Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[writing] Progris riport, day 16, The Heart of the Beast

2.5 hours tonight, 4,000 words net. The Heart of the Beast is to 67 hours and 80,100 words.

Had an interesting conversation over lunch with tillyjane today about the way I have been approaching this novel. She asked how it was that Fred seemed to have so thoroughly seized on Jeff VanderMeer's work and internalized it as my own. I made the observation that for me, writing has always been like performing improv comedy (which I have also been known to do) — you leap in screaming and follow where the wit takes you. Except that my journey as a writer has been from those improvisational roots toward a more careful and deliberate species of craft. This is just the latest, very major step on that road.

I believe that line of thought will unpack to a far more extensive commentary in some none-too-distant blog post. For now, I find myself slightly stunned by it. Once more, Jeff is teaching me something, just as he has before, just as Jim Van Pelt and some of my other secret and not-so-secret mentors have.

And because I can, some more WIP:
The catacombs served to remind the Can Man of what drew him to the city of Black in the first instance, all those years gone by. Underground, the very history of this place is elastic, the years distorting as vision fails and the past, stuttering, repeats itself, so the most fleeting moments seem eternal, while the rise and fall of kings is as the buzzing of flies. He walked among stones laid down before his father's father's fathers had left their wooded homeland for a world of metal tools and open horizons.

The Can Man's feet knew the way home, and his eyes darted as the ever did for some overlooked evidence of Galendrace and her ultimate fate. He had always believed that some day he would stumble upon her, have it given to him to explain himself and beg her forgiveness, lay bare his tortured heart to her cool gaze.

Now, though, he noticed a shadow out of place and pauses. Something large slid nearby. Song, following him to complete the murder almost begun?

Originally published at jlake.com.

Tags: beast, books, process, writing

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