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So, snippet.  Yes, I got a bit of writing done while we were gone.

It was so nice to creep out of bed at dawn, walk through the muggy fog* to a secluded spot and just think words and story. One morning I sat beneath eucalyptus trees, with all sorts of birds disappearing into the thick haze around me. The next day, Junebug woke up early, so I took him with me by the pool and wrote under date palms, heavy with fruit, while he pranced around with his shorts on his head. The last day I retreated to a worker's shelter in an olive grove.

(sorry for the crap photo; took it with my laptop)
Every time we go to Anafora, J says the kids and I should live full-time there, and for such lovely mornings, I would almost consider it.

Anyhow, a snippet to prove I didn't just go lounge around in the pool and sit under date palms sipping fresh juices:

Elamie nodded once. “Precisely. Iasrees have a gift, but not a gift free of cost. Not a gift that can be used without learning and application. The bite of a sresree may confer upon us the power of extraordinary song, but it does not give the ability to master the elements. Control is not innate. It must be aquired.”

Lelo clenched her fists in her lap. That, that was what Elamie had said? The same thing she said at least ten times per class, every class?  “About time you teach us mastery, then,” she muttered under her breath.  “Start simple, something like waking earthstars, and work your way to simili creation.”

Looking at this out of context makes it seem very heavy on the invented word side, but this is something like chapter 5 of the book, so the reader should either know or have a good inkling by now of what these words mean.

And I also had a great** idea of giving some parts of a scene to another POV character. This will give me a chance to show things from a fresh perspective, hopefully adding to the reader's understanding of both the characters and the world. My brain is truly and finally tiptoeing into Storyworld.

* Anafora is on the desert road to Alexandria and not that close to the river or the greenness of the delta, but misty mornings are not rare.

** This was also sort of a "d'oh!" thought, something that could have occurred to me a loooooong time ago. That just doesn't seem to be the way my brain works, though. It's very hard for me to move beyond an initial way of seeing things. And I don't like that. It is a very rigid and frustration-making way to be. I wonder if I could do some kind of exercises to loosen up the mind and teach it to shuffle things and try out possibilities before latching so strongly on to one. Anyone have any ideas?


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2015 08:44 am (UTC)
It's interesting about shifting to another POV. My natural impulse is to show people from the inside, but often it's easier to get to know them if you can see them from the outside first. So, quite often, I'll plan out a scene from a particular POV and then realise later that it works much better from another. Of course, it might also just be because I've revised the first version to death and taking a fresh stab at it opens up new paths.
Sep. 15th, 2015 08:53 am (UTC)
Ah! Your comment makes me realize I wasn't clear. I left out a word. :P It should read another POV character. I'll fix that.

But what you say about POV, in terms of type and the distance/intimacy each creates, is perfectly valid, too.

OOPS I was so eager to fix my mistake in the entry that I posted this too soon.

I wanted to say that as an exercise, I sometimes write bits from 1st Person POV, even though the manuscript is written using Limited 3rd Person POV. The bits of the exercise may not make it into the story, but it is a good technique that gives me more insight into characters. It is also dangerous tool for me to use with secondary characters, though, because I get to thinking they need to be main characters too so they can tell their side of the story. :P

Edited at 2015-09-15 08:59 am (UTC)
Sep. 15th, 2015 09:15 am (UTC)
Hmm. That's a great idea.
Sep. 18th, 2015 06:18 am (UTC)
Just thought of you when I decided the best way for me to figure out some stuff about this society's religion is to assume a 1st Person POV and "tell" myself about it. :P
Sep. 15th, 2015 12:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I don't think you need to worry about invented words--it's a snippet! As you say, readers will have been introduced to those words. What someone *can* get, coming to this snippet cold, is Lelo's frustration--liked how you conveyed that.

And from a selfish perspective, I have to say I loved your description of Anafora, too--the ripening dates, the workers' shelter, the smell of eucalyptus. Wonderful. (That workers' shelter is so solid! I'm thinking of the roadside shade shelters in Timor-Leste--just poles with thatch on top.)

About getting that sense of mental flexibility... I don't have any good suggestions, but I have a guess as to one possible cause: when something feels really important to you, and you're heavily committed to it, I think it can be hard to just play with it... I kind of wonder if there needs to be a level of detachment or carelessness (not in the sense of slovenliness, but not-caring-too-much-ness) to play. But maybe not: maybe when you (or I) have confidence that the story's not going to melt away in tatters--when we have that confidence, maybe it's easier to play around. So maybe it's not detachment so much as trust? IDK.
Sep. 15th, 2015 04:32 pm (UTC)
Food for thought
hehe. I'm not worried, but in rereading it out of context, I was reminded of many crits I got on the OWW, way back when, in which people complained. :P

Anafora is a lovely place. You know, it is a pain that our car was stolen, and the biggest pain of all, I think, is not the daily hassle of being carless in the city but being "trapped" in the city and not able to escape to Anafora when we want. This time we borrowed a car from one of J's colleagues, who is currently in France.

Re your thoughts on mental flexibility: I think you have a point here about the balance I need to strike between commitment and the ability not to "care too much." I'm going to ponder how this ties into how story comes alive to me (by putting it down on paper and then layering, layering, layering, as opposed to many people who record what they see in their minds eye, like transcribing a movie).

A propos of nothing: Just thought I would share--because it seems the type of thing you would appreciate--that I'm sitting on my back balcony now, listening to the night traffic and watching a tiny bat swoop upon insects in the airy intersection between my building and the neighboring ones. It is like a mad driver, zooming one way, doing the aerial equivalent of a wheelie as it about-faces and zips back the other direction. :)
Sep. 15th, 2015 04:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Food for thought
I love your bat!! Thank you for sharing. I love that you typed me your reply from the balcony--I feel like I'm nearly there with you.

Sep. 15th, 2015 04:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Food for thought
OWW crits were (are?) sometimes worth what you pay for them. I tended to ignore the WTF? comments when I was working on that site.

Perhaps just take one scene and try writing it from a different character's POV? I think until you try it, you won't have a feel for the benefits it might bring you. If you're uncomfortable working in one of your own WIPs, maybe take a story you've set aside, or even someone else's work and rewrite a scene through a different pair of eyes?
Sep. 18th, 2015 06:21 am (UTC)
Re: Food for thought
I think I need to write a post devoted specifically to this POV thing because I wasn't very clear, trying as I was, to keep the post a little more snippet oriented.
Sep. 15th, 2015 03:07 pm (UTC)
sorry for the crap photo; took it with my laptop
Sort of like Neil Armstrong saying sorry for the crap photo of the crater; it was taken in 1/6th gravity.

Edited at 2015-09-15 03:08 pm (UTC)
Sep. 15th, 2015 04:24 pm (UTC)
Sep. 15th, 2015 04:36 pm (UTC)
Sep. 17th, 2015 10:20 pm (UTC)
Oh Lelo... :p

And living full-time in Anafora doesn't sound bad at all. ;)
Sep. 18th, 2015 06:17 am (UTC)
It would definitely have its upside, but I just can't, no matter how many times I've considered it, imagine doing it.

From the practicalities of how it would work, to being essentially a single parent for most of the week, to integrating a lifestyle that is externally imposed...

Add to this what I shared with you last time about feeling like the worst mother in the world when I'm there and you might see how it doesn't sound all good either. :(
Sep. 18th, 2015 12:26 pm (UTC)
Ah, I guess it wouldn't be the whole collective/village life I'm imagining.

As for the last issue, my guess is it would resolve itself once everyone got settled in, but yeah, who knows?
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )


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