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[personal profile] greygirlbeast
A very, very bad day yesterday. A day that should have been a Day Off, that, instead, became a Lost Day. I did leave the house, but it went very badly. Probably the worst day since this summer. The sky was too blue, too wide, and whatever it is that slams me did so. Fuck, it sounds silly writing about being freaked out by the sky. I know we live in the confessional, transparent age, and we wear our neuroses and infirmities on our sleeves, but I don't think I'll ever do such things with comfort and without shame.

More snow last night.

Today, I go back to work on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I have to try to get Chapter 5 written by the 24th, so I'll have time to switch over and get the digest written. More and more, I feel as if this will be the last book I write for an "adult" audience. Well, the last book I write for me in hopes that it will be read by an "adult" audience. It would be better, I know, to do the best I am permitted to do with the current novel (deadlines and finances permitting), then switch over to novels for young adults. I know now that I can do it. I've found the voice. And, now that I'm reading a fair amount of YA, I suspect that younger readers are more open readers. I am almost ready to say they seem like smarter readers. I'm starting to think that I would encounter less stress writing YA, which is what matters most here. Less stress without sacrificing income.

I would not wish the life of a working writer on my worst enemy.

Okay, that's a lie. I have a vicious streak, and most certainly would wish the life of a working writer on my worst enemy. It's on the list, right after "festering boils."

A razor-sharp crap-shoot affair...

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions.

You know...I just don't think there's any dignified way to end this entry that doesn't involve getting it over with as soon as possible. So, anything else interesting about yesterday? We had takeout from the Palestinian place— lamb, chicken shawarma, baba ghanoush, and the best baklava I've ever tasted (which is to say the only baklava I've ever actually liked). We streamed an unexpectedly good film, Michael J. Bassett's Deathwatch (2002). The title is a little unfortunate, but so is the cover of The Red Tree. Deathwatch is a weird tale set in the trenches of WWI that succeeds by both subtlety and brute force. Definitely recommended. Later WoW, and Shah and Suraa reached Level 84. Liking Deepholm. It's like what Outland might have been, if Outland had been well designed. Later still, reading. I got to sleep sometime after four ayem.

I have one photo from yesterday's abbreviated outing, Ladd Observatory in the snow:





Photograph Copyright © 2011 by Caitlín R. Kiernan

Date: 2011-01-18 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erudite-ogre.livejournal.com
I find that if I am NOT uncomfortable when writing in the confessional mode, I am not really doing anything useful, not purging or reflecting. It has to be more than an act of display to have meaning, and I certainly feel your meaning when you write.

I wonder if there is a shift starting to accelerate in fantastic literature, as more great writers turn to YA because adults often seem either too dim or too closed to engage the difficult works. It also seems that writers who discuss writing YA (Scott Westerfeld and Paolo Bacigalupi spring immediately to mind) emphasize the receptiveness and enthusiasm of younger readers for their work.

Date: 2011-01-18 06:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I find that if I am NOT uncomfortable when writing in the confessional mode, I am not really doing anything useful, not purging or reflecting. It has to be more than an act of display to have meaning, and I certainly feel your meaning when you write.

It's not a question of whether or not I'm comfortable doing it (though, obviously I'm not). It's not a question of whether or not I make myself understood or elicit empathy. It's a question of propriety. None of us should publicly be doing this. It's ugly and undignified.

I wonder if there is a shift starting to accelerate in fantastic literature, as more great writers turn to YA because adults often seem either too dim or too closed to engage the difficult works. It also seems that writers who discuss writing YA (Scott Westerfeld and Paolo Bacigalupi spring immediately to mind) emphasize the receptiveness and enthusiasm of younger readers for their work.

I think a lot of us are fed up with the restrictions imposed upon adult genre fiction by readers and by publishers. The strictures are less severe in YA.

Date: 2011-01-18 05:11 pm (UTC)
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
From: [personal profile] sovay
I would not wish the life of a working writer on my worst enemy.

Have some words that maketh murder.

Date: 2011-01-18 06:49 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-01-18 05:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seph-ski.livejournal.com
Is there a difference between YA and general fiction beyond marketing? If you think it might be more profitable and/or enjoyable for you, I say go for it. I'm not sure what's going on in the world of publishing, but I and quite a few of my friends turn to the YA shelves when looking for really good new fiction these days. I'd rather read Neil Gaiman, John Green or Garth Nyx than James Patterson.

Thinking back to my YA years, I was reading Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov, Arther C. Clarke, J.R.R. Tolkien, ..., etc. As were most of my friends. Yes, there's a lot of rubbish on YA shelves, but that seems prevalent everywhere. Just because it's marketed to a younger crowd, it doesn't have to be dumbed down. I often find it's quite the opposite. I think you're right about the younger crowd having a larger percentage of "open readers".

Date: 2011-01-18 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Is there a difference between YA and general fiction beyond marketing?

There is. At least, I see it. For one, characters are younger (teens, early twenties). There's more, but I'm not up to going into it just now.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2011-01-18 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Haven't read much of YA paranormal (or whatever it's called now) fiction,

Stephenie Meyer aside, I don't think YA has been sucked into the PR gutter. Which is not to say that there's not a lot of fantasy; there is.

Date: 2011-01-18 07:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mellawyrden.livejournal.com
That is a vast sky.

Do you think the sea is more comforting, because it's got so much pressure the deeper you go, to hold you in, unlike the sky?

Date: 2011-01-18 07:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Do you think the sea is more comforting, because it's got so much pressure the deeper you go, to hold you in, unlike the sky?

I've thought about this a lot. When I'm at the seam where the sky is enormous, my fear of the sky vanishes. Something about the presence of the sea counteracts it. I don't entirely understand why. Though, I do imagine the sea as a thing with boundaries: the seafloor below and the surface of the sea above. The sky has no boundaries, bleeding away into the gulfs of space with no cleanly demarcated roof.

Date: 2011-01-18 07:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mellawyrden.livejournal.com
That's extremely interesting. I might be romanticising, but always feel the sea is part of us, as it helped make us physically (our circulatory system had to evolve to imitate the sea's motion as we became more complex), whereas the sky is only a kind of lens, and is totally indifferent.

Date: 2011-01-18 07:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

always feel the sea is part of us, as it helped make us physically (our circulatory system had to evolve to imitate the sea's motion as we became more complex), whereas the sky is only a kind of lens, and is totally indifferent.

While I feel much nearer the sea, it would be wrong to believe it's any closer to us than the sky, which we take in and expel with every breath.

Date: 2011-01-18 07:43 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-01-18 07:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashlyme.livejournal.com
Hopefully the YA fantasy market's healthier than the adult one. I'm trying to remember what I liked as a kid: Dahl, Le Guin, Garner, Bradbury and Wells. Wish I'd had Gaiman and Pullman back then, too. Good luck with the change in direction!

Date: 2011-01-18 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Francesca Lia Block gives me hope.

Date: 2011-01-18 07:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] haceldama.livejournal.com
I may be alone in the cornfield here, but every time I consider trying my hand at YA, I always think of works such as THE BUMBLEBEE FLIES ANYWAY, AFTER THE FIRST DEATH, I AM THE CHEESE, and any other work by the late great Robert Cormier. I've know adults who couldn't make it through his books because the subject matter, the characterizations, and the raw, unfiltered emotionality of his stories hit far too close to home. Yet at the same time, I've know teens (13 - 16 or 17) who cannot get enough os his work because it speaks directly to the most intimate hopes and fears they find impossible to articulate to others, even those their own age.

I think your possibly moving to YA is a lightning bolt from the Fates, because your adult work already possesses those same qualities, whether you're writing in a lush, lyrical voice, or a much more straightforward one, such as the one you've been discussing in connection to your current novel (which I for one cannot wait to read). Yes, making a living has to be a consideration regardless of which fictional field you choose to toil in (pardon the sloppy syntax), but it sounds to me (who, admittedly, doesn't know you or those things which fan the flames of your burning creative core) that a move to YA would once again give you the freedom to explore fictional avenues that used to be so rewarding in your adult fiction, but have, perhaps, become tainted by the dimness, impatience, self-imposed shallowness, and generic expectations of both readers and publishers. You'll be walking under a new sky that feels liberating and not threatening (and I know just how you feel about sudden, overwhelming attacks of anxiety when leaving one's house after long periods of avoiding Vitamin D).

You'll triumph in whichever field you choose -- at least for this reader and fellow writer. Shutting up now.

Date: 2011-01-18 07:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I think your possibly moving to YA is a lightning bolt from the Fates

Thank you. At this point, I just hope my agent agrees.

Date: 2011-01-18 08:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spank-an-elf.livejournal.com
Wow, that’s a stunner revelation. I always shy away from books bearing the YA stamp. I’ve never understood the need for it probably since it did not exist during my 1970’s YA phase. To be honest I hated reading books about fellow teens. I owned enough trauma without reading about it. I read fantasy and the fantastic to avoid real life. Yep.

So many great authors have traveled in the YA direction yet I have resisted reading the results. I love Kathe Koja’s novels but I’ve never read her YA work. I adore Elizabeth Hand’s novels but I ignored her first YA novel. That seems like a great place to start to see how that book differs from her others.

When I think about it, Robert R. McCammon’s Matthew Corbett is a YA but the amazing series is not touted as YA. Why? Is it the violence? Yeah, I’m confused. I’ll shut up.

Date: 2011-01-18 09:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com
I read fantasy and the fantastic to avoid real life.

I write it to try to make sense of my own real life.

I love Kathe Koja’s novels but I’ve never read her YA work.

It's good. In some ways, better.

I just don't want to write for so-called adults anymore. The majority of "mature audiences" are anything but.
Edited Date: 2011-01-18 09:53 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-01-18 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kongjie.livejournal.com
My toon is stuck at 81. I developed a RSI in my shoulder/neck from using my left hand to move and fight while looking down at my laptop. It turns out the one thing that can easily derail a WoW addiction is 3 weeks of constant, excruciating sleep-preventing pain.

That being said, I hope once I can play again that the underwater phase ends soon. Getting tired of swimming and that dumb seahorse.

Date: 2011-01-18 10:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

My toon is stuck at 81. I developed a RSI in my shoulder/neck from using my left hand to move and fight while looking down at my laptop.

Honestly, I can't image how anyone plays WoW on a laptop.

Getting tired of swimming and that dumb seahorse.

It sucked.

Date: 2011-01-19 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kendare-blake.livejournal.com
I'd love to see what you could do with YA. I haven't read much of it, which is shameful, I suppose, since I write it.

Looking forward to The Drowning Girl. Hope Hubero wasn't too offended by your attempt on his life the other day.

Date: 2011-01-19 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] catconley.livejournal.com
It would be great if you moved into YA. The YA authors I liked best as a teenager (and still enjoy as a twenty-something) were the authors who were brutally honest about their stories and characters - they didn't shy away from the difficult parts, or let their characters off the hook if they messed up - they let the story and the consequences play out. I appreciate the honesty in your storytelling (including the unreliable narrators) and I think it would really resonate with the YA audience.

Date: 2011-01-19 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] poesillchild.livejournal.com
I turned my back on mainstream adult fiction long time ago. The formulaic stories bored me. That would have been about the time Silk was due to be released. Your work fell in line with the authors I turned to (Brite, Gaiman, Straub, Barker, Bradbury, Marquez, Vonnegut, Ellison).

Recently, the YA shelves (online lists) have drawn my attention.

If you feel the pull of the YA market and a need for a change, go for it. It hasn't hurt the work of many of these authors. Write it, I'll purchase it.

Cheers
Jeff

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

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