May 6th, 2004

johnny sex

Nobody figures like, you figured me out and

Aside: It's pretty ridiculous that I'm posting retarded amounts a day now that I have literally no time, but I think it's a function of the fact that I spend so much time on my computer doing work, and when the words start to blur together into something meaningless, I'm like, "Aiight, let me LJ up a little somethin' somethin'."

But maybe phrased differently.

Main action of the post:

I've been thinking a lot about storytelling lately, and the way I go about it, as a function of the fact that I'm hip-deep in literature analyses, and you know, my own writing. Essentially, my writing style is incredibly influenced by my background with poetry and also with the oral storytelling tradition, both Southern and Irish. Those are the components that work their way into how I go about structuring my own stories, which is part of why I'm so envious of the slick, fast style of writers like Tom Robbins and Norman Mailer.

Often, my stories tend to start with an image rather than idea -- for example A Pale Distance started with an image of Clark looking up at the moon, and Backlit started with me thinking about the two boys silhouetted against the sun. Those stories tend to come to me more quickly, probably by the strength of the imagery that goes with them in my head.

The stories that start with *ideas*, though* are somewhat harder for me to muddle through. For example, Caliban was written primarily as a means of trying to explain how Lex was pushed to the psychotic disassociation which created Louis. I'm pretty happy with how it ended up turning out, though I think I could have done more with it in some ways, but writing it was like pulling my teeth out with my toes.

I worry about being not subtle enough with those types stories -- articulating ideas through fiction can be a delicate thing, especially when you're finding your feet as a writer, as I still feel I am.

Stories that start with both an image and an idea? Drive me absolutely insane, which is why the two stories I'm currently working on are, like, kicking my ass. One in particular I feel has to have a structure that mirrors the content, and while I'm begining to feel more and more comfortable toying with the structure of my stories (Arise, You Sleeper (I Am Your Dream) being a prime example of that, and damn, if I'm not ridiculously pleased with that story, still) I continue to feel oddly hesitant about it.

In some ways I worry about too experimental a structure being off-putting to the reader, because even if you are trying to get across some kind of quasi-philosophical point, in the end a story needs to be just that -- a story. It needs to entertain, titillate and engage, and you can't do that if your structure alienates. At the same time, though, structural choices can often make *all* the difference -- for example cesperanza's due South stories rely heavily on toying with structure, as does one of the most amazing SV fics I've read, spike21's The Witness Tryptich.

So I'll open it up for discussion here: How much do you consider structure when you're writing? Or when you're reading -- how much alienates, and how much helps? Do you have the same worries? Talk to me, my lovely writery darlings.

Also, for anybody out there still interested in my business, Lyra asked me to do the Title meme, so here you are:

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