Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Capital thoughts

Off to Washington DC to visit friends. Be back in a few days.

(As in regards to my writing, the point here, I have been being drawn back in to my original Trapper story, that I have been writing, and not writing, for almost 5 years.  Somehow the characters are drawing me back in, and I have been thinking of them frequently.  I do want to find out how that story ends.  I sort of know, but as with all things there should be happy surprises.  Note my use of the adjective happy.  Don't like unhappy surprises at all.  So when I get back, I am going to try to get back in that writing mode, for that particular story.

I know, that surprises me too.)

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Maytrees

I read The Maytrees by Annie Dillard last night.  Really fast read.  It's an odd little story about a marriage, its development and its sort of breakup, and how people can find each other again, with the oddest broken boned death request I've ever read.  Which really shows courage in trusting your characters to be themselves.

The thing that struck me most wasn't about actual plot, because I'm not one for love triangles, especially when one or more of the triad doesn't see the wreckage caused.  The neat thing I noticed was the lack of dialogue.  There really isn't much at all.  The inner life of the characters move the story forward and it works.  That really surprises me because most writing advice says to use dialogue to achieve movement and momentum in the story.  And since I have such a hard time writing dialogue, this was a pleasant breath of fresh air for me.  It can be done, and done very well.  The prose is lovely, and the images and the tone are too.  It reads much more like poetry.  Dialogue just isn't needed.  It's as if Dillard so fills the story with the story and the words of the story, that talking about it (silence and talking are huge themes in this story) wouldn't do much.  Lou, the wife, is a silent women and treasures that for herself.  Her husband, Maytree known by his last name), is a poet.  Not much for the talking either and doesn't mind a bit that his wife is quiet.  The unspoken things as is said.

I have mixed feelings about the actual plot, but the execution was just marvelous.  It gives me courage for my less than dialogue filled stories. 

Monday, June 01, 2009

The God Clown is Near

I've been picking my way through Steampunk, and today read the story by Jay Lake, The God Clown Is Near. I like Jay Lake's blog, one of my favourite writing blogs, and I have picked up his Mainspring novel, several times, but always put it back down, because I'm dealing with my own angel story, and don't want to read others, although probably I should.

Anyway, the strength of this story is its world building. I can't say I've ever read another short story with such strength of world. No time recently anyway. The story is about a fellow, an inventor scientist of sorts, who is commissioned to build a "moral clown". The detail, set very succinctly into the story, invisible in its fullness, really works to build this. Like the writer concentrating on getting it correct, the protagonist does the same. Frankenstien themes in a way. Freaky scary to say the least, with enough gore to make it real, and enough humour to take just enough edge off. I appreciate that. It's like the mafia vibe is running through this world. The world is huge, and well thought out for a short story. It is fully developed, and I appreciate that too, like this tiny bit of a short story was just plucked out of that world. That is really hard to do well, and he definitely succeeded. And the end is messy, and unexpected, and even though it ends quickly, it ends just as it should.

I tend not to revel in the steampunk oeuvre, searching out for more, because I keep thinking it needs a good cleaning, or shining. Dust it, or something ;-). I need to read more if this story was any indication of what it can be. . Colour me happily surprised.