Hostile Architecture

For somebody who hates to describe things in her writing, I’m a big fan of setting. I think of setting as another character, as context that changes the conflict in a scene, as barriers and enablers, as a huge carrier of theme, so I keep Pinterest boards of pictures I find that evoke setting in the same way that I keep pictures of people that evoke character. That is, just as I’ll have multiple placeholders for a single character because I’m trying to evoke a mood/personality instead of the way somebody actually looks, I’ll have multiple pictures of different places to represent the same setting because I want to evoke what it feels like to be there.

Which brings us to hostile architecture.

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Talk Amongst Yourselves . . .

It’s taking longer for my eyes to come back than I’d hoped, so I’m going off the computer for awhile. If I don’t post much this week, it’s not because I don’t love and respect all of you. It’s because my eyes hurt and I’m a wimp.

Oh, here’s something I’d like to know: What do you want to see on Argh this year? Not making any promises, but you know me, if you leave it up to me it’ll be talking about television shows and moaning about writing Nita.

Six Drafts

Two of my least favorite questions in interviews are “How long does it take you to write a book?” and “How many drafts do you do?” And of course the answers are “As long as it takes” and “As many as I need,” which is no help to anybody. I think the fastest I ever wrote a book was six weeks (Anyone But You). The longest? Well, if I ever finish You Again, that’s already taken me over a decade. I know there are people who do several books a year, books that people love. I assume those people get a head start: they’re natural storytellers, or they’re obsessive about story, or they don’t care about all the stuff that trips me up that has nothing to do with writing a good book. They’re born writers. I was born to crochet and eat chocolate.

But the thing is, it doesn’t matter why those writers can do that. I can’t. There’s no point in gnashing my teeth about it. This is the path I was given as a writer, and just like those speedy writers would not be improved by slowing down, it’s a disaster if I try to speed up. (Really, I’ve tried.) What helps me to accept that is looking at my process (as much as I have a process; that sounds so organized). It goes like this: Continue reading

Rewriting Button

The first time I wrote Button’s scene, I wrote it in Nita’s PoV. But Button has a big role to play in this book, and I need her PoV, plus Nita’s PoV was just more drunk Nita learning things.

The second time I wrote Button’s scene, I wrote it in her PoV, but it was a just-get-it-down-on-paper version. That’s the one some of you read.

This is the third rewrite of Button’s scene, trying to add some layers to her characterization.

It’s not gonna be the last rewrite, either. There’s a lot more to Button that I already know about and I’m going to learn a lot more as I move through the book.

This is why I always laugh when somebody asks seriously, “How many drafts do you do?” “Oh, two, three thousand . . .”

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