In that grim, frustrating way that’s an inevitable part of writing, I’m having a ball revising and fleshing out Gift of the Ancien. I’m looking at that first novel through the lens of two years of practice and I see long stretches of talking heads intermixed with equally long stretches of telling, with not very much in between. It’s very satisfying to realize how much I’ve learned and to be able to apply it to my novice work. When I reached that point, a year or so ago, of realizing that what I thought was the ending was just the door to the rest of the story, it was with a sense of “Oh no. Now I have no idea how it’s supposed to end.”
Now, I know that most of my stories stumble over that problem, and I’m learning to accept it as an important feature of my writing. It’s hellaciously frustrating to have to choose between endings, but in real life, people have to make difficult choices more often than they can just stroll from step A to step B, and so on until they get to the perfectly logical final step. Knowing that doesn’t make it any less frustrating, but it does give me a perspective from which to look back over the story and figure out if I’ve neglected something vital to making that decision. That probably isn’t how most writers handle plot holes, absent or unclear motivations, or the myriad of details that go into making choices. But it works for me. It has to, apparently, since it chose me rather than the other way around.
On the amused-by-spam scale, today has been a very good day. Even though the amusement level has slid from “What a cheery way to start the day” to “Can’t you find something a bit more original? It’s getting a bit tedious here.” The primary source of amusement is that all the spam is directed at two chapters of Privileged Lives. Yes, folks, I’m being told how appreciative folks are of the advice I’m giving, how interesting the topics are, along with promises to take that advice and use it wisely, etc. I’m also being given advice, thank you very much, on how to improve my SEO placement, and kindly hints that they can help me raise my standing on the web if I’ll just toddle over to their site.
Have you ever paused before deleting a spam message, wondering if it does have some tiny relevance to the subject at hand? When you get dozens of these variations on ultimately boring themes directed to pure fiction, it’s the proof, also ultimate, that these slimy parasites don’t even bother to look where they’re trying to put their mud-covered shoes. It’s probably all automated, so they aren’t even aware that Akismet makes sure they don’t get so much as a toe in the door.