Impenetrably Reticent

This is an actual line that can be found in my current working version of Tallulah, my work-in-progress-for-almost-two-years. There’s a big stereotypical girls’ sleepover happening and then boom, there it is, one of them is being ‘impenetrably reticent’.

I can’t stop now. YA needs me.

Working off a hard copy is both good and bad. It’s good because it does actually let me see the work with fresh eyes and attain that critical, objective distance from my work that I want while doing revision, and bad because I didn’t think ahead and leave big enough margins for me to make notes in. I am solving this problem via a Word document and writing on the pages in pen where there is space, and it’s going fine. I’m really quite happy in this line of work, working over lines.

See what I did there?

I got another Gail Simone Wonder Woman comic today, and … I just love Simone’s Wonder Woman. She’s awesome. Hell, I even kinda like the original Wonder Woman, embarrassingly transparent bondage fetish agenda, archaic gender depictions and all. It’s just very … well-meaning, and this could very well be because I’m not affected by the unassuming sexism in the same way as I might be if I were a woman, but after a while I stopped being annoyed (mostly) and found it easier to appreciate the intention behind it all, clumsily-executed as it was, at least by today’s standards. And it’s pretty funny, too. Wonder Woman is pretty sassy.

But seriously, there needs to be a temple built to the glory of Gail Simone or something. If you ever get the chance, read Ends of the Earth. The first story is great, but the second story … there are no words. It’s ridiculous, and it’s awesome, and Wonder Woman is so freaking cool.

Nothing quite like having sentient gorilla knights for sidekicks, either.

It’s the almost-camp tone that makes Simone’s blend of drama and humour work so well, bringing seemingly disparate elements together to form a cohesive and dynamic whole. It’s that gelling of components that I’m noticing not quite happening in my hard copy manuscript – which is good, because I need to know these things, and while I did write over 21k new words for this 86k-word revision, that’s still over three quarters of the same content I had ten months ago. It doesn’t all fit together, and more than that, the different elements of the story don’t fit all fit together.

If anything, the messy continuity due to my copy-and-paste rampage through my draft has now been exacerbated, which makes it all the more obvious, so that’s yet another reason for me to be pleased that I did this really rough revision. Now it’s just a matter of focusing on structure and not getting so caught-up in the writing style or the specificity of events, though of course I’m taking notes.

It occurs to me, though, that trying to have too narrow a focus during a read-through would not be great. Obviously I want some kind of focus so that I know not to ‘worry about’ certain things right this minute because I’ll go back and check for them later, but if I were to go to the extreme and not take any notes at all other than those concerned with structure, would that be counter-productive? I mean maybe it wouldn’t. I know I made very different observations during my two readthroughs of the original manuscript, not taking issue with things the second time through I’d had massive problems with the first time and vice versa. Then again, surely it’s good to have both sets of observation to hand …

But anyway – I’m taking notes, and I’m getting through pretty quick. This big girly sleepover chapter that I felt compelled to write for some reason is not making a particularly strong case for remaining in existence, other than the ‘impenetrably reticent’ line, which I think is rather glorious, but it is making a case for whittling it down to some very specific scenes that would work for the story. It’s a chapter I’ve been very fond of since I wrote it, a fondness equaled only by my anxiety over it, but I believe this is what they call a ‘darling’, and those are things I’m supposed to kill, evidently. And I get it now. I get why they have to be killed. They sit there, looking at you adoringly, and take up space needed for the vital procession of narrative building-blocks to pass seamlessly by in a parade of self-contained resolution.

It’s filler, basically. Kill the fill.

Er.

At least some of it works, and it’s mostly the new stuff I added, so that’s heartening – during this first read-through at least it seems like I am, indeed, fixing some problems with structure and focus in the story, which is exactly what I wanted. So that’s good.

Our house is looking more and more habitable every day, and it’s rather fitting that this should happen less than a month before it gets auctioned off, as well as our massive and utterly unused property section. It’ll be nice to be living in a hospitable dwelling before moving out of it. And seeing as I’ve lived here for pretty much the entire portion of my life that I have memories of, I want to give this place a good send-off. It’s been pretty good to me.

I may even write a story about it someday.

Like as soon as I move, probably. I have rather bad impulse control.

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