shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


A few things today.

But first. Sometimes I forget to keep up with Sci-Fiction, although I generally go back and read most of it, when that happens. There are some people I just always read stories by, though. And Jeff Ford is one of them. His "The Empire of Ice Cream" is quite marvelous, and I highly recommend it.

And, because I can never see this poem enough (I love Wallace Stevens), even though it has nothing to do with the story:

The Emperor of Ice Cream
by Wallace Stevens

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal.
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

# # #

We can all breathe a sigh of relief because those poor bastards at that Bible college in Eastern Kentucky won't have to keep the mark of the beast any longer. (Story worth it for the quotes alone.)

Rick Bragg on the flame-bearing fire dancers of Mardi Gras.

And since it's a writing work kind of week, the following post on rewriting, by Terry Rossio (co-writer of Shrek and many other good movies and half-host of Wordplay):

Let it Be, Let it Be

Posted by Terry on Tuesday, 4 March 2003, at 12:50 a.m., in response to Re: The dreaded re-writes. Tips, anyone? posted by ChrisB on Monday, 3 March 2003, at 11:30 p.m.

This may be an unhelpful generalization, but I think rewriting is mostly about getting the story be what it's already trying to be, based on your initial inspiration.

There is promise in the premise that needs to be fulfilled in the execution.

There is promise in those characters, and those character relationships, that needs to be fulfilled in the execution.

There is promise in those main cool setpiece scenes you came up with that needs to be fulfilled.

There is promise in the voice of each character when they get to those scenes -- that needs to be fulfilled.

So much of rewriting, I think, has to do with studying the story and characters and seeing where they're 'naturally' headed based on your early inspiration, and those early decisions, and then getting out of your own way -- getting ride of the clutter you came up with to prop up the story -- and doing what's needed to get the whole thing get where it's really trying to go.

This is especially true for characters, and character relationships. For each character, it's helpful to ask the question -- what are *all* the scenes I really want to see with this character, what are all the emotions and situations that are potentially great with these people, what is the promise of the characters as introduced -- and which ones have I missed completely?

You'd be surprised. I always am.

I always am too, and sometimes amazed as well.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home