Sunday, July 17, 2005
Hot, humid, cloudy
Yesterday turned out to be frustrating. I lost the whole morning’s worth of writing time because of a problem with one of the serials’ artists. Why is it left to me to deal with crap the publisher should be dealing with? I resent it. It’s straightened out, but it cost me my writing day.
I had lunch with a friend – unfortunately, there were screaming, badly behaved children in the restaurant who ran around unsupervised, smearing sticky hands over walls and other diners, while their parents ignored them. That’s just not acceptable.
The afternoon was better. I played with my friend’s dog so much that the poor thing is still asleep this morning. It’s good for him, though; he’s a young dog, left alone a lot, and doesn’t get to play as much as he needs to. He loves it when I come over, because I’ll get down on the floor with him and play for hours.
I also read The Historian. I’m nowhere near done with it – it’s enormous. But, for the most part, I enjoy it. It unfurls like watching a flower bloom in real time, rather than fast-action photography, and, for this particular story, it’s the right choice.
I nearly threw the book aside at one point, when a pet cat is murdered. I am one of the readers who is completely turned off by the killing-a-pet device in a story. 99.9% of the time it’s a cheap shot to shock or horrify the reader. Not only that, but the protagonist who loses the animal NEVER behaves in a realistic way in response. Consistently, there’s perhaps a moment of shock or sadness, and then it’s shrugged off and on with the story.
Pets are part of the family. If the writer wants to make the impact he/she’s reaching for in this cheap and lazy way to grab the reader, the writer has to follow through with a realistic aftermath. You don’t get over the loss of a pet in five minutes, not if you actually loved your pet, and you don’t get so involved in what else is going on that you’re unaffected.
I seriously considered putting the book down permanently. Even though I continue to read it, that writer’s choice has brought the book down several notches in my esteem, and now I’m not sure I’d buy her next book.
Work continues on the last bit of Elusive Prayers and the revisions. The ending is far more complicated in structure than I thought it would be – although this ending is much more powerful than the previous one. It has to be handled carefully and logically. The longhand draft will run over 100 pages – which is fine. Especially since the typed revision’s been running short in the word count.
I have to knock out some serial episodes today, but then it’s all about Elusive Prayers.
I got a potential job offer from one of the places to which I pitched yesterday; unfortunately, now that I know more about the organization, the red flags are waving and the alarm bells are going off. I am NOT the person for this job – from what I’ve been able to glean about the organization (which was not named in the original ad or I would have researched it and NOT applied for the gig) goes against my intrinsic values. So I must withdraw myself from consideration. I’d rather give up the money than write copy for a place that is counter to my beliefs. Many will say that it shouldn’t matter – a professional should be able to write about anything in any situation. I WON’T betray my beliefs. Not in this way.
The Thirteen Traveling Journals Project
The Place and Space Journal Project
The Widow’s Chamber
For a free issue of any of the above serials, click the appropriate link and download.