on reading...

[Editor's note: This post was so long that Sex decided to do a two-parter. She is a novelist, after all. Answers to questions to follow in a day or so.]


One more word on music before we get to the higher form of art, books... the new NIN is pretty damn good, if you ask me. The last track is awesome.

Ok, so, we'll put the important news first: the Twins were there at the gym working out; communicating telepathically as they apparently do, since they weren’t talking; per usual. One got his haircut the other day, and I thought, Now I just have to figure out which one is which and I got them down. Then the other one got his haircut in exactly the same way. Doh! Foiled again! But the haircut(s) look(s) hot.

How often are there twins around; much less smokin, bangin hot twins? These guys have incredible swimmer bodies: broad shoulders and narrow waists where every muscle is cut, but not in that gross weight-lifter way where all their veins stand out...

I got to thinking on how freakin’ delicious would it be to have a threesome with TWINS?? It’d be just like... like doing the guy you like to love on, only times two. Two identical sets of lips kissing your skin, two identical c... er, ok, well, you get it. Only it would probably feel more like times twenty, because these things tend to feel exponential.

...Well, so I’ve heard.

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And they’re blonde, so they make me think of Jack.

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I apparently need more than a moment to compose myself.

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Quick, sound writerly, since I left a message on a real author’s blog today.

Ok, so books. Well, for me my writing and my reading is intertwined (tee hee, Greg) (ok, so, private jokes hurt feelings-- intertwined = sex). I spend most of my time writing. And when I’m not writing, I’m reading my own writing. Call me self-absorbed and arrogant, and shit, you’d probably be right. But I actually rather like what I write. And I can still surprise myself. In Stephen King’s On Writing; let’s just call it a writer’s Bible, shall we, since the guy obviously knows of which he speaks; he recommends writing a first draft all out in one go, hard and fast and sweaty, without checking back in it much. And then, when it’s done, you stick the fucker away in a drawer somewhere and move on to another project.

I know you want to, but don't look! Let it simmer.

This is a bitch to do, because you’re all itchy to get back and fix all the stuff that you know is just plain wrong: like the mislaid tenses of lie and starting sentences with prepositions and leaving out the subject. Then there’s the bigger stuff; those characters sure as shit mentioned each other before they actually met. Or Jebus save me, it’s the PSG-1 with the ten meter casing spew, not the MSG-90. So all the bad guy had to do was pick up one of those casings (and, um, why did hero-guy have to shoot so many rounds if he’s such a great sniper anyway?) to trace the fucking gun. And get it straight for once, will you-- the MSG-90A1 is the one with the threaded barrel for a screw-on silencers! How did he screw the silencer onto the MSG-90 when there’s no threading on the barrel, hmmmm?

But you can’t go back yet, because Stephen says put it away for some weeks until you’ve forgotten all of that. Let me add that I’ve only done this with one book, because my books are a series and I’m constantly in and out of them to check that things jive and to fix what has gone before. I have to insert clues or it’s no fun; it’s tricking the reader which is just plain mean and pretty amateurish, too. But I let my fourth book simmer for four months (FOUR!) while life and a new character Sean with his own story to tell came into my world.

And then comes the day where you get to pull it back out, like I just did with that book this week, and you read it and some of it is pretty damn good.

I wrote that? you think. Damn, I’m good. I might just have a future at this. And you’ve even forgotten the next twist, because it’s been so long and you wrote it straight out without a plot, because like it or not that’s how you do this, and you think, Damn, even I can’t put it down. Yea!

And then you get to what should be the end and you think, HOLD IT!?!? What’s with the extra hundred or so pages??

Obviously you didn’t know how or when to finish the damn thing.

And what once was golden becomes a fucking train wreck.

But it’s all good, because you’ve faced down this demon before and overcome and turned a right mess into a pretty damn good story. You just have to pay attention and have faith and listen to your words they’ll tell you what to do, listen over the rhythm that’s confusing you... you know, just like Bono says.

And you reread and fix and reread and fix and reread and fix and you stew and you read blogs and websites and then it starts to come together in weird ways. You find that there was a reason after all for that odd statement that bit character said–- it left the scene in such perfect tension that you couldn’t bear to axe it, even though it had no bearing whatsoever on the story. But there, just there, it ties in. Now you see the connection...

Then your neighbor, who has proven herself to be a worthwhile reader since she actually says helpful things rather than just ass-kissing things, is reading your book. And she stops you as you get your mail and tells you that she finished your book and, hesitantly, not wanting to offend, adds,

“Didn’t you say you have the second book finished?”

And you reply, your casual tone belying that your heart just started flooding your body with a thrilling roar of fresh, excited blood, “Yeah, sure, I think the manuscript is around here somewhere. You want it now?”

“Yes! I really want to find out what happened to these guys.”

And you try to quell your shaking hand as you give her the manuscript.

And the next day you try not to faint dead away on your driveway when she yells across the street that your second book, YOUR BOOK, kept her up half the night. (!)

And she even says that now she wants to reread your first book because she knows she overlooked clues and stuff, and she really wants to catch on to what's going on so she doesn't miss anything.


And that’s what reading is all about, Charlie Brown.

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