gliffermying themselves, and when they close the book§ are startled to discover they’re short and have only two arms.

Stardancer

Oooh. Not that I don’t enjoy Kes’ narration and her ties to the ordinary world, but there’s something about the mix of fairy tale and ordinary people (who get nervous and drop things and such) that I love.

::Beams::  This is part of the grounding thing I’m talking about.  Denouements between super-wizards tend to be kinda boring.  Denouements between more or less ordinary people who may fumble the universe-commanding wand at a critical moment are much more interesting.  Also super-wizards are already out there because of their superness.  There’s a steep climb for an ordinary Jo(e) to get to the super-level where the universe-commanding wand needs to be wielded.  This is more interesting and also a lot more sympathetic for ordinary-Jo(e) readers.  Say I.

It amuses me that their first sight of Kes isn’t much like what Kes herself has been thinking.

Well of course not.  That’s the deal.  Yes.§§

They see “a pale slender woman, with long tangled hair, riding bare-legged and barefoot.” Whereas Kes has been thinking things like “How did I get in this story?”, “Why didn’t I wear pajamas with pants?” and “Oh gods I’m going to cut my own leg off.” I find myself wondering what the Falcons will think when she gets closer.

There are three answers to this:  (a) Mwa hahahahahahaha (b) I wonder too (c) There’s going to be some Hayley action:  ohmigod it’s the Defender she’s real that’s not really a tatty pink nightgown is it?  All three of these answers are true.  Stories and writing are often confusing.  It’s why writers are often nuts.  Or that’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

* * *

* And that she died way too young several years ago?

** I wasn’t expecting Sid to show up nearly so soon, for example, when Kes sticks her pin in a map in Manhattan and contemplates the possibility of getting a dog.

*** Mwa hahahahahaha

† Or bodies, as the case may be

††  Mrrrrmph.  ::Not giving anything away.  Not.::

††† I’m extremely fond of SUNSHINE.  Just so you know.

‡ Snoring optional.  Darkness, who has disdained his dinner^, in his efforts to elude the nasty thing, has buried his head under a blanket from which posture he is having some trouble breathing.

^ Siiiiiiiiigh

‡‡ Having read them over slowly and carefully several times first

‡‡‡ This may be less true for people who rewrite better than I do.  I certainly do a lot of rewriting, but the basic shape of the thing has to be more or less right the first time or I lose it, I lose my ability to hear the story.  Rewriting is more about expanding, tidying up and pursuing implications^ than deciding in the second draft that the heroine is nine feet tall and has seven arms and likes hot spiced blurdge from the purple yikyak trees’ bojally fruit, although she was human in the first draft and liked maple syrup on her blueberry pancakes.

^ Which do, I admit, cause collision disasters upon occasion.  NOOOOOOO.  JUST BECAUSE SHE WAS ON THE TOP OF A MOUNTAIN TALKING TO A DRAGON DOESN’T MEAN SHE ISN’T AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA TALKING TO A MERMAID.  Wait, wait, I’m inventing teleportation . . . or cloning . . . give me a minute I’LL THINK OF SOMETHING.

§ Or click the ereader off

§§ Also, most of my major characters think less well of themselves than perhaps they should.  Ahem.  The Story Council does usually try to send you stuff you can feel your way into.  Writing is hard enough work without making it harder.

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