Thursday, June 02, 2005

and now we venture into strange new territory

I have an idea for a story in which Trace has to either pose as or debunk a parlor medium/spiritualist. Not sure how or whether it will play out yet, so don't start second-guessing me, hear? But in preparation for said topic, I've been doing a little reading. The Internet, for all its faults, is the ideal place to read up on stuff like this.

Voila: The International Survivalist Society and their impressive collection of archives. The biographies are of particular interest to me.

In the mere half-hour that I've been surfing, I've already seen several implications--if not outright assertions--that the learned men of the nineteen century were more open-minded than we are today: that most scientists were quick to accept the truth of spiritualism, mesmerism, and other para-sciences.


Anyway, this guy particularly interests me, because of the religious angle. I must also do some reading about Catholicism and the general state of faith in the late 1900's, and I must say I'm not looking forward to exploring either of these topics. Religion and psychic phenomenae fall into the category of things that seem to be discussed only by those with an axe to grind.

You know, on a total aside note: I'm the only writer I know who's so chatty about her ideas. Even among my writing colleagues who are actually producing, I never know a thing about what they're working on until there's a copy in my hands. In fact, I've heard writers say that a story will die on them if they talk about it too much beforehand. Am I just weird, or what? Desperate for approval, in love with the sound of my own voice, thinking aloud? Careless or naive about somebody stealing my ideas? Don't know. Don't care.


C8H10N4HO2O2 said...

... even among my writing colleagues who are actually producing, I never know a thing about what they're working on until there's a copy in my hands...

When I was more in the loop, among my one-time peer group, anyway, this wasn't so much my experience. Knew two or three people who were always pretty open about what they were messing with currently, and I was always happy to mutter about how things were going on my end with them, too. But this was mostly pre-wired-world, so I guess I don't know for sure if we'd have been the same in a blog-type forum or not.

As to naivete/theft: seems to me a good idea for fiction isn't something you can really put in a paragraph or two, anyway. What's gonna make it work is a million little notions surrounding it, your whole sense of how to execute it, your whole sense of how your voice is going to converge with those ideas, and make them live. So the schematic idea you might dump into a blog entry, while it's a nice foretaste of what might be coming, probably isn't usually worth stealing on its own, anyway. You've got to write the book or the short to show what it's worth, ultimately.

And I think that's much where you are, here. Holly, not just buttering you up here, but no one else is gonna be able to make that spiritualist thing work quite like you are in any case, so I wouldn't worry.

So no, it's not weird. Not in the least.

(Hell, I think trying to convince you, I convinced myself. Maybe I'll try to dump some passages from my current drafts into the blog. Can't hurt, I guess.)

Holly said...

AJ, I read your blog; I know you don't give praise lightly, so thanks.

One neat thing about posting bits on the blog is the immediacy of feedback. I always seem to get little cries of ecstacy and frustration from my little addicts, saying "More! More!" Which of course inspires me to write faster.

Also, for me, I find that the immediacy of publication tends to detach me from the work. I see it more as a product and less as a private fantasy. I sometimes obsess over whether QT is a blatant Mary Sue, so this is an important distinction for me.