Writing Day

Which means I’m having trouble blogging.

Yesterday I ran all the way to the end of the novella, but then spent the night re-writing the climax in my head.  Which is something I do.

Discuss among yourselves?  Do women normally balk the ending fight/confrontation/climax?

This is something I do consistently — so consistently I know I need to “just finish anyway, then fix it.”  It seems to me a lot of the other female writers (some males too, but mostly females) don’t do this, so you have the big bad and then he vanishes and the creatures of the forest dance, or something.  Is it my imagination?  Is it only my sense this happens mostly among women?

Of course, for me, this is my peculiar form of ADHD.  I know the character is going to win and how, so I rush. I’ve come to realize the readers enjoy their slugging match, though.  I do when reading other people’s work.  So, I go back in and add another five thousand words.

Anyway, that’s where my head is right now and it makes it hard to blog.

Also today my computer is slow as molasses.  I might have to reboot, as it’s not keeping up with my typing.

And this morning, one of our Social Justice Warriors (not ours, mind you.  If they were ours as such, we’d trade them for bottles of cheap liquor and break every one) was whining about the Patriarchal society.  This from a woman who is a college professor of upper middle class background to whom everything has been given due to her gender, vestigial minority status (she’s lighter than I) and never ending whining.

Future historians are going to look at our society where the privileged and easy-living screamed they were discriminated against and think we’re crazier than we are.  And that’s saying a lot.

Has there ever been a society in which reality and the mental map to that society were so divorced?  And can we survive this?  I know they can’t survive if there’s a collapse, but can we if there isn’t?  At some point our elites and “intelligensia” are going to be legislating a unicorn in every pot and refusing to believe there are no unicorns.  What then?  They’re close enough to it now.

(Of course we say we take our technology and destroy their echo chamber strongholds in media and education and entertainment. We must do it.  It’s for survival.  It’s for the children.)

And so, this a non post that’s an excuse for a post.  Excuse me while I torture Lucius some more.  (Now with more broom-borne battles.)

If I become more compus mentis (AH!) as the day goes on, I’ll post again.  Meanwhile go over and show Kate some love at MGC.  She’s in her magnificent rant mode.

UPDATE: Two things I forgot.  Our very own Dorothy Grant pinged me this morning with an interesting thought — sinus infections and sinus meds seem to turn off the “writing thing” in most writers, which I suppose helps (to an extent) exonerate my not writing for a year or so, or at least not finishing much of anything, because the sinus she’s been terrible.

Speaker to Lab Animals and I have discussed for years this extra organ that compels us to create.  Something in the writers brain.  Apparently we were looking in the wrong place and we shall nose it out.

Second thing, while having breakfast I was reading an article about old phrase books with ancient phrases like “Help, my postillion was struck by lightning”

Two thoughts hit at once: first, wouldn’t it be hilarious to have a time traveler come back to our time with a weird phrase book that mixes 19th century tech and things not yet invented?  It’s so hard after all to know EXACTLY what the tech was at a certain place in time.  You’d think there would be time travelers just doing phrase collection for other, less learned, travelers, with things they might need to say.

The second was a phrase book to help when you travel magic and sf worlds.  Stuff like “I am a friend of Adam Selene.”  “Lazarus Long will not be happy with you.”  “The pig is wearing a dress.”  “Chrestomanci”  etc.

If I lie down and close my eyes, the ideas will go away, right?

Ow, my nose!

148 thoughts on “Writing Day

  1. “Free unicorns for everyone!”
    Campaign slogan of the 2016 Democratic candidate?

        1. But they don’t have to be random, in fiction.

          A few editions ago, some friends and I had “silly D&D character” contest. My entry was a master animal trainer who started with 20,000 pigeons trained to, umm, drop their payloads on command. Perfectly legal 1st level character.

          1. I posted that about the winged horse somewhere else recently. Someone actually asked me what work of fiction I was referencing. I had to explain that I made it up.

            1. 🙂

              This time, they were in a fantasy land. The city was an amazing confection – with tall, slightly oriental spires, an incredibly blue sky with fluffy pink-tinged clouds, genii flying around and avoiding the occasional flying carpet and off in the distance there was even a flock of winged horses.

              “You have flying horses? That’s wonderful!” Sally exclaimed.

              “You have pigeons in your cities, we’ve got those.” He shook his head. “We’d much rather have pigeons. They, at least, don’t intentionally aim.”

              “It’s beautiful!” She shook her head and laughed at the sight.


              And what one can do to your suit on the way to an interview… well…

          2. Sounds like something from the “Things Mr Welch Is No Longer Allowed To Do In An RPG”:
            337. Even if the rules allow it, I cannot control 20,000 pigeons and use them as flying piranha.

    1. What?

      Everybody knows there’s no such things as Unicorns.

      I bet one shows up in the final book in that series.

  2. Silly, everyone knows there’s no such thing as unicorns.

    Oh, wait, sorry, wrong blog.

      1. “And that, children, is how the seven-horned, seven-headed beast of the Apocalypse got turned into a beeyuuuuutiful unicorn.

        “Of course, it would have been nicer to use anesthetic….”

  3. Ending fight/confrontation/climax? I often have to end before it or any other scene of high drama, and then brace myself and take it with a flying leap — one hopes, the next day. Sometimes several later.

    1. I get stuck on ‘would this actually work?’ if it’s some sort of physical fight. Magical fights are much easier. Maybe space opera space fights too, if we assume warships with all kinds of basically magical weapons, like, er, grav hooks or whatever. But when it’s persons slugging at each other, even if they are not normal humans? Or shooting at each other with something. Running around. Aiming. How much is too much? When does it become too improbable? Since I don’t really know all that much, I have maybe tried to read as much as possible but that does not necessarily help because it can be hard to understand something of which you have very little personal experience from reading alone (and since I don’t know much, I can’t really judge what I am reading all that well either), I don’t know when it would go overboard for somebody who does know, or when it’s too cautious and the character does not do something which a knowledgeable fighter should do in some situation. Or when I start to break the laws of physics. I mean, even if we assume genengineered supersoldiers, there has to be some limits. Which would be believable ones?

      And then there’s sticking to those rules I have set up…

      Okay, maybe Rule of Cool is perhaps not that bad a rule to use.

      1. My husband once told me–as I was tearing my hair out over a zero-G hand-to-hand fight–“It doesn’t matter that you’ve never done it. Even David Weber has never been in a hand-to-hand in zero-G. E. E. Doc Smith was never in a Zero-G fight..” Same with magic battles.

  4. I do tend to get into the “finish the damn book already” towards the end, mostly because all the discovery is over (pantser, so sue me). And then I want to make the big boss battle worth all the buildup. I haven’t needed to backfill too much…if that’s what you are referring to, Sarah. It isn’t clear 🙂 (dodges jet-propelled carp)

  5. I balk at writing, and I balk at the middle. Once I’m 3/4 of the way through and have discovered What the Story Is Really About, the climax and the end is as easy as biking down a nice straight hill. With no traffic. This would also be the stage when I temporarily am sure that I am the world’s greatest creator since God.

    If I could ever figure out how to just cut straight from idea to the last 3/4, I would have an addictive drug worth selling.

  6. They already are mandating Unicorns. Or at least imaginary items. They have told the petroleum industry that a certain amount of bio fuel has to go into their fuels and it increases as a function of time. Only problem? The tech hasn’t kept up with the mandate and a lot of companies that were trying to get alcohol out of switch grass (or whatever) folded. Now what do they do? Clap their hands saying “I do believe in miracles!”?

    1. Welll…

      Wood gas trucks were used in Finland during the wars, when gas was hard to get. Now they are something of a hobby for some people. Sorta tempting idea, though, if I was more of a mechanic, the system is not all that complicated. 🙂

        1. 😀

          There’s that, admittedly. Most of these examples you can find on youtube do seem to be some sort of cool older cars, for some reason. But not to worry, if I ever go for one of those I’ll have it installed in something like a Lada. 🙂 (would fit better, especially since the top speeds aren’t particularly impressive)

          1. BTW, the name they gave to the finished product, ‘El Kamina’, is a play on the fact that ‘Camino’ resembles the Finnish word for one sort of wood burning stoves (more often written ‘kamiina’, but I’ve seen ‘kamina’ used too).

      1. Yep, both wood gas and coal gas were used as stop gap measures in parts of Europe during WW II when petroleum products were hard to come by and mostly reserved for the war effort.
        Much less energy density than gasoline or diesel, not to mention the space the mechanism requires, and at least in the US if you operate one on public roads the tax man will pay you a visit concerning owing them for road use fees.

      2. The biggest problem with that here in the US is the EPA. See, back when CAFE first neutered cars in the US, people would rip out the emissions crap in order to get some level of performance, so the EPA issued a rule saying that you cannot modify the fuel system. So a car owner can’t decide that methanol would be a cost-effective fuel for him and set up his device to suit, he’s got to wait for a manufacturer to set up a production line, which they’re not going to do unless they know they have a certain demand.

        Yet another example of Big Government colluding with Big Business to stifle competition and keep us poorer.

  7. Time to check out Non Sequitur by Wiley as Danae wants to search for a time/place where people weren’t stupid and annoying … and Jeffrey takes her back to the time of the dinosaurs (no people, no stupid and annoying).

  8. “I am a friend of Adam Selene.”

    I want that on a button.

    Oh, might want (need) to add tanstaafl.

      1. Try telling that to the liberals. They actually believe that those contraceptives are *free*.

        1. The typical Liberal problem is they lack the scope to see the whole picture. They can see where they want to spend tax money, but don’t see where it comes from. Then they want to fix another problem with the same tax money because they lost sight of the previous problem.

          1. Why, they should get the money from The Rich, of course! Obviously The Rich have done nothing to earn that money so they shouldn’t feel badly about it being taken from them. Besides, The Rich have enough, don’t they?

            It blows my mind that liberals have no issue taxing The Rich (whoever they are) and think it won’t cause any harm. Kind of like raising minimum wage.

  9. I don’t have to much trouble with writing the ending battles. I think because at that point I’ve got the plot more-or-less sorted out, and I just need to get the details of a usable battle to work from. I did have a problem with wrapping up “Blackbird” because it follows the protagonist’s life, and I wasn’t sure if I was up to hordes of nasty-grams if I killed him off.

    I did have a lot of trouble with the sequel to “Hubris,” because I had no idea if the fights at the end would wrap things up, or if something else would kick in. The fights satisfied everyone, so I think I got off easy.

    Got nothing on sinuses—just got a retainer glued to my lower teeth to try and reposition my jaw and see if it helps some other problems. No, it doesn’t come with rhinestones or in team colors. The extra-long incisor (fangs) option was not available, either.

    1. Figuring out how much denouement is too much is tricky. And how can you maximize the info crammed into the denouement you allow yourself?

      1. Especially if the denouement comes twenty years after the climactic scene. A bare recitation of facts would go “thud.” Too many veiled allusions and the reader goes “Zzzzzzzzz.” Cram too much in and you might as well just write an additional chapter. I’ll be curious to see, once the draft has “rested”, if what I have still works or if I need to do a major re-write.

        1. And you want just enough to dissipate the tension and dismiss the reader “in calm of mind, all passion spent” and not one whit further.

    2. Did you ask them to calibrate wire lengths to improve cell reception? I’m a big fan of multi-function appliances, why shouldn’t it apply to dental appliances?

      1. With my luck we’d get things crossed up so all I get is Border Blasters, or the 24 hr Farm Station (WNAX – Your Five State Farm Station!). Or that Christian easy listening channel.

        We’re 64. Got 2+ inches of rain last night-this AM. Low of 55 tonight. Look on my weather, ye sweltering, and despair! 🙂

        1. 24hr farm station — Bales of cotton-pickin’ fun, right there.

          73, rain doing the slow, steady and light which is good for the ground soaking. Heavy storms projected later in the day and overnight with a standing flash flood watch for tonight on into Friday. Low still targeted at 69.

          Somebody’s sweltering, but it ain’t me.

          1. Glad to share the bounty.

            WNAX is fascinating. Talk radio, country and western music, the family radio rosary every night from 2200-2230, then the all-night trucker’s radio show, which wraps up at 0500 with “Turn out the lights (the party’s over)” followed by half an hour of fire-breathing Pentecostal sermon and music, and the early ag news starts. Oh, and don’t forget the Farm Lady with her gossip and recipes. She’s been on that station since the mid 1950s. You can hear WNAX from central KS to the Canadian border, from the Dakota-Montana line as far east as Minneapolis.

            1. Back when I was spending so much time on my Grandmother’s farm over between Earth and Muleshoe I despaired of finding music on the radio, or anything beyond static. ‘Couse, I’m pretty sure I’d have slid right on by the Farm Radio offerings at the time.

              Ah, rebellious youth. Now I’m quietly pounded by radio waves at every frequency on the dial and the most enjoyable radio shows I find are while traveling, miles from anywhere, when I can pick up old George and Gracie reruns while modulating my amplitude.


  10. I don’t think creativity is an extra organ. I think it’s a fluid that’s normally spread evenly, and in abnormal brains, tends to pool in odd places. I think it’s a mixture of phlegm, phlogiston, and coffee.

    Blurb writing is driving me crazy. I keep tilting my head, but the creativity’s not pooling deep enough to be usable.

    1. They sell bottled creativity at Spec’s and similar fine retailers. It doubles as courage too:-).

      1. I wouldn’t get that kind of creativity, or at least it should be put on administrative hold for a while until it’s shown to be safe to let out in public.

  11. Spider Robinson once infamously wrote a Callahan’s story for Analog that had some folks canceling their subscriptions for not being science fiction.
    Premise was a time traveller who traveled forward at the normal rate, but isolated from all news and cultural changes over the span of IIRC fifteen years. A priest locked up and forgotten in a third world pest hole then released and returned to the US. Basis of the story was the huge disconnect in the man’s mind over in the greater scheme of things was really a rather short period.
    Quite a fascinating little tale actually. Served to point out how very much of what we take for the natural order of things is because we are all immersed in the process. Take us out then pop us back in a different point of the time stream and things can be very very different.
    I can also recall more than one tale of the sleeper wakes variety with much the same theme.

  12. I beginning to feel for some time now that after the last 70 years or so, that societies are “Regression toward the mean” and it’s going to mean different things to different nations, I hope that for the good old U.S.A it’s a return to “the Good Old U.S.A”.

  13. Yes – to your question about the fight climax. Plus my head isn’t right right now either. I finally fell asleep this morning and slept four hours. Sometimes a good sleep helps.

  14. These days when I am confronted with some Prissy Britches child of the upper-middle in a swivet because “Patriarchy” or “Privilege”, I am old enough, ugly enough, and rude enough to tell them “You were born in the West and in the 20th Century. By historical standards you would have to lose two limbs and your sight to have anything to whine about”.

  15. Then you have the Louis L’Amour books; where the fight scene went on for several pages, detailing each fake and punch. I wonder if he enjoyed writing them more than the readers enjoyed reading them??

  16. Mostly OT: Marvel announces changes for Captain America

    Continuing the theme of Marvel’s apparent inability to write a compelling new character (or take an existing character fitting the bill and write compelling stories), and thus the need to graft onto a successful pre-existing character. (No doubt going a long way toward tanking such success.)

    1. They’re about to get as bad as DC. I still can’t quite get used to Nick Fury as an African-American. That’s what I get for starting with “Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandoes.”

      1. Nick Fury doesn’t throw me too badly, mostly because Jackson does a nice job in the role. Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm and Kate Mara as Sue Storm might toss me outta the ring, though.

        I think I’m probably most irritated by the lazy writing on display. And the lazy thinking. “Look! Genital/skin color change! All new and tots different!”


        1. Over on io9 they’re lamenting the lack of diversity in the Marvel Universe.


          All I can figure is that they expect a genre that was created for boys with a spare dime or quarter to suddenly become totally PC. And they’re upset because it’s not fulfilling their expectations for having transgendered Asian midgets.as main characters.

          There is a LITTLE bit of realization that Marvel needs to make money to keep making movies – but they haven’t really connected that with the popularity of the characters. They’re convinced a pot’o’message and diversity NOW is much more important than such silly stuff as economic viability of a franchise or studio..

            1. I think some of them DO buy the comics, actually. But the print runs for such are decidedly niche items – apparently it’s the rare comic that’s seeing as much as 20k. Makes Analog’s print run look positively healthy in comparison…

              1. I dunno — they made the Thor* announcement on The View. Does anybody think even one tenth of one percent of that show’s audience buys comics for their kids, much less for themselves?

                Do you think any woman who buys comics watches The View outside of a doctors’ office waiting room?

                *This puts a whole new cast on the joke about Thor that culminates in “You’re thor? I can hardly walk!”

                1. I was upset (REALLY upset) when they killed off one of the flagship characters in the Ultimate universe. I still think it was a mistake. You want him to pass the torch, let him do that. Let him move to Hoboken or Guatemala or something. You don’t have to kill him – let him have a happy ending, a family, ride off into the sunset.
                  Despite me being ROYALLY upset about that, I think the new character they’ve got has been a good thing overall. But like a lot of people, I don’t buy the books so much (every now and then, I’ll pick up a Hawkeye, and I want to catch up on the current run of Guardians of the Galaxy).
                  Now, say, a reissue of Nexus… in e-format… THAT would get my money.

                  And trying to find a link to Nexus, I see that they have exactly that at the Kindle store. ‘Scuse me for a moment…

                  1. Zachary you are a very bad man :-). I have the originals in a box in my closet, but having them on my kindle is VERY tempting. Now what we need are The Badger and American Flagg.

                    1. Just pulled down my OWN Nexus collection, and while I have a LOT of it (some of the early stuff is Nexus Legends reprints, but still…), I’m seeing some regrettable holes. Like 24-39 are missing, but issue 40 is one of my favorite stories anyplace. (SO CREEPY).

                    2. I don’t know whence this comes, but …

                      Mike Baron (co-creator of Nexus, the Badger and the to the Punisher as Frank Miller is to Daredevil) had a column on the Wall Street Journal’s Op-Ed page not long ago, lamenting how the forces of PC are destroying comic books.

                2. I think that was a flagrant attempt to get more women to buy the comic. Let’s face it – your hard-core comic geek will buy it because the Goddess of Thunder will be worth drooling over.

                  The viewership of the View may buy one issue. They won’t be continual buyers, much less likely to subscribe. But the state of the Comic Book World is such that they’ll grab whatever temporary spike they can manage.

              2. A lot of the buying is speculative. You’ll see people buying a half-dozen and putting them directly into the storage bags.

                Obviously, they don’t do that regularly, and the expected profit drops each time they pull it.

            2. The corporate ownership find the product embarrassing and, like maiden aunts advising mothers of small boys on how to dress them, cannot resist pushing ill-suited ideas. The editorial staff at the comics have long since evolved into Sidney Sawyers hoping Auntie will remember them in the will.

              1. Yes.They’re struggling with the deep desire to be relevant, but the field is largely dismissed by the intellectual elites they so desire to impress. They’re jogging down the same track SF/F are on, the things that make the medium powerful and compelling for the core audience are the things most condemned by the assumed aristocracy. In order to achieve acceptance they have to destroy the medium and desert their core audience.

                ‘Course, they achieve neither relevance nor acceptance and they’ve tanked their credibility with the core. The approval they were seeking was never coming because the elites elevate themselves by denigrating everything around them, and they flit from idea to idea with vacuous intensity chasing their own insecure status.

                It’s telling to find the success of the characters on screen lies with when they are most true to the heroic characteristics of their origins. The farther the characters drift, the less interested we are.

                But, I say dance your way to irrelevance and obscurity, destroy your relationship with your audience and poison the well. Tear down the foundations of your own industry.

                It makes room for new blood.

      2. That and Kingpin are actually the two changes I can think of where I didn’t mind then change, because the guy could pull off the right… bearing for the character.

        Part of it may just be that the Fury change was totally elevated fanboy type stuff, for which I am a sucker. (Also avoids the “changed him into a token” issue, since they didn’t make Fury black, they made him Samuel L. Jackson. Different intentions.)

        1. …they didn’t make Fury black, they made him Samuel L. Jackson.

          Nicely phrased. And, I think, spot on. As with Kingpin and Michael Clark Duncan, you had an actor who could bring this outsized character to life. Skin-color was irrelevant.

    2. Blargh! I’m still upset about what they did to Hal Jordan. Make the symbol of America’s might into unmitigated evil? Simon Baz pisses me off. We went from a jet pilot to a Marine to an artist to an auto thief? He’s not only an auto thief, he’s also a wrongly accused Muslim auto thief! Makes me want to kick him in the goolies!

      I want my old fashioned heroes back! Truth Justice and the American Way! Big powerful cars! Gas for less than a buck.

      Grumble mutter hiss!

      1. There is no reason whatsoever to keep changing the characters. Instead of changing the characters to fit the new generation, write the characters as the classics they are.

        If they feel all butthurt about the poor misunderstood Muslims, write a new character Muslim man instead of trashing good honest American characters like Green Lantern. I have no problem with them changing from a jet pilot to a Marine. But trashing the guy? Like they couldn’t just retire, cripple or kill the guy off!

        1. They’ve tried to make new, interesting and fan-successful characters.

          The latest ones I can think of are Gambit and Static– early 90s– and Static is mostly popular because the later show was really well done. When they’re built around Being A Token, they suck. Shocker.

          I’m still upset they turned Beast into a kitty cat. It’s as tone-deaf as making Nightcrawler half demon and never really Catholic– it totally misses the point! He’s brilliant and looks like an ape, you idiots…
          Also, now he looks like that TV show “Beauty and the Beast” dipped in blue egg dye. Put him next to

      2. It’s that stupid tradeoff thing that has infected so many things. You can’t be a hero without having a negative to “balance” it out. It’s even enshrined in the rules for the Marvel Superheroes game. If you want to have a powerful character, you have to buy a lot of your Hero Points by taking on negative attributes.

        1. Let’s see… what was that movie a few years back? With Will Smith?

          Ah, ‘Hancock’. Incredible super powers, really bad case of negative attributes, up to and including alcoholism.

          1. Yeah, but Hancock was a fallen character, and the story was in pursuit of redemption. While it was played for laughs, it wasn’t the natural state of the character to be a drunken ass.

            A lot of heroes being written today are cast in the most anti of the anti-hero, without any hope of redemption. Which can be a powerful story, done write, and a major drag done the way most of them seem to be…

  17. I want my old fashioned heroes back! Truth Justice and the American Way! Big powerful cars! Gas for less than a buck.

    Oooo — big cars and cheap gas!!

    I’m trying to write the “Truth, Justice and the American Way” characters. It’s surprising how often modern cynicism creeps me and makes me doubt myself.

      1. Nesting fail is a pre-occupational hazard. We need a way to “turn the corner” when a conversation hits the wall (although we ought not overlook the benefit of the right-hand wall as encouragement to terminate tedious troll conversations.)

        One major factor to consider with comic book “relaunches” — it is a dying industry yet one with great vitality. Paradoxical? Yes. Comic books exist now primarily as a licensing source for motion pictures, TV series and fast food give-aways. The readership has largely ceased to exist.

        Used to be that a comic book’s sales were HUGE if they sold 100K issues (keep in mind that back in the Golden Age sales of 1,000K issues were common. I gather from recent articles about the Archie “event” that recent issues of that character’s primary comic failed to exceed 3 thousand.

        Sure, super-hero books undoubtedly sell more — but probably not enough more to sustain the industry. I expect few comics routinely sell as many than 50K issues. The licensing rights to the characters are where value resides, rights which must be translated into other fields of entertainment to capitalize on that value.

        It must be very frustrating for comics creators and publishers to know that their work is generating such wealth and public awareness and to know they get at most a dribble of it.

        Meanwhile, the proliferation of multi-issue stories (which are to be collected in graphic novel form) and the high price of individual issues (are they still cover-priced at $2.95?) means that to actually get a whole story requires an expenditure of $17.70 or more, especially if the last issue is a “double-sized” comic. Comics publishers have abused their readership for years, exploiting their OCD characteristics by multi-part cross-overs, alternate covers and pre-bagged comics that suffer a drop in collectible “value” if the buyer opens and reads it.

        Stunts are all they’ve got left.

        Sadly, the SF/F industry seems determined to adapt this marketing philosophy to their product.

        1. Last time I looked at the spinner rack at Borders, they were running $2.99/$3.99, and terribly thin.

          And then Borders went bankrupt. I don’t associate the comics with that, though…

  18. I have real paralysis about writing the end. It’s so important I can’t possibly get it right. (Also, then I’ll be in revisions. Ugh) One thing I figured out in my capacity as a reader, is that you need to slow the important bits down so that they are experienced fully. Also, when I read Dwight Swain he advocated this clearly. I don’t mind writing the wrapping up bit after the climax. That’s just fun.

    1. [Y]ou need to slow the important bits down so that they are experienced fully.

      This is one I see missed a lot in my reading. There (should be) a lot invested in the climax when it arrives, and much emotional payoff to be had. Often, we get the build-up, and the tension balanced just right and — okay! That’s outta the way, let’s go have breakfast! Hmph.

      I do think there’s tremendous difficulty in balancing the goals, drawn out too long and the emotional energy dissipates. Cut short, and the investment in the book seems cheapened. But, as a reader I really want to spend some time dwelling at the peak, and savoring the intensity.

      Aside: I pondered (briefly) a way to phrase the discussion without bumping up against innuendo, but the alternatives just weren’t satisfying. If your brain takes you down a charged path…

      1. I think you did rather well–much better than the first three things that popped into my head when I wanted to ask Sarah a question about drawing things out.

      2. “Cut short, and the investment in the book seems cheapened.”
        This. You feel a little cheated.

        1. Yeah, I’ve had more than one book with fantastic build-up, and really good denouement, I find myself quite happy with where the characters find themselves. And still I feel cheated.

          Even though everything was brought together, and the culmination and resolution is clear, it’s given such short-thrift and it taints the book.

      3. I picked up Dwight Swain’s book on Sarah’s recommendation here or at MGC. There’s lots of good stuff in it. For the very important scenes, which, of course, includes the ending, he says to make every bit of the scene clear. You can spend a paragraph on one blow if you are conveying useful and necessary information.

          1. No. You may not. It has been caught by the dirty minds of the other commenters and is now being batted around back and forth with immense glee, which will eventually show itself in comments.

            They are something, aren’t they? 😉

            Also, that’s what SHE said.

            1. I know that’s the format for much modern romance. In fact a paragraph for one blow might be a little light…

              Certainly romance is a good genre to read for the technique of laying out your broad strokes a page at a time.

                  1. [looking around] Now where the heck am I going to put a whole barrel. I really only need one fish for a certain individual.

                    1. What? You have problems with talking about “technique” and “laying out broad strokes” in reference to Romance novels?

                      In other news, they’ve come up with a new “Reality” show: Naked Dating.

                    2. I can store that barrel for you. Keep the fish on hand and ready to dispense. Nominal fee, insignificant, really.

                    3. I can see a real potential for conflict of interest here. And it’s not just theoretical.

                    4. Nah, we have clear separation of our professional obligations and our personal risks. Our customers have never noticed any conflict.

        1. Yeah, I’m enjoying Swain’s book. Would it be odd if this become my guilty moment book? You know, the one I pick up and read a few pages of when I really should be doing something else?

      1. Do you then go back and make it more complete? I’m thinking the end of Witchfinder didn’t feel rushed.

  19. I think in writing I like building up to the Confrontation, but rarely enjoy writing the Confrontation itself. Maybe it’s just because, as the song goes, “I like the tension (the tension and the spark)” and so resolving tension’s just something that Must Be Done, not enjoyable in itself. This applies mainly to antagonistic tension. Romantic tension I have less problem resolving. (Though I do find it annoying as a fan how quickly some really wonderful romantic tension is resolved sometimes. But sometimes I gather that’s to make it clear that the characters are meant to be together and not, y’know, with Sidekick, Best Friend, or Minor Antagonist.)

  20. For me, the Climax is usually the easiest part of the story… it’s the 1/4 of the book right before it that usually messes with me. Very often the climax is what has defined the idea for me, and everything else is getting there in a way that will make sense to someone other than me.

    1. A technical point: boosting Sarah’s sales figures alerting fans of an opportunity to read new material by our esteemed hostess is NEVER off topic here.

  21. Totally off topic, copying and pasting what I just put elsewhere…. sorry, but it’s a good half hour after my bedtime, and if I hadn’t been on the phone with family about this fire adn then writing this I wouldn’t still be up, but I wanted to make sure folks here heard about it too.

    Sorry again for wall of text.


    You may have heard about it– I did, on Townhall Radio. Usually, I’d start making jokes about how they murdered the names of everything except for Carlton, but it’s really not funny– there’s at least a dozen buildings lost, several haystacks, unknown number of animals. When I say “buildings,” I don’t mean sheds– I mean houses and full sized barns. They turned off the only power line to the valley for at least four days, so that they can try to keep the fire from destroy it. (There is a facebook page for those with smartphones, though.) One store in Twisp is entirely out of fuel, and the other is limiting itself to emergency only. As a bonus, Winthrop Rhythm and Blues is this weekend, and they are not canceling it.

    At 8:30 I heard KOMO announcing that the Okanogan county sherif would be coming on ask the officials in other counties to please help, because they were evacuating Pateros and didn’t have anything like enough people to do so. I don’t know what he said, because I called my family.

    They’d told me days ago that they were angry at the Forest Service and DNR because this whole thing was an attempt to get more money; I assumed it was cynicism.

    It was a reasonable assumption based off of listening to the public scanner and hearing a team that was on site when the fire was small– less than a one acre grass fire– twice ask permission to try to stop it, and twice get a bored, flippant reply that they were not to try to get ahead of the fire. Leave it alone. Do not head off the fire.

    I just heard the radio say that they are also evacuating the hospital in Brewster, and had a clip from a guy who said there are several houses on fire in the town of Pateros.

    I hope that woman is charged, and is billed for the losses, and if anyone dies or is seriously injured she should go to jail for a long, long time. If she was “just following policy,” then those who made the policy should be charged.

    1. Why wouldn’t you want to get ahead of a fire? An acre isn’t nothing, especially if it’s ablaze.

      1. Funding.

        If you put out a fire when it’s fairly small, you don’t call in any extra crews, you don’t get to hand out contracts, you don’t get to take pictures of a huge swath of land black and flaking and say “see? See? We need more money.”

        Plus, fire is natural. And if fire takes off grass, they don’t have to allow cows in– they can even bar people. (until mushroom season, then suddenly erosion isn’t a problem anymore.)

    2. The news this AM suggests that Pateros is a total loss. There’s a reason you need both controlled burns when things are right, AND to jump on top of things when the conditions are not favorable. We (Texas High Plains) have been very, very fortunate this year – only lost part of one small town thus far.

      1. And after nearly a month of of 90+ degree days with no rain, and a 20 mph wind, is NOT favorable.

        I’ll have to ask my mom if it’s one of the areas that they’ve been removed from because it’s “overgrazed.” I know it’s taken out the area we do use, but it didn’t start on our areas…..

        1. This makes me feel heartsick. Glad you didn’t lose anybody, but this kind of destruction that didn’t need to happen makes me feel sad and furious.

          Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

          1. Town is now under level 2 evacuation orders… and the tourist trap next door is having a Rhythm and Blues festival, and has apparently been deleting any information about how close the fire is to the event. (It’s not DIRECTLY threatened, but about half the valley has been burnt, including at least 35 homes at last count. The entire town of Pateros is gone except for the high school and a couple of little houses next to the river.)

            1. I gather this is in the vicinity of your parent’s ranch, since it seems like you said they lost some land. Is your family okay? Is their house in the path?

              Prayers and well wishes.

                1. Pulling hair out. Walking in circles. You know the drill.

                  Bonus, they were supposed to be visiting us this weekend, leaving there on Thursday night….

              1. Far as I know, they’re OK, and their paranoia means the cows are OK, but… there’s at least 35 houses burnt to the ground, I don’t know how many are seasonal, but at least one is year-round. (this lady: http://www.gofundme.com/bs6y80?pc=fb_cr )

                Can’t reach them by phone, because all the circuits are busy. 911 is down.

                They’re ready to drive the cows and vehicles into the nice and wet hay field, and by now mom has the “important stuff” packed, but mostly I’m wishing I could DO something. Instead I’m some two hundred miles away as the crow files, watching social media and news reports.

                The only way they’re likely to be hurt is if they’re trying to help someone save their animals.

                1. Thoughts and prayers.

                  I hope all turns out OK. I have an inkling of the frustration, here’s hoping news is forthcoming.

                  1. Got a call this morning that started out “we are FINE,” which nearly made my heart stop (since that usually preceeds “…but the house burnt down” or something) but it was just to say that yes, the fire map was correct and the COULD now actually see fire, but their back area was being used as a staging ground and she’d borrowed the phone from one of the fire fighters to call and I should alert the phone system and get the word spread on facebook so folks would stop worrying.

  22. As regards sinus problems- I used to live on entex and other decongestants at various times of the year. Then- a young friend introduced me to nasal irrigation. Haven’t taken a decongestant in over 5 years now. I don’t use a neti pot- I use Dr. Grossan;’s nasal irrigator. Something like a waterpik for the nose. Works great. If I get a cold now, I simply increase my use of it. Haven’t suffered cold symptoms for more then 3 days either.

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