I Love This House

Setting is really important to me, both in fiction and in real life, and Atlas Obscura sent me a link to the perfect Crusie house this morning. I’ll never be able to use it in a book because it would take 30,000 words to describe it. The short article points out some of the phallic shapes, but completely misses the vaginal window and the fallopian tube front door. And the Eve figure is fantastic, pretty much what I’m hoping every Crusie heroine feels like at the end of the story. Continue reading

Setting and Placeholders

Sooner or later, I need pictures of my settings. This can be difficult because I’m making stuff up, so I end up doing really sloppy photoshop work. As with all the collages I use, the setting pictures aren’t art work, they’re brainstorming exercises (while I’m working on them) and touchstones (while I’m writing.) The best thing about them is the process: searching for things that feel like the setting (instead of look like the setting), thinking about what the picture needs, the details that my characters would see, the way the environment around it looks . . . all of that helps me get past “It’s a bar on a rainy cobblestone street.”

The book got far enough this week that I really needed the exterior of Hell Bar. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Don’t Look Down

I’ve been writing discovery draft like crazy lately, and it’s always a humbling experience because the first drafts are so bad. I know they’re bad. I know while I’m typing that most of what’s going on the page is going to be deleted or rewritten, but I can’t get to where it’s got to be without starting with discovery. It isn’t even giving myself permission to suck, it’s accepting that whether or not I give myself permission, it’s going to suck. The whole time I’m doing it, I’m getting a much better grasp on the characters and the story (ye gods there are a lot of characters in this story), and I definitely have a better grip on the plot and the setting, but the suckage is still overwhelming. Still, the Discovery Draft mantra is “Don’t look down,” so I’m just sticking with the typing. All of which is to say, the posts this week are going to be crummy or non-existent because this stuff I’m writing is too bad to show even you guys, and you’re used to my discovery drafts. I did figure out how much money Nick has (it involved a compound interest calculator and googling for interest rates at various times in history) and I played around with some of the list you all made, so there’s that: Continue reading

Demon Name Help

No, not names for demons, I have books for that.

I need the kind of cheesy names that businesses use to cash in on an idea. Names for motels and bars and restaurants, names for food and dress styles, names for amusement park games and rides and for shops and . . . well, you get the pictures. Anything that might be found on a tourist-trap island based on the idea that it’s a gate to Hell.

So far I have: Continue reading