Because Bobbie Is the Only One In the World On My Side

18 October 2002

Well. So. Everybody in the whole entire world except for Bobbie (that's Timprov's mom, for those of you who need a scorecard) is against me on this title thing. So fine. Titles it is. And I hope you're happy with yourselves.

See, this is the problem with asking people their opinions: then they answer you.

The neighbors are yelling at each other in the parking lot again. As I'm writing this, it's quarter to eight in the morning. It's not like they're waking me...and it's not like I approve of yelling at your family anyway, especially not in public...but it seems like they could at least wait until nine or ten o'clock.

Ah well. I will be eager to live in either a single-family dwelling or a multiple-family dwelling with different family dynamics than this one has.

The Merc alarmed me yet again. The front page of their Home and Garden section is about a guy who makes bookshelves out of books. That is, he removes the pages, trashes them, fills in the inside with wood, and cuts it to an appropriate size to make a shelf out of it. Ackackackackack. This man is quoted as saying, "I just try to be cautious and not to use things up that people care about." But he finds them at "friends of the library" sales and the like. AckACK. I can look at our shelves and see, from where I'm sitting, at least four books that we bought this year with cries of glee, old hardbounds that talked about eras and topics and perspectives that you can't find reprinted. Things like Where Monsoons Meet and Cloak and Dagger. Things that are hard to find to begin with. And he's buying them to destroy them.

I had better think about something else now.

Aha! Evan has just joined Bobbie. So there are now two people on my side.

Against...hmm...well. That's kind of a lot of you, innit?

I should have included an Animaniacs song on my "songs I can't get out of my head list" the other day. I spend at least two days a week wandering around the house singing, "It's a great big universe, and we're all really puny, we're just tiny little specks about the size of Mickey Rooney...."

So last night Timprov and I had a long, good conversation about work. I always thought that I was a character-based writer, because people divided it up into plot-based, character-based, setting-based, theme-based, and asked which one you came up with first. Well, it's clearly not plot, nor setting, and I shudder at the very thought of starting with theme. So that left character, and that seemed about right.

Until we talked about it at length, and I realized that for all of my novels and novelettes (and many of my longer short stories), I didn't have a character to start with, I had a pair of characters. For Fortress of Thorns, it was Charlotte and Miri; for The Grey Road, Sam and Nicholas; for Reprogramming (which is the closest thing I have to a single main character book), Anton and Moira; for The World Builders, NoŽ and Jonah. And for the Not The Moose, it's Edward and Sohvi in the first half, Avery and Karl in the second half. (It gave me some pause to have two pairs, but I think it'll be okay, and if it's not, I'll split it into two books with the last half going with some of the next book. That's how I'll tell whether it needs to be two books.)

So I write relationship-based fiction.

That makes it sound like it's all romantic. It's not. Some of the novels I have in mind center on best friends, on mentoring relationships, siblings, rivals, whatever. But they all have relationships that may not end up being central to the book but are certainly central to its inception. And the relationships are how things happen for me. I watch the shifting of relationships in the book, and those drive both internal, individual character and external, active plot events. And different relationships are possible in different settings, and they illustrate or form different themes. It's all about relationships.

All right then. Well, now that I know what I'm doing, it's a lot easier to see some of what I need to be doing next.

By which I mean "next on the book," not "in the next minute." Because "in the next minute," I'll be posting the entry, wrapping the banana bread, and showering. And that wasn't hard to figure out at all.

Back to Morphism.

And the main page.

Or the last entry.

Or the next one.

Or even send me email.