Monday, May 9, 2011

The World Says Hello

I keep saying that I want to work on and finish the first drafts of Hibernaculum and The Juniper Bones before I do anything else, but I just keep poking at Greywater with the proverbial Great Big Stick. This is both good and bad, in that any writing is good writing, but it's feeding my bad habit of Never Finishing Aught. And I do need to work on finishing things. I suppose half the trouble here is that Greywater is simply more manageable, at least when it comes to the idea of eventual publication. The Juniper Bones is very long -- probably it's going to hover around the 300k mark, even when finished and edited -- and Hibernaculum is rather strange. None of them are easily classified, at least when it comes to their genres and whatnot, but those two certainly sit outside the norm. Argh.

With that said, I suppose it's not as if Greywater really slots easily into any category. You could call it a romance, in its way, given it deals very strongly in the strange relationship between a Major and a long-imprisoned water elemental (yeah, yeah, I have Belle and Sebastian in my head with Me and the Major, and it's irritating as hell). But I doubt I could pass it off as a true romance novel, given that a) it's written from the male protagonist's POV and b) the romance actually isn't the full point of the story. I thought it was in the beginning, actually, but I'm starting to discover that it really isn't.

Come to think of it, I'm intrigued by my POV tendencies. I'm a girl -- probably fairly obvious -- but I have a serious tendency to write from a male POV. I don't know what that says about me. Am I brainwashed by my culture, a culture that tends to say the voice of the male is the most correct and therefore ought to be the most dominant? I really haven't any idea, I just know that the stories I wanted to write were just best told from the perspective of characters who happened to be male. Maybe it's because I really came into my own writing-wise through fanfiction, and I was -- and still am -- a slash fangirl. But I suppose that's a quandary for another day. Another day when I actually have something finished and worth publishing, anyway. (Although let us note, for posterity, that Tea For Two, my first published story, is told from the wife's viewpoint. Not that this makes her particularly happy, let me assure you. But then we can count that as a nice bit of irony considering Lovecraft, the main inspiration for the piece, wasn't exactly a bra-burning feminist crusader. Ha ha ha.)

Still, the point of the entry wasn't to lament the fact that I can't even write within the boundaries of the romance genre to save my life -- it's far more traditional to be either the female or the female/male voice, and the latter still tends to be skewered to the distaff side -- it was more to talk about meeting new characters. Because although I have had the basic story of Greywater in my mind for probably a couple of years now, I've never really understood the nuances of what was going on. Basically, I knew that it was how Otho had met Círa, and explained why they were not really on speaking terms during The Neverboy. I also knew it had a lot to do with the beginning of the unravelling of Ryennkar Vassidenel, and how this would eventually ruin the heart and soul of Arosek Asfiye. What I didn't know, as it turns out, is that Greywater is actually about how a soldier deals with the way war moves in ways he cannot control, and how this affects the way he lives his life even as he struggles to keep himself alive in order to do so.

If that makes the slightest bit of sense.

This is all just relevant to me, mind, because I met Rylea yesterday. I'd known of her before now, but I'd never actually met her. She's Otho's first wife, and I knew from the beginning that she exerts undue influence on his life still -- I mean, the novel opens with him almost toppling himself out a window over an unexpected letter from her -- but I hadn't really expected the depth of it. The conversation between them that I just wrote? Hurt. And it's beginning to bleed through into his interactions with Círa, and is shaping their relationship in ways I didn't expect. It's wonderful, and frustrating, and confusing as hell. I'm also not really sure that her name is Rylea; it's sort of a placeholder right now, but there's still a reason behind the name. ...why yes, I was thinking of R'lyeh. And given how much trouble Rylea is causing me right now, it's fair enough to assume that it wasn't inaccurately given.

...I suppose I can but hope that now my mind is drifting towards the fascinations of non-Euclidian geometry, that my pet quantum mechanic Wills Penrose will speak up and get me back into The Juniper Bones before Rylea totally messes everything up. But knowing my luck, they'll just team up on me and make everything worse. I suppose that's just the hazard of the spec writer's profession...? ^_~


  1. Well I suppose if you can't get Morgan and Eliot to cooperate, you can send me the beginning of Greywater instead. :-) Start me on something new (though for goodness' sake, my dear, finish something! T_T)

    (To be fair, you DID finish FWWD, and it was very sad at the end, but very very good--and I don't think I've ever sent you a complete anything, so maybe I am being a tad bit hypocritical...? >_> We'll pretend otherwise...)

    Re: male/female POV, personally I tended to view only male stories as worthwhile for most of my adolescence, because that was all I saw in the literature/movies/stories around me. It was a very destructive thing and very bad for me, and I have seen other writers confess to having had the very same tendencies (also playing out re: race, with writers of color writing only white protagonists. Being mixed, I can probably count myself somewhat in that category).

    On the other hand, the tendency to slash is another good explanation. Even in romances, the point of the female POV is that we act as her but we are looking at HIM (or multiple hims) through her eyes, right? I guess slash just takes out the female and lets us view only the men, which for a straight female or gay male audience, might be preferable.

    Though I've seen some gay men express dislike of slashfic. This makes me wonder how queer stories written by/for LGBT readers differ from slashfic in their content. I've never read enough of either to be able to tell, though I know that anime yuri (for a straight male audience, generally) is significantly different from more realistic stories about lesbians. OTOH, anime like Utena seems to resonate with people of all sexualities, so some anime gets it totally right.

    I wonder if the conventions for queer romance are substantially different from those for straight romance. Have you ever read any? Since I've been confined to literary fiction, the closest I've read has been Moby Dick--though I totally think that should count. SOMETHIN was goin on between Queequeg and Ishmael, I'm sure of it.

  2. Wow I think my comment was nearly as long as your post. Sorry for doing my novel-writing on yer blog... >_>

  3. Ha ha, no worries -- I tend to find that my blog entries are just extended rambles anyway, so I don't mind people rambling back at me. Gives me a way to explore the weird and wonderful world of novel writing, anyway...

    And yes, finishing things...I swear to God I am going to finish all three of these novels this year. >_< The fact that I have now pulled out of all my university courses means that I should be able to do that reasonably easily, though of course it depends on how much work continues to suck me dry. I'll send you something at the weekend; it may be either Gw or TJB, depending on which one seems to be co-operating better. Ha. *Co-operating*...

    I'm not sure about the divide between slashfic written by women and men. I mean, porn aimed at either sex tends to be different in general anyway; certainly what little f/f porn aimed at men I've ever bothered to watch did precisely nothing for me, which is probably one reason I've never really found yuri that interesting. But then, I'm an SKU fan forever. Although with that said, I never really bought the Utena/Anthy thing; it always struck me as being about far more than sex, and in fact in a lot of ways it transcended the physical. I mean, the Utena and Akio thing was earthly, sensual; the Utena and Anthy thing was supposed to be a contrast to that, I think. Or maybe I'm just being as naive as Utena. "It's a pure love!" Oh, Utena, you adorable dork. <3

    In terms of colour and race, I do have to admit I write from a privileged white girl POV most of the time. I mean, the world I write in has different races that are comparable to those here, and I tend to stick closest to the European equivalent. I need to write more of the others, dammit. I should poke Araben's family with a big stick one of these days. I mean, they're *fucking insane,* but then that does tend to make for interesting stories...right?