I’m fixing up one of my novels right now. It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever written, stylistically, as a piece of fantasy. The first half is, anyway. The second half was written under emotional duress, and that’s what I’m in the midst of fixing right now.
Stripping Out Shadows
Basically I have unpleasant relations, and a lot of themes in the book woke up some demons I hadn’t finished working through yet. Having dealt death to said demons, I’m now working through the damaged second half of my book to repair all the little rents of misery and whatnot floating through the text.
The process is interesting, to me, because most of the ruined part of the novel just needs to be flipped over. Negative statements I reverse into positive ones, and the action remains nearly identical. It’s very interesting.
Two Samples Of Humanity
I knew a guy in high school who had a talent for diffusing volatile situations. Some punks tried to start a fight with him once when I was there, and his way of charming them into being friendly was absolutely riveting. He–my friendly, talented friend–did this sort of natural writhe, got emotionally under the whole situation, and rearranged things so that it looked as if he was already friends with the punks, and the whole fighting initiation was actually a mutually enjoyable joke.
He got the aggressors on his side by siding with them, basically, and then reframing their actions as a delightful prank, which he made hilarious to everyone else who was there.
Fight To Fun
The offer, as far as my friend changing the situation from an escalating fight to a flattering social success, was irresistible, and the punks laughed and had a great time and wandered away.
No one talked about it. No one made any show of noticing what had happened. It was one of the most evocative instances of human interaction I’ve ever witnessed.
The Second Sample, Worser Than The First
I knew another person around the same time period who was not at all my friend, and she was very psychologically unstable. She tried to destroy people, and she had a few adults in power on her side, because of what family she’d been born into, so she functionally had teeth, even though she was a harmless idiot when it came down to it.
I watched her take control of another social situation, this time in a classroom, and that was also very interesting. She got power because of her adult sponsors. No one was willing to engage with the phalanx of irritable and not-particularly-reasonable old people she could easily have brought to bear, so everyone sort of folded up and pretended to be rugs.
Both Powerful, One Rotten
My first friend, the fight-diffuser, gained social power because everyone around him gave him that power willingly, and even joyously.
The second person, my not-friend with corrupt connections, laid hold of temporary, transient power by dint of her well-placed sponsors.
Rosa left the water running when she left the building. She imagined it slipping down the stairs, wetting through the carpets, and gradually rotting the heavy wooden floors. Mr. Psorasus would turn off the water in five minutes, as he always did, but Rosa liked to pretend she was flooding the building. Seeing the old place soaked and logged with wet made her heart feel lighter inside, even if the picture was only in her mind’s eye.
Rosa sighed and took her pocket-sized weather panel from her jacket. She flipped the dial around until the clear blue sky turned green, then ochre, and finally a gentle pink. The sun looked dark and strange, a dull purple, with the atmosphere filters turned to pink, but Rosa liked a little bit of florid sentiment in her sky while she was walking home.
She kicked the heavy piles of leaves on the sidewalk as she went. Each thick, substantial leaf scooped up and danced lazily down before making a whisper of relaxation against the others. The sounds of the leaves were a cluster of almost silence, a blanket of noise following behind Rosa like a train of quiet importance.
Rosa, acting representative for Death, who was a much friendlier person than she had first suspected, had foreseen old Hank Psorasus dying in the afternoon, and she went down to Hank’s office and slipped him a few drops of deadening potion, to keep him from feeling the heart attack that would strike in a couple of hours.
Rosa blocked up the sink and left the water running when she left the building. She imagined it slipping down the stairs, wetting through the carpets, and gradually flooding the heavy wooden floors. Mr. Psorasus had grown up on the sea, and she knew the sound of lapping water would soothe him, as he slipped into death.
Rosa sighed and took her pocket-sized scenic panel from her jacket. She flipped the dial around until the clear blue sky turned green, then ochre, and finally a gentle pink. The sun looked dark and strange, a dull purple, with the atmosphere filters turned to pink, but Rosa liked a little bit of florid sentiment in the sky when a good man lay dying.
She kicked the heavy piles of leaves on the sidewalk as she walked. Each thick, substantial leaf scooped up and danced lazily down before making a whisper of relaxation against the others. The sounds of the leaves were a cluster of almost silence, a blanket of noise following behind Rosa like a train of quiet importance.
Stripping out unhealthy influences and burning down old demons leads to the ability to objectively remove obstructive emotional nuance from your prose. Beware shadowy figures from your own past.
You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current work, John and Claire are contemplating the possibility of procreating in a reptilian fashion. Meaning eggs.