Log in

No account? Create an account
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2013-04-07 07:21
Subject: [writing|process] Yet more work on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin
Security: Public
Tags:gender, history, odms, original destiny, process, race, writing
Two questions emerged during yesterday's efforts on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin. One is a character issue, the other is stylistic but at a very deep level.

Regarding characters, [info]klwilliams commented thusly:
"No female perspective for Manifest Destiny? [sic] I think you're missing a good opportunity if not.

This flushed out two issues for me. One, the stated issue she cites, that I don't have a female POV on the Manifest Sin side of the plot dynamic. Two, that despite decades of careful effort, I'm still quite capable of unconscious sexism in my writing. Of the seven protagonists named in yesterday's post, one is female. Four are white men, though one of them is essentially undead through most of the book and another is a ghost through much of the book — I don't think that lets me off the hook. One is Native American and one is Chinese, and one of the white men is gay.

This is why we have first drafts. To find such issues and correct them. Because while I don't labor at political correctness, I am perfectly aware that world today is constituted of far more people who are not straight-identified white men like myself than it is of people who look and sound and act like me. I am also perfectly aware the historical reality is likewise constituted of far more people who are not like me. It just makes sense to me to write about the world in all its complexities. Plus that's just more interesting. I've held this view since long before I had a writing career. And still my unconscious defaults can take hold when I am not paying attention.

Stylistically, yesterday I drafted the first dialog between Original Destiny and Manifest Sin. Oh great Ghu is it bad. I'm talking junior high school poetry bad. Declamatory text, fruity diction, overwrought emotional color. Stinky, stinky, stinky. Very wrong for what I want and need in this book. Yet what they are actually saying to one another is almost exactly what I do want and need.

Long experience tells me not to revise while I'm drafting. I know some writers do that, but I've also seen a lot of writers fall down that hole and never come out with a finished manuscript. Again, this is why we have first drafts. The dialog says what it needs to say, however badly it does so. I've satisfied the structural and thematic needs of the book here. Later, on revision, I'll go back and rip it out and try again to capture the voice and flow and rhythm and speech register and sensibility I want there. For now, this steaming pile of angsty crap will serve as a placeholder and carry my intended meaning until I'm ready to do those dialogs proper justice.

Later, though. I have a book to write in the mean time.

Post A Comment | 4 Comments | | Flag | Link

mlerules: beach
User: mlerules
Date: 2013-04-07 16:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I am SO pleased to hear you back at the writing. :-) ox
Reply | Thread | Link

Brian Blalock
User: blblalock
Date: 2013-04-07 20:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"Long experience tells me not to revise while I'm drafting. I know some writers do that, but I've also seen a lot of writers fall down that hole and never come out with a finished manuscript."

I am so guilty of this. I've been trying to fight the urge with the new project by using the highlighter function, but it's a hard habit to break.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: a_cubed
Date: 2013-04-08 14:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That's the process question I wanted to ask. If you're avoiding re-drafting as you go, how (if at all) do you mark up what needs work at this point? Do you put highlights, comments or what? In my academic writing, I'll sometimes re-draft as I go and sometimes not, depending on the project. When I've written something that includes the information I want but stinks in the way it puts it (yeah, I get this too, oh how do I get this, though luckily only occasionally) I will usually put a note in big bold letters before and after saying "right idea, stinky execution" or similar.

Edited at 2013-04-08 02:21 pm (UTC)
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-04-08 14:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The [square bracket] is my friend. I don't believe I've ever used either the [ or ] character in a piece of fiction in my life, so I make notes to myself as I'm drafting in square brackets, and use "Find" to track [ characters later.

So it might look like this:

Sejeanus wrestled his gladius from his scabbard [were Roman scabbards leather or something else?] and raised his guard.

In my personal usage [] just means a work point without more of a comment.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

my journal
January 2014
2012 appearances