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First day of #Nanowrimo 2012…

1 Nov

… and I’m not making wordcount for today. That’s OK–not only am I not worried, I’m glad I’m not holding myself too tightly to an arbitrary target.

I’m not sure that I’m going in the right direction, but then again, there’s 29 new days ahead.

Day one: 1300 words, I’m within my very rough, very loose outline, and it’s all going to be OK.

I’m looking forwrad to hearing more of my characters’ voices. I’m looking forward to more, and more raucus, write-ins.

Tonight, though–I’m tuckered out. I think I’ll take myself home and see my sweetheart, and go to bed.

Happy art-making, folks–however you do whatever it is you do.

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I think I just figured out agency (Dammit.)

6 May

Thanks to the obituaries for Joanna Russ, I’m getting an education in female roles – both in genre fiction and in life.

I may be slow, but I’m on my way up.

I’m working through some sticky issues of agency and point of view in my long-languishing novel-in-progress. I had started the novel – with outline, plot sketch, etc. – with a strong female character: a woman in her 50s who survived a multiple-collapse apocalyptic event 30 years prior. In the first scene, she shoots an 18 year old male in the leg… and doesn’t make a non-reactionary move the rest of the book. Ugh.

Ugh, I say again, because I am so strongly reminded that I was older than 30 when I first took agency in my romantic life. Relationships were things that happened to me, before that – I fell in love, and it was always a surprise, ’cause wasn’t it supposed to be? When the relationships weren’t right (and they weren’t right) I clung to them anyway. Who knew when the next would happen to me?

The rest of my life had to fall apart catastrophically before I woke up. I took a look at the mediocre relationship I had been nursing along, and suddenly realized: I was worth more than that. My time was worth too much to spend any more of it there, and there were more valuable things I could do. I called up the other person, and broke it off. I made the choice, and took action. And there it is: agency.
In Gathering Grace, there are two strong female leads: the superhero and the supervillian, both women in their 60s. Both show agency, thankfully – but you know who’s better at it? The one doing evil. [SPOILER (highlight to read): She starts to show less agency when she starts to be a little less evil. Dammit.]

For me, this relates to the difference between being nice and being kind. Nice is passive, even when it’s active – no boats are rocked. Kind is a choice, an act – even when it’s the choice to not act. Good females of any age, I learned in EVERY media source, were always “nice” – even if the result was misery.

As an author, am I contributing to this ludicrous poison?

Consider the consequence – do I take the complete-draft 120,000-word novel back from the boy?

It means a MAJOR fricken’ rewrite.

I think I have to. As the author, it’s time for me to get some damn agency, myself. I throw the rocks at the characters – but even my females – maybe especially my females – better have the grit and presence to dodge or bat them right back. If I had a strong sense of agency when I started it, 2.5 years ago (already?!?), I never would have let the boy run with the book. The central female character needs to make choices and drive her own motivation forward.

Other writers – do you have this same problem? Advice and encouragement are appreciated! I may be getting better at taking charge and driving forward, myself – but it’s more pleasant to do with others.

Making: from Manic to Mature (and now with Marionettes!)

27 Mar

Since I was old enough to read and write, I’ve gone from one creative pursuit to the next. I have competence in a variety of media, from batik to welding, knitting to writing.

I used to JUMP IN AND GO ZOOM! to any every project that came to mind. I could MAKE LOTS OF STUFF!  but often IT WAS CRAP!

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The skills acquired since becoming a grown-up have improved all the others:

  • Planning ahead for setbacks, polishing, delivery methods.
  • Revising – and revising, and revising, and throwing-it-out-and-starting-over.
  • Seeking and using feedback.

So now, when I tell you that I’m working on making a tiny bronze marionette that lives in a top hat and connects to a black opera glove, you can rest assured that I’ve planned several test pieces, iterations and have made proofs-of-concept (see picture – Sculpey is cheaper than bronze metal clay.)

And it’s likely to be full of awesome.