Jul. 20th, 2010

greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Warm here in Providence, but not the unbearable heat of last week. I'm not yet certain whether or not I shall need the services of Dr. Muñoz today. Spooky's going to South County to see her sister and mother and her nephew Miles. I'm staying here, at this accursed desk.

And here's one of the sorts of things that make me want to go back to bed. This idiotic "review" of The Red Tree from Amazon:

[1 star] "Ignore the good reviews!," July 18, 2010 (By R. Esposito [Northern Virginia]):

This is one of those books that you keep reading in the hopes that it will get better but just ends up being a complete waste of time. It's not scary on any level. It's just extremely boring. The characters are not very likable, their actions make no sense, the writing is tedious and the dialog is stilted. The "did she go crazy" or "did the tree get her" plot left me only wishing she had come to her demise much sooner. And no that's not a spoiler since she's dead from the start of the book. I not only want my money back, I want the time wasted reading this book back.

Sure, it's obvious the reader is an ignoramus ("the characters...actions make no sense"). And sure, I'm not a "horror writer" and The Red Tree isn't a "horror" novel, and I didn't try to write a "scary" book. Or "likable" characters, for that matter. Is "the writing tedious and the dialog...stilted"? I'm not sure I can tell anymore. So, there you go.

I did have a very small (and likely useless) epiphany on Sunday, one I'm sure I've had before. A writer may study what potential readers like, and she or he may then pander, and struggle to be accessible, and have the common touch, and take workshops, and listen to the advice of those who say they know how to make it work. And still, the odds of success in the literary marketplace are very, very poor. Or, a writer may choose to write what she or he pleases, with no regard for that potential marketplace or accessibility or anything of the sort. And their odds of success in the literary marketplace are very, very poor. From a financial perspective, almost all writers fail. From a financial perspective, almost all books fail. That's a given. There are exact numbers, I just don't have them on hand. Two things may be deduced. One is that the odds of success are not improved (but neither are they hindered) by pandering. And another is that you might as well write what you feel moved to write, because you'll probably fail anyway.

---

The last few days are not quite a blur. I expect I'd be in a better mood if they were. There was no writing yesterday, because there was an afternoon doctor's appointment, and that throws everything into chaos. On Sunday, still ill from insomnia, I did manage to make less of a mess of what I'd written on Thursday and Friday, what I'd dithered over and picked at on Saturday. That is, the beginning of the Next New Novel. We read it over and over again. And I still don't like it. It's just more coherent now. I have no idea what's going to happen with it today.

And I have to look at the transcript of an interview I did while at Readercon.

---

Yesterday, before the doctor, in order to keep my mind occupied so I wouldn't back out of going, I had to do something that was not writing. So, there was no work yesterday. We went to a very early matinée of Christopher Nolan's Inception. This is, simply put, a brilliant film. I honestly have nothing but praise for it. I could heap adjectives and hyperbole, but I won't. It's just brilliant, and needs to be seen, probably multiple times. Yes, it owes a great debt to numerous predecessors, most notably Alex Proyas' Dark City (1998), but it succeeds in being something new, invested with its own power and vision. A great score from Hans Zimmer. This is one of those films I cannot recommend highly enough. And it must be seen on a big screen. And thank holy fuck it wasn't in 3-D.

Then, last night, we watched the Hughes Brothers' The Book of Eli (2009), which was a quite a bit better than I'd expected (all the Xtian nonsense aside). Of course, I went in with no expectations. The cast helped enormously, with people like Gary Oldman, Tom Waits, and a Malcom McDowell cameo picking up any slack there might have been. I'm not sorry I missed it in the theatres, but it's fun, and even a slight bit better than "just fun."

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Thanks.

Now I try to make some sense from this day.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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