August 7th, 2011


In Which We Get Subtext-y (#ROW80)

Or, Trimming The Fat

Less is more. What does that mean, exactly? It was a mantra during my stint in the theatre, in every creative endeavor I’ve touched upon, and it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Mainly because I’ve been reading and viewing a lot of good quality work—well crafted and elegant. Mad Men, so surprising and complexly layered, for instance. Every movement, every word, every set dressing and prop is carefully considered and deliberate as a carefully aimed sword stroke from a master fencer. It’s not ever what you expect, and it’s all lean meat. All the good stuff is in symbolism and subtext. A writer’s mantra is “show, don’t tell” but “less is more” I think applies just as well.

I’ve been experimenting lately with the negative space of words. In art, negative space is a technique used to illuminate a piece’s focus with light and space, rather than the other way around. It’s kind of like chipping away at marble until you reach the masterpiece within the block. It’s a challenge to find a way not just using subtext, but illuminating its layers with the right words, in the right way. But it’s fascinating, and highly effective. Near impossible during the rough draft phase, but it’s easier if you begin laying the ground work so it’s ready for polishing when you are. I think if you can do more with less, and still be specific, you’re probably on the right track.

In other news, I received my copy edits for Brighid’s Cross on Friday for any final tweaks (pause for the SQUEE!! heard round the world). Even at this late stage there were still a couple of rough patches in need of smoothing, so I was happy for one last chance to do that. It was only a sentence or two here and there that I’d had trouble with from the beginning, or from more recent revisions. It’s amazing how after I signed my contract seeming nothing happened for three solid months (kind of like a swan—complete calm on the surface and a whole heckuva lotta activity going on underneath), and now everything seems to be going rather quickly, even though the release isn’t until November. (Again with the SQUEE!!)

I also found out my cover art is being designed by Kanaxa, who, in my opinion, is magnificent.

Goals, Goals, Goals:


1.      Big Dang Projeckt:

Pushing forward through the mire of one conflict into relatively still waters before reaching the next quagmire. There’s a scene I’ve been dying to write between FK and the Minstrel, where all this subtext business will come in handy. It’s also another chance for me to do a little world-building, always fun. Also, there’s the anticipation of another appearance by an antagonist or two, and a big, morale-boosting party ending in tragedy.

2.      Keepers #2:

With the anticipation of Keepers #1 going into production soon I’m eager to take what I’ve learned about the process and apply it to the second book. I’ve got a new opening scene fraught with peril, and introductions in the bag. Now I have to gear up for First Encounter and Inciting Incident. I need to further develop the world I started in Brighid’s Cross, however New Orleans at the cusp of the apocalypse must be a very different place from London in the same time period. Really different.

3.      Operation Karma:

On Monday I’ll pull another first chapter from the Online Writing Workshop so I can review it and write a critique to post on Saturday. And, of course, there’s the matter of tagging my 8s for today’s check-in. (Hey, 8s! Tag! YOU’RE IT.)

Time to check in on your fellow ROW-ers. Go on, then. I’ve got work to be getting on with.