nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (if you're not careful)
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posted by [personal profile] nightbird at 12:07pm on 12/08/2009 under
[personal profile] wireless did this, and given this subject line, it seemed like a capital idea.

As of Sept. 5, 2009:

apologia To be ridiculously pretentious, in the original Greek this means "explanation" or "defense." These entries explain thought processes or choices, mostly, I think, for my own benefit.

be a magpie This is where I make note of shiny things I want in my stories. It comes from something Neil Gaiman once wrote in a blank notebook for me after I saw him speak. (The other was "Keep writing, and finish it!")

character:name I'm trying to be organized with my tagging. If it's relevant to a particular person, it will be so tagged. That may be the most logical I get with these.

creativity is collage Also advice from a writer, this time Dale Pesmen. I love the notion that creativity isn't some petulant muse that damages you from the inside, but rather your engagement with the world around you. This is for talking about the things collected in be a magpie once they're assembled.

first sentences The opener is terrifically difficult sometimes, but when someone lands it, oh man. (Also, must peruse! Also, there's a great community for the opposite: [community profile] endings.)

homeless bits and bobs Ideas in search of a good home.

italo calvino sends his regards One of my desert island books is Invisible Cities; this tag is for talking about settings.

name's been typeset Hopefully there will come a time when I can crow about publishing credits. For now there's only the one, but I'd very much like to expand on that. Ah, but first comes the writing... shoot.

nft guide to hecatia The Not for Tourists series of guidebooks prides itself on helping people navigate new cities like a local. This is for the imaginary country where The Falling Woman takes place.

note to self Usually this is something I find while I'm at work... doing work... and that I should investigate later... when I'm not doing work.

post-apocalyptic americana I will be attempting to explain this genre for a very long time. It is my genre, though, and I love it deeply.

singer can be among songs Thank you, Sage Francis, for the fantastic lyric. This is for "meta" explorations, or posing questions about genre and composition and other things that are more about writing than content.

the ear the eye The tag so obscure I couldn't remember what it was for at first! But it's about the music that inspires me -- sounds that trigger imagination.

the falling woman A novel I've been trying to write for several years, and think I may have finally figured out how to start.

the not-writing part Mostly notes to self with links to gritty publishing realities and advice for swimming that particular sea when you get to it.

visual language Given the magpie tag, it may come as no surprise that I frequently collect pictures I find online that I can use in stories. I've got this idea of posting some every few days -- no context, just showcasing neat things I find.

world-building Having chanced on the world-building exercises going on at [community profile] nano_writers, I think I'd like to do my own at my own pace on this tag. Originally, though, it's more of a "note to self" organizational tag than anything deeply significant.
Music:: "Red Tide," Neko Case
There are 10 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
wireless: red shoes / white dots / summer (Stock: polka-hoola-hoop)
posted by [personal profile] wireless at 08:15am on 13/08/2009
I cannot wait to hear more about post-apocalyptic americana! I sort of feel like I'm watching something at the start of its rise. Steampunk wasn't really anything until a couple of big authors grabbed hold of it and named it something cool (although, steampunk, you know - not really that cool). I feel like post-apocalyptic americana (she says, using italics, because she is pretending to - I don't know, justify the fact that she is pasting the phrase and can't be bothered to use the caps lock key?) could be one of those. One or two good books and a sudden surge in the genre and it ends up being one of those things that everyone is like, "WEE!" about.

Also, I joined [community profile] endings. You know, maybe that's where I've gone wrong in the past. When I think about my novels, I rarely think up the endings and the last lines in advance, even when I have an outline in my mind. I think that even with an outline... I need there to be some sense of surprise somewhere? On the other hand, I really, really love the idea of having the first line and the last line be the same. I've seen it done a few times but never well so... Hmm. Dammit.
nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (the fox confessor)
posted by [personal profile] nightbird at 04:22pm on 13/08/2009
I'm pretty sure large parts of it stem from a personal belief that nearly all of American history exists in a millenarian or post-apocalyptic state -- especially if you think about the fact that, well, yeah, white people came and destroyed nearly every culture already here. Add that to all the religious overtones and influence, the wars, the industrialization, the westward expansion, the mobility, the inability and the overability to fill spaces... this country is batshit, and I am so, so fascinated by it. I keep meaning to take stabs at essays! Hopefully (I seem to use that word a lot) that will happen here, and soon.

Endings are hard. I usually know generally how my stories are going to end, but they take some twists and turns getting there that force change on them, usually for the better.
wireless: red shoes / white dots / summer (Stock: polka-hoola-hoop)
posted by [personal profile] wireless at 07:44am on 14/08/2009
You're right. The country is utterly batshit. That's why I love the Midwest. It's still insane. Even now. More insane than any other part of the country by far.

I desperately want to know some of the plot of your novel. I'm so nosy about it. In saying that, I don't think I could quantify mine at this stage either.

I have absolutely no idea where this story is going to end. I don't know whether that terrifies me or makes me really, really happy.
nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (they didn't know what else to do.)
posted by [personal profile] nightbird at 02:56pm on 14/08/2009
That's why I love the Midwest. It's still insane. Even now. More insane than any other part of the country by far.

Hmm... I might disagree with that... but it can get both sticky and overwhelming to decide which part of the United States has the most crazy. We're like Baskin-Robbins: we come in many flavors!

The post-apocalyptic Americana novel/short story collection has no plot yet, just vagueness and notes. The other one, however, is "Lady Macbeth goes to find the Weird Sisters and demand her husband's head back." If I mention Hecatia, that's what it refers to!
fourandtwenty: (NS: alone in the wilderness)
posted by [personal profile] fourandtwenty at 03:35am on 14/08/2009
I tried to explain to Aubrey exactly what about her current projects, while not post-apocalyptic, still remind me so strongly of what I consider "post-apocalyptic Americana".

It's the silences in between the explosions and the world-saving and the zombies and demi-gods and immortals. Not that there's nothing to do, just... life goes on, unobtrusively, underneath all this action, and in between, it's very profoundly felt, somehow, and that, to me, is part of the essence of the weirdfun genre that has developed (probably differently to everyone) since that first came up, to my knowledge, in regards to Unlined.

And I don't know if it makes any sense, but that's the best way I can put words to it, and I don't know if I could do it any better. It's post-apocalyptic settings, not the big cities and settlements, but little farms and communities, and all the unobtrusive LIFE that goes on in the face of so much loss.
fourandtwenty: texture collage over the shape of a blackbird (Default)
posted by [personal profile] fourandtwenty at 03:36am on 14/08/2009
(and, incidentally, that icon is sort of the visual epitome of that feeling to me. ...just sayin'. There's a reason it's my icon for posts of the "November Skies" variety, as that's my own post-apocalyptic Americana piece.)
nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (the fox confessor)
posted by [personal profile] nightbird at 03:37am on 14/08/2009
Oh wow -- this is a really important element that I hadn't consciously cued into before, but you are so very, very right.
fourandtwenty: texture collage over the shape of a blackbird (Default)
posted by [personal profile] fourandtwenty at 03:43am on 14/08/2009
*FLAILS* I AM SO GLAD I EXPLAINED IT RIGHT. Sorry, it's just... people will have their different elements that are important, and that, to me, is the essence of what makes it different from other genres. Yes, life always goes on, but it's usually going on somewhere distant from the characters involved in the action. It doesn't affect them, they don't need to be involved in it. But to me, the post-apocalyptic Americana is where everybody's just LIVING, and then sometimes they have to save the world or their little tribe of survivors or whatever. But they still have to do the laundry and cook supper and bring in the crops or whatever. Life goes on and that doesn't change just because they've got this epic thing to do. Or even some not-so-epic thing.
nightbird: Mucha illustration, young peasant holding scythe and grain (little boxes)
posted by [personal profile] nightbird at 03:45am on 14/08/2009
Lady, you kind of nailed it on the head. I think my quintessential short story would almost be interchangeable with an Iron & Wine song.
fourandtwenty: texture collage over the shape of a blackbird (Default)
posted by [personal profile] fourandtwenty at 03:52am on 14/08/2009
XD Aubrey says she's amused by how you're both writing it and haven't actually figured out how it worked, at least consciously, and I'm just like "but... but THIS".

Of course, to be fair, I'd never at all tried to put it into words before just now. XD I just had this FEELING. I knew what it was, it was just a bitch to try to explain. And when I tried to say it out loud to Aub before writing up the comment, she just sort of went "....okaaaaaaaay."

But that is it, now that I think about it. That "life goes on, whether you're a hero or not" sense, permeating the story. Laundry, dishes, bathtime, marriage, babies. Because you get stuff like that in chicklit. But that's not what this is. This is something totally different, with those things in a completely different context. Life goes on.

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