'Singing My Sister Down' online
[login/password no longer necessary]
Because talking is hard enough without all those 'st's
One thing I've realized since then is that writing is a sport too; it takes conditioning. You have to write every day to build your sentence-level craft. You have to write your way out of hundreds of plot-tangles and character breakdowns to develop sufficient problem-solving reflexes. And until you've written a novel in one focused stretch, you can't build up the muscles it takes to keep 80,000 words of plot and character arcs in your head, which is a hard, hard thing to do.I would probably change that "every day" to something wishywashier like "a whole lot" or "heaps, and maybe every day for a few good stretches of time", but apart from that I'm with him.
The writing is stunningly beautiful, the stories sometimes piquantly observant. But Lanagan's sense of rhythm and mine don't mesh. I see where her beats fall, and then she carries the story on after the kicker, as if she doesn't quite know how to arrange things so that the necessary information falls before the final downbeat, or as if she doesn't quite trust the reader to get the epiphany (all her stories in this are epiphantic rather than climactic, if you know what I mean) without having it 'splained. Also, after a while, though the situation of each story was interesting and unique, they all started to sound alike to me: character walks through brief, interestingly-worldbuilt situation. Character undergoes epiphany. Narrative explains epiphany. fin.Sigh. I guess I'll just have to settle for doing stunningly beautiful and piquantly observant.
...is a powerful beast, encompassing clowns and angels, dreams and nightmares — mostly nightmares. She writes with wit and detachment, and a certain exuberant ruthlessness.Yeah, so watch yerself. :)
Two foster-brothers came upon them in that night. Long pale naked streaks they were, with staring pale eyes and ragged skirts made out of gum blossoms that covered neither their sex nor their bottom. They bent above the children and made their vague noises, and straightened their knobbed wooden bowl hats.
But a good short story, a really good one, is deceptively difficult to write. Which is why Black Juice such an outstanding collection. Because every single story in it is, quite simply, perfect. That's what I said: perfect.
‘See? Something is interfering with it,’ said Da, taking the lamp down the steps.When
‘See? Something is interfering with it.’ Da took the lamp down the steps.would work just fine. Somehow I never see myself doing this redundant thing until I reread the draft.