Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ugh: Travel

Current Song: Lady Gaga's Edge of Glory for it's awesome saxophone solo.

I hate traveling. This is a sentiment as fresh and original as the sun rising and setting in the evening. But I can't help it: The lines, the security checkpoints that make me feel (no matter how illogically) that I have stepped into a totalitarian dictatorship. The constant PA reassurances don't make that feeling go away.

And, of course, the fact that I - a tall, strapping sort who grows outward faster than I grow upwards these days - have to spend hours in a tiny airplane while hurtling above the clouds at a billion million miles an hour. Conceptually, flying is as awe-inspiring as the moon landing or the fact that we can put food in a box and it magically remains cold despite the heat outside...but actually doing the nitty gritty of flying is like having your teeth pulled by an insane Chimpanzee.

Still, I have two ideas for my flight.

1) I will try and write 6,000 words in my novel.

2) I will finish the novel I am reading.

Speaking of the novel I am writing - Shattered Sky - I am facing three bighuge problems. The first is to convincingly throw a teenage girl with only one marketable skill (killing people, and even then, she's only middling good at it) into a vast conspiracy that is trying to orchestrate the future of humanity. The second is I need to juggle no more than THREE character arcs, each with multiple layers:

Dru's relationship to Sarah: (Layer 1: The difficulty of going from internet to real life relationship, Layer 2: Ablism. Layer 3: Caretaker Fatigue versus the relationship, as few things are better at shooting a relationship between the eyes than Caretaker Fatigue)

Sarah's relationship to her Mom: (Layer 1: Ablism. Layer 2: The desperate desire to keep a child safe from a dangerous world versus the child's desire to become her own person. Layer 3: Sarah's mom is a survivalist nutcase versus Sarah is - somehow, most likely thanks to her dad - somewhat more grounded.)

Dru's relationship to Sarah's Mom: (Layer 1: Sarah's Mom is a crazy survivalist Neo-catholic and Dru is a lesbian from space. I never get tired of writing this. Layer 2: Sarah's mom is crazy protective of her sprog and see's Dru's very presence as a threat. Layer 3: Despite this, Sarah's Mom still thinks Dru is a better daughter than Sarah because...ablism.)

And through it all, we also have Jillian's relationship to Dru, which remains pretty much stable with a few hiccups caused by stress induced making out.

AND THEN ontop of all that, I got a courtroom drama plot, a thriller/terrorist plot and the conspiracy plot.

It's funny...when I wrote the first draft of the novel, my mother offered the advice that I roll this novel into the third one, so that I didn't stretch the narrative. At the time, I was beating my head against the wall, trying to figure out what to find. Turns out, I really did need to bulldoze away the scum-words that had filled my manuscript to reveal the potential goldmine of character interactions and plotbunnies.

But then there was the THIRD thing that I have to deal with when it comes to Shattered Sky.

The language.

Specifically, the Mandarin. At least one reviewer has complained that the Mandarin wasn't natural, wasn't used in the way that native speakers would use it. These are legitimate complaints - and as a note to all reviewers, both good and bad, I read your reviews. To the good reviews, thanks! I'll try to do better next time. To the bad reviews, thanks! I'll try to do better next time. Still, I don't want to just NOT use Mandarin.

I wrote DD and I'm writing SS on the idea that the future isn't just white, isn't just male, isn't just straight and isn't just English speaking. That there is a global conversation that isn't just speaking about different issues - it's using a different language. It sounds different.

But is it a disservice to use someone else's language without being very good at it? Would it be better that I just stuck to English?

I don't know.

So if you got an opinion, share it in the comments.

...if...anyone actually reads these.

1 comment:

  1. First, I'm excited to hear there's a sequel to Debris Dreams!

    Second, I was a blogger that commented on the language. I couldn't always figure out what the Mandarin/slang meant. I do like that you considered that space wouldn't be an all white, all male frontier, because whitewashing is never fun.

    Sorry! I don't really know what would be the best solution.