strange_aeons: (meh)
536 words sometime between Friday evening and Saturday evening, for a total of 1038 because I had not touched the WIP in a while. I feel like I may have finally cracked this thing, but I keep feeling that way and then discovering I'm wrong, so we'll see. I have no momentum yet, and that's bad. I also can't write while making scarves, so I may not get any until after Christmas.

I keep worrying about how much more trouble the beginning of this thing is giving me than the beginning of Life did, and having to remind myself that -- well, (a) I think I had to rewrite the first scene of Life at least once; it was just so long ago I don't remember. (b) Even if I didn't have to blank-screen Life itself at any point, the first scene was originally an isolated vignette, and even the characters who weren't in that vignette had been around in some form for a while. Of course I'm having trouble hearing these people's voices: I've never met any of them before. Also, almost everyone in this scene is a nonverbal tentacle monster.

There's a vibrancy I'm missing, and it took me a while to figure out what it is: Wakefield is not as fun a perspective character as Rook was, because Wakefield is not cranky. Rook was a cranky, cranky man, and his crankiness manifested itself as narration that crackled with jokes and sarcastic observations; Wakefield, on the other hand, has numbed himself to almost everything but his job, so what I get is mostly 'neutral speculation'. I suspect that the problem is not that the resulting narration is actually boring, but that I'm not comfortable when I'm not cracking jokes. Between that and the fact that the early stages of the plot are driven mostly by the actions of Nishimura and Taste of Copper, I spent some time recently in nail-biting anxiety about Wakefield having no opinions and no agency. I've been thinking about passive protagonists a lot lately, between devoting entirely too much of my brainpower to analysis of Twilight and then reading this; I get paranoid. Then I remembered that basically the first thing Wakefield does is save someone who just nearly shot him from death by falling while he's in the process of bleeding to death because he has strong opinions about whether it is appropriate to leave people to die. And then he goes to her husband's funeral because that's what you do, you honor the motherfucking dead. Okay, point taken. You have a personality.

Also, I have word of a scene much later in which Nishimura is going to accuse Wakefield of taking sexual advantage of a pair of innocent tentacle monsters. So there's that to look forward to. Actually, some of the shit that Wakefield is going to do later is so weird that I wonder if it will become difficult to keep him sympathetic. He never actually has sex with a tentacle monster, though, as far as I know. He still seems quite asexual.
strange_aeons: (snow)
I have written -450 words since my last update on the subject. At this point a blank screen rewrite is incredibly dangerous, because if I'm not careful I'll wind up rewriting the same five hundred words until I'm too senile to remember where I was planning to go anyway, but I'm orders of magnitude happier with what I have now than with what I had then. I'm not sure even I would have kept reading. I have a better handle now on everything -- universe, characters, mechanics of what's happening in this scene -- and have figured out how to open with a scene in which, while what is going on is bizarre, the perspective character has done it a million times and finds it fairly boring, without instantly crashing and burning. (He'll start to find it more interesting when literal people with guns literally jump in through the window and shoot the place up. I'm concerned I'll create a delete-your-first-chapter problem, but this is only going to go on for another thousand words or so, and it contains a lot of information that would be impossible to deliver in an action scene and which the action scene would be uninterpretable without. And the delete-your-first-chapter problem is not one of my issues, in general. And I'm not defensive, so stop looking at me like that.)

The upshot is that the 502 words I have now -- squeezed out in fits and starts since last Saturday; I don't think the daily update thing is going to work for me anymore, given the state of my life -- are impossible to read. There's too much worldbuilding in too small a space, mostly delivered in the form of parenthetic phrases, such that by the time the end of the sentence arrives the reader has forgotten what the beginning was about. Also, the adjectives and adverbs are packed too closely together, and on my workaday prose, that doesn't feel lush, it feels purple. This bit will probably grow 50%-100% in revision. Terrifying. Still, much better.

Also, I have written possibly my most confusing-out-of-context sentence ever.

Scent of Water was approaching Wakefield, trailed by the other four members of its menage in ascending order of their ability to quickly disentangle themselves from its personality; Fiveness had hardly budged, but Nostalgia was practically on Water's heels.

Put that in your brain and smoke it.

The way the character dynamics are working out in this thing, it may very well fail the Bechdel Test, the Ledhceb Test and what I just named the Bedlech test via a completely random and innocent scrambling of letters, success conditions for which are:

  1. It must contain at least two male and/or female characters

  2. Who talk to each other

  3. About something other than a nongendered or genderqueer entity

I'm cheating, of course. As someone points out in the thread I linked to, the Bechdel test ceases to function in the presence of such characters. Nishimura seems to be the only one with a romantic subplot coupon -- Wakefield appears pretty much asexual and may be a virgin -- and is probably going to redeem it with the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter, which would mean passing the Bedchel Test at least, but at this point I don't think the Mad Scientist or Nishimura's friend the male-identified revolting monster have anything to say to either each other or Wakefield that isn't about one of aforesaid women or one of several sexless creatures.

In other news, I am not to be trifled with while I'm recovering from a Ren Faire drunk:

[ profile] oneironaut says, "Hmm. Cladistically speaking, birds are reptiles. I've never eaten one of your conventional scaly reptiles as far as I can recall, but when people talk about reptile meat I always get the impression that it's somehow different from mammal meat. Yet your grouse, a reptile, tastes like venison."
[ profile] oneironaut says, "Conclusion: deer are reptiles."
Vinci the Magnificent says, "You're distracting me from my horrible movie, and making the roommate choke on her ice cream."
strange_aeons: (what I get up to in the bathroom)
Today I had the pleasure of struggling to write the first sentence because it's hard to put words together, instead of struggling to write the first sentence because I have no idea what the fuck is going on. Then I finished struggling with the sentence and wrote another 401 words, for a total today of 413.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, [ profile] lilairen!

This is my strangest setting ever. I knew it was pretty weird, but only now that I'm trying to render parts of it in a format that is at least first-draft levels of accessible do I realize how very bizarre it actually is, in much the way that my habits seem only mildly awful and socially unacceptable until I try to explain them to someone else. This thing feels weird and foreign even to me, which is intriguing; usually things out of my own brain feel prosaic to me. It makes me worry that it's full of darlings, or possibly that I have a tumor.