Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen
mrissa

Opacity

It is frustrating, in the middle of drafting a story, to realize that not only will there be a substantial number of people who don't get it, but that the not-getting is built into the story -- that you can't make it clearer to those people without making it a different story. A completely different story in nearly every regard, and a worse one.

For me, it's still worthwhile writing stories like this. I tend to sell them eventually, because the people who get them like them, and there is no story that's for everyone. I've gotten better at spotting opacity over the last few years, I think. I used to be taken by surprise when I would get rejection letters on certain stories where the editor was confused about what, exactly, had happened, because it always seemed very clear and linear to me. I'm not sure it's an unmitigated gift, being able to tell, because the determination is usually followed by a bit of thrashing: "But what if I -- but surely they --" But no. On we go with it; it's the story we've got.

(Happily, this is "Five Ways to Ruin a First Date," a short story I started a few weeks ago and have worked on in bits and pieces since, not one of the novels or anything large and time-sinky like that.)

The dog is extremely clingy today. She isn't on my lap right now, but she has made it clear that she reserves the right whenever she pleases, and will nudge the back of my knee with her cold little nose until I turn my chair so she can jump up without worrying about hitting the desk. She doesn't want me to go anywhere. Absent something coming up, that suits me fine.
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