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Family, Plot Noodling, Spoilers - Elf M. Sternberg
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elfs
Family, Plot Noodling, Spoilers
I mananged to pound out about 2500 words yesterday, all in the Catena series, and I'm actually quite happy with it. It's a bit of a mess at the moment, but that's okay. I'll work on it. My wrists have been very well-behaved, but then so have I, taking frequent breaks, doing the exercises, wearing the wrist brace to bed. They do ache first thing in the morning, usually with sleep and injury-related stiffness, and I do feel little twinges after a long day in front of the computer, but it's nothing like that first week when the pain just suddenly pounced on me out of nowhere.

Omaha made a delicious macaroni & cheese dish, with sharp chedder and Parmesan, real adult fare and nothing at all like Kraft. Lovely with the toasted breadcrumb topping. I was late getting home, so we were relatively quiet that night; I played a round of Wolfenstein, using a forearm support to avoid bending my wrists too much, and then Omaha and I played rounds of GoFish with Kouryou-chan until it was time to bathe her and get her ready for bed.

I started reading The Magic of Recluse, but I'm bouncing off of it. It's too chatty, not rich enough in detail, there's nothing in the opening chapters to hold onto my attention and make me wonder what's going to happen next. It takes a while. I also started reading Mary Gentle's The Architecture of Desire, and was amused to see a textbook opening paragraph, straight out of Burroway's How To Write Fiction: it described a sight, a sound, and a smell, and it opened with a question that grabs the readers attention and makes him want to know more. I guess that's the way it's supposed to work.

I had to wear the a light sportsbrace to bed last night as Omaha washed the medical brace yesterday and it took a long time to dry-- more than the eight hours or so Omaha had allotted it.

I'm tinkering with the Catena series. It's a straightforward idea-- on the fringes of the llerkin-Terran-Pendorian Compact are crappy little colonies that have set themselves up as little empires, little places where, as one AI puts it, "History is being given CPR." In some of these disreputable corners, some of mankind's more unpleasant acts are being carried out, including slavery. Our heroes rescue one victim, a massive, bulky alien creature with no name.

She ends up at Shardik Castle, where the company decides to take in this suffering lump who's had any spark of initiative and self-reliance beaten out of her and rehabilitate her.

In some later story, she's reunited with her homeworld and becomes a sort-of ambassador to them, since they're a primitive world. Catena was picked up as a curiosity; there are very few of her kind in space, and none in the lTP Compact region.

Catena, as she's written, is very passive. It's hard to write about her, except to write about Ken's frustration with her as he drags her out of her shell. Unfortunately, a plot set-up like this doesn't provide much room for sex; that would just seem manipulative and crass, and that's not what I want out of my smut. 'Course, I may just not be writing much smut these days. I have only four Catena stories in mind, and two are written: the one where she's found, and one where she and... nah, that's too much of a spoiler.

I think "write the ending first" might be in order here.

One thing I did discover yesterday when I was writing was that I found Ken's voice again. One of my readers commented that some of the stories are written in the first person but not by Ken, and it was hard to tell at first. I did that deliberately, to see if I could make the voice distinct enough so that you could see I was writing not-Ken Journals. It's obvious to me, at any rate. But yesterday, with Shardik at the Castle, being Shardik, the words started to flow very rapidly and reliable in his voice, and it was nice to feel that again. I've been writing a lot of other people recently.

Current Mood: hungry hungry
Current Music: Kenji Kawai, Avalon soundtrack

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Comments
jenk From: jenk Date: September 18th, 2003 10:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I found Ken's voice again. [...] I've been writing a lot of other people recently.

One of the difficulties I had with third-person was figuring out the absent omniscient narrator's tone, how much to vary that when writing from different points of view, and to bring out the main character's voice without using her as the narrator. Ack!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 19th, 2003 07:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Recluce, et. al.

I also found Recluce to be too chatty. That seems to be a common problem with a lot of popular series/authors nowadays. The characters are flat and unengaging. They don't have individual voices; they're just a means for the author to propound one philosophy or another.

The unengaging characters were part of the problem I had with Jordan; that and the fact that his plot was either too slow-paced or too confused.

That's one of the reasons I liked Lackey. Granted, her stuff has degenerated into formulaic tripe, but her characters are almost always engaging, and she has a good understanding of plot.

-Malthus
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