A Cautionary Tale

If it should ever happen to any of you that you come up with an idea for a novel when you’re seventeen, write the novel when you’re eighteen, pull something of a strange point of view trick in it, shop it around for a while, thoroughly rewrite it when you’re twenty-one but leave the strange point of view trick in, shop it around some more, sell a different novel and its sequel, come back to the aforementioned novel with its strange point of view trick, and realize that the only way to make the strange point of view trick work is to give one of the characters more point of view scenes earlier in the novel, be warned: this is what you’ll end up with on your library floor.

I’m hoping that having the entire bloody novel laid out, chapter by chapter and scene by scene, in visual format, will help me figure out where I can arrange for the necessary scenes. Because there’s graven in stone, and then there’s what this novel is in my head.

And don’t even get me started on the need for a new title.

0 Responses to “A Cautionary Tale”

  1. gollumgollum

    What…that’s all? (;

    (And hey wait…you wrote *another* book?!1)

  2. sarcastibich

    You’re funny. Good luck with figuring it out.

    I still haven’t read “Doppleganger.” I own it, but other books were ahead of it in the queue. However, I’m almost done with those books, so I should be able to pick it up and read it soon. I’m looking forward to it, having heard good things from others who have read it.

  3. ninja_turbo

    Your level of amazing devotion-bordering-on-insanity to your work is inspiring, yo.

    Good luck. What’s on the slate to be written this year for Summer Novel Cult?

  4. d_c_m

    🙂 It looks like you are starting a quilt.

    Hmmm….. maybe you have started a new trend: Novel Quilts.

    • ninja_turbo

      It’d be like Hyper-text (ala Geoff Ryman’s 253, except with needlepoint.)

      I like. 🙂

      • d_c_m

        DUDE!!! This could so be a quilt!!! I mean, quilters are a wild bunch and they will quilt the craziest things!! This could so work.

        And wouldn’t it be fun to sleep under? 🙂

  5. mallory_blog


    …you do know this picture is a giggler, right?

    I saw it and immediately starter chuckling – is it any wonder they used to routinely stick writers in funny farms for being…weird?

    • Marie Brennan

      Re: writer…insanity

      If I ever start hanging them from the ceiling on little strings like Lévi-Strauss, then you can lock me up.

      • mallory_blog

        Re: writer…insanity

        :::he he:::

        I’ve actually been to a home with two writers who work together (they write romance novels and they have a clothesline that runs around the room on pulleys with index cards clothespinned to the lines. BTW their chairs do NOT face each other and there is a HUGE sign between them that says “SHUT UP” (on both sides) – they communicate via email and the clothesline.

  6. elizaeffect

    Oh, I expect to be there quite soon. It is a silly place. >.>

    (I have this half-a-novel I wrote somewhere between the ages of 16 and 18. One of my possible goals for this summer is to tear the previous drafts into tiny bits and rewrite the entire damn thing.)

    • Marie Brennan

      That’s more what I was doing when I was twenty-one. It requires more work, but in a weird way, I think it’s cognitively easier to completely dismantle and rebuild something than it is to do this kind of twisting side-step with it.

  7. eclectician

    groovy. one thing we learn about in design skool is actually various tricks for visualising the structure and action of a play – making a complex narrative more easily comprehensible, and enabling yourself to get deeper into it, by laying various sorts of visual organisation over it.

    one interesting side effect is that because coming up with these visual layouts is actually fairly slow work, you can almost hypnotise yourself into creativity.

    • Marie Brennan

      Making those index cards was tedious in the extreme. It did help me, though, figure out which scenes were amenable to being rewritten in the other pov. I’ve got about half a dozen candidates now, though I expect I’ll only use four of them at the most. What I don’t have yet is more than one possibility for new scenes from that pov.

Comments are closed.