Thursday, April 24, 2014

In Other News

I've been having FUN (of all things) taking the old butter knife to the dragon again, which is a perfectly daft response to a request for edits on a manuscript already revised something like four hundred eighty seven thousand times.  But it's a wise response when the request comes from someone of the caliber it came from.

It is also exactly the sort of personal mission which provides rather excellent diversion at a time when ... well, shall we say, Life is doing its thing.  Wielding a butter knife at a thousand-foot fire-breather does take one's mind off certain looming stresses, and I am then doubly grateful, not just for the attention from another great agent (one I don't intend to let slip through my fingers this time, if I can help it) but for the boon of the work itself.

The reason it is fun is that I'm not doing anything to restore old work once scrapped.  I'm reinventing.  I come from the generation weaned on reinvetion (reboots), a generation with a lifetime lease on the word "re-imagine".  Some of what I'm doing, far from being a retrieval or recycling (I am really trying to use all the re-prefixed terms I can in this paragraph ... apparently ...), is entirely new work.

It even struck me that one supporting character, who needs some meat on her bones, is indeed the one secret I've kept all the time I have been working on Ax.  She's the only avatar for myself in the work.  I try not to be the precious, over-invested author, living vicariously in my characters (and making them all talented and beautiful beyond description).  But at some point, I consciously decided that I'd use my own physical description for her, and perhaps some personality.  (Emphasis on the perhaps - I have no musical talent, and lost my ability to sing even with mediocre ability years ago.)

What this work has made me realize is that, because she's the closest thing to me I invested in the work, I *shrank* from giving her a real presence.  This was true even before the revision massive campaign of cuts.  And so, it is liberating to actually give her a smile, a breath, a little scene or two.

I had fun, too, reinventing the tale of Basina and the animals - a legend of Clovis' mother, likely invented long after the fact, meant to evoke the degeneration of the Merovingian dynasty.  I told the tale with an oral cadence, with the lilt of a fairytale; it's a short passage, but it puts BLOOD in the veins of the meat I'm trying to hang on my bones.

Oh dear, and my metaphors are REally getting bent like overworked copper.  Time for me to cease musing, hit save, and proably log off for the night.

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