inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #51 of 70: Heading towards an ominous ending with lots of rabbits (rjs) Sun 6 Apr 03 10:28
    
(tftp)
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #52 of 70: Kelly Link (kellylink) Sun 6 Apr 03 12:39
    
>Name three of your favorite writing rules -- and if you can think of
them, where and why you like to break them.

Well, for example, show don't tell. Telling is harder to pull off than
showing -- as a style -- so it's easier most of the time to show. But
sometimes it's more fun, and more appropriate to tell. You just have to
think about what you're doing, and why. 

Telling the reader something is intrusive -- it's bossy. It's
old-fashioned. But it's one of the ways that you can choose to tell a
story. For that matter, telling the reader that you aren't going to
tell them something is also a perfectly reasonable ploy. Pat Murphy and
Karen Joy Fowler use a sentence from Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan
books -- "Ask not how Tantor [the elephant] and Tarzan became friends."
 Possibly I'm mangling that sentence, but anyways, you can see how
satisfying it can be to tell/not tell.

My personal unofficial writing rule since I started reading slush is
that writers should abstain from mentioning the eye color and hair
color of their characters, and from all scenes where characters look
into mirrors and check themselves out.  I'm very tired of reading
manuscripts where characters have gem-colored eyes: jade, amber, etc.
Frequently the writer has spent too much time color-coordinating  the
hair, eyes, and outfits of various characters, and not enough time on
prose-style. It's like reading a J. Crew catalog, or a wine list.

A good, general rule is just to read your work out loud, to hear how
it sounds. I can't think of any reason to break that rule.
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #53 of 70: Martha Soukup (soukup) Sun 6 Apr 03 12:44
    
Even when the writer tells me eye color etc. I rarely think about it while I
continue to read about the character.  On the other hand I wonder if I'm
terribly off the chart in that regard, and if readers of my stories are
going nuts at how rarely I describe their clothing.
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #54 of 70: Kelly Link (kellylink) Sun 6 Apr 03 12:51
    
>What are you reading this week?

Jerusalem Poker by Edward Whittemore
Pavane by Keith Roberts
Kissing in Manhattan by David Schickler
In the Forests of Serre by Patricia McKillip
"Frankenstein's Daughter" by Maureen McHugh (on Scifi.com)
Problem Child -- Lori Selke's new zine

And I'm listening to Kathleen Edwards, the new Rilo Kiley cd, and  The
Mendoza Line

oh yeah, and we're watching The Young Ones.  I like watching bad
movies because there aren't enough good ones.  "Ghost Ship" had a
horrible, grisly opening scene (my stomach still hurts whenever I think
about it) and after that, it was good, spooky/cheesy fun -- an EC
comic, with an EC comics ending. So far, I love all horror-at-sea
movies -- "Beneath" was great, and so is "Deep Rising." (i love Famke
Janssen  -- i wonder, is there any chance she's related to Tove?) I'd
even argue that movies like "Alien" are as much horror-at-sea movies as
they are haunted house movies.  ("Pitch Black", for sure.)
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #55 of 70: Kelly Link (kellylink) Sun 6 Apr 03 12:57
    
>Even when the writer tells me eye color etc. I rarely think about it
while I continue to read about the character.  On the other hand I
wonder if I'm terribly off the chart in that regard, and if readers of
my stories are going nuts at how rarely I describe their clothing.

Me too. I think it's a reader-to-reader specific preference, or
fetish. I think reading is a fetishistic act (is that a word?) in any
case, but kind of eye-color/hair color writing that I'm talking about
always makes me think I'm going to get a porn scene next.
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #56 of 70: Martha Soukup (soukup) Sun 6 Apr 03 13:31
    
I realize that what I wrote above sounds like readers would expect me to
describe the readers' clothing.
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #57 of 70: Gavin Grant (gavingrant) Mon 7 Apr 03 11:33
    
Anyone who wants to send the complete Young Ones on DVD to us will be
profusely thanked. We watched three BBC videos with 3 episodes each on
them (in either two or three days...lots of violence and random
swearing at our house). Most of the violence and swearing is directed
at the squirrel who has worked out how to eat birdseed from bird feeder
which is protected with a "squirrel-proof cage." Wonder if that was
guaranteed to keep squirrels away, because I have the photos to prove
it doesn't work. The squirrel has black anthracite eyes and grey fur
the color of, um, squirrel fur.
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #58 of 70: Gavin Grant (gavingrant) Mon 7 Apr 03 11:37
    
On horror movies and stories: the endings often let down the good
buildup. 

Films like The Ring and even The Sixth Sense stand out because the end
is not the expected comfortable fiction  where the bad monster is
cleaned out from under the bed and the world is safe for bedroom
slippers once again. 

Why is so much horror written to be comforting?
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #59 of 70: Gavin Grant (gavingrant) Mon 7 Apr 03 11:38
    
Aha! So, you're reading zines. Any others you've enjoyed? (Take a look
at the stack on the top of the boookshelf in the office if you can't
remember.)

Snow snow snow. Ice age is coming.
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #60 of 70: Valdemar Francisco Zialcita (dextly) Tue 8 Apr 03 17:35
    
A quickie (and a half):

Kelly and Gavin, your new house sounds very nice, but ... why did you
leave Brooklyn?  And do you miss it?
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #61 of 70: Kelly Link (kellylink) Wed 9 Apr 03 11:28
    
>Kelly and Gavin, your new house sounds very nice, but ... why did you
leave Brooklyn?  And do you miss it?

We both miss Brooklyn a ton.  At the moment, we both have bad colds,
and so I'm missing the chicken soup from an Israeli deli up on 51st
street, in Manhattan, near 10th Ave. Every chance we get, when we go
back for work, we eat dinner or lunch at Grand Szechuan International. 
I really miss browsing for CDs at Other Music, and at Kim's. And I
miss friends.

On the other hand, we had over 3 tons of books in storage while we
lived in Brooklyn.  At night, this skunk comes up and looks in the door
of our work studio, and then goes underneath the house. We're closer
to Oishi, in Sudbury, MA: my favorite sushi restaurant.

I've never stayed in one place for very long -- when I was a kid, we
moved every few years. So leaving Brooklyn didn't feel all that
strange.  What will feel strange is when we stay put, here.
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #62 of 70: Kelly Link (kellylink) Wed 9 Apr 03 11:33
    
>Films like The Ring and even The Sixth Sense stand out because the
end is not the expected comfortable fiction  where the bad monster is
cleaned out from under the bed and the world is safe for bedroom
slippers once again. 

>Why is so much horror written to be comforting?

I completely disagree, by the way. Horror movies and horror fiction
don't usually have tidy, comfortable ends, any more than any other kind
of fiction -- i think ends in general are the most problematic parts
of fiction, because they don't match up with how life works. 

I don't agree about horror being written to be comforting, either.
There are cosy kinds of ghost stories, just as there are cosy kinds of
mysteries. One aim of fiction is to comfort, and another aim is to
unsettle. The kind that makes the most sense does both.
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #63 of 70: Kelly Link (kellylink) Wed 9 Apr 03 11:37
    
>Aha! So, you're reading zines. Any others you've enjoyed? (Take a
look at the stack on the top of the boookshelf in the office if you
can't remember.)

I'm trying to get a short, weird story written for Christopher Rowe's
zine, Say... I love the zine Peko Peko (which is all about food.)

Meanwhile, as Gavin says, it's snowing, and we both have colds.
Tonight we go up to Peabody, MA, for a reading and book group. I don't
have much of a reading voice, but at least I don't have to sing.
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #64 of 70: The Phantom of the Arts Center (tinymonster) Wed 9 Apr 03 18:39
    
Get well, you two!
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #65 of 70: Gavin Grant (gavingrant) Thu 10 Apr 03 05:55
    
I refute that I have a bad cold. I am bravely teetering on the edge of
a cold and refusing to give in. This portion of the story is called
"Vitamin C never tasted so good, Or, It's All About the Garlic."

The Peabody book group thing was fun. Long-time and a few new members.
Everybody had read Stranger Things Happen, and they all had strong
opinions. 

One of the things that came up was endings (which brings me back to
what we were talking about before -- I'd love to have as many epiphanic
(keep you mind out the gutter!) moments in regular life as there are
in short stories. (Do short story protagonists laugh at novel
characters for the amount of words it takes to get there?) 

Without asking a stupid general question (I'll get back to those
later), what can we do about endings? How can they be made easier? (Oh,
wait, generalizing.) Try that.
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #66 of 70: The Phantom of the Arts Center (tinymonster) Thu 10 Apr 03 20:09
    
Zinc, man.  Lots of zinc.







(For the cold, not the endings.)
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #67 of 70: Angus MacDonald (angus) Thu 10 Apr 03 22:33
    

Maybe. Even if it works, chewing zinc is worse than most colds.
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #68 of 70: Martha Soukup (soukup) Fri 11 Apr 03 16:14
    
Well, this went fast!  Thanks, Kelly and Gavin.  Officially, this interview
is over, and you can sequoister yourselves in a tub of chicken soup.

But you're more than welcome to stick around!
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #69 of 70: Gavin Grant (gavingrant) Sat 12 Apr 03 08:34
    
Thanks, Martha! -- and everyone else. 

Have been trying this Celestial Seasonings tea with everything (zinc,
vitamin C, and echinacea -- even good endings) and it is great with
lime and honey (most things are, I suppose). Don't usually like their
teas (too sweet) but this was hitting the spot.

Back to the proofing of books. Paul Witcover, the proofreader, is our
collective hero. 

Cheers!
  
inkwell.vue.179 : Kelly Link: "Stranger Things Happen"
permalink #70 of 70: Valdemar Francisco Zialcita (dextly) Mon 14 Apr 03 07:24
    
Good luck with the house, the new book, and many zines to come ...
  



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