Irises and Impressionists

At last the iris are blooming. I notice everyone in our neighborhood has the yellow ones like this. I’m wondering if other colors don’t do well in this soil. I’d like to try planting some others – perhaps a field of dark blue behind this blanket of yellow, but we’ll see.

Many hybridized colors won’t flourish in non-ideal soils and the flowers revert to the wild type. Pink hydrangeas in non-alkaline soils revert to blue, for example. Or in non-acidic soils – I forget which. If you want to grow pink hydrangeas, you’ll have to look it up.

Yesterday I completed my second round of edits on the Loose Id novella, which is now called, forever and finally, Petals and Thorns. Beauty and the Beast was too close to other titles in their house and the big editors didn’t like Love Lies Bleeding, as my direct editor and I picked out. They seemed to think it was kind of icky.


So, Petals and Thorns it is, with a thank you to Allison for not only suggesting it, but essentially loaning it to me, since it’s the name of the gaming website she’s run for lo these many years.

This second round of edits was dead easy. Actually the first round of edits were quite straight forward and didn’t require much brain-strain. This round was mainly approving comma-insertions and space-deletions. From time to time though, my editor quibbled over metaphorical word interpretations.

The one she really doesn’t like? “She felt his eyes on her.” My editor says that means his eyeballs would be on her, which is, naturally, not the feel we’re going for. I personally don’t believe a normal person would read it that literally, but I conceded and replaced with the suggested (and tepid) “gaze.” She also argued with “the rose drew her eye,” wanting that to be “gaze,” also. I said no, to draw the eye to something is a perfectly established expression.

To me, this is the literary equivalent of representational art versus abstract art.

(We won’t get into that this is a BDSM novella and arguably not all that full of ze arte. I’m talking a general principle here – stick with me.)

I’m full of visual art analogies since doing the studio tour the other day.

My mom’s David loves representational art. He likes a landscape, preferably with European elements. He likes it to be what it it. My mom likes art that takes reality and turns it. The Impressionists were the first to really break away from the strict European representational art. This is Renoir’s famous painting Bathing Woman, 1883. It’s famous enough that I couldn’t find an image of it without the watermark.

When I saw the original, it struck me that he’d painted her skin green. If you look at the shadows on her skin, they’re all these blues and greens. So much so that it’s unsettling up close. Standing back, it creates this amazing feel of young, lovely flesh and water. He gave us the impression, not the literal moment.

I think that’s what the literalist readers/editors get into. They’re focusing so much on the words, that they lose the overall impression. I’m not going to fight over it for my BDSM novella epub, but to have someone’s eyes on you gives a different impression than their gaze. It’s a level of intimacy to me.

But this is the soil I chose for this particular story and it will have to take on the characteristics of that place. It will become the color it needs to be.

The Sun in My Universe

This was last Friday night’s bloody sunset.

The sun is moving farther and farther north now, sinking over different mountain ranges. Funny to think that in only two months it will begin its journey back again, just as summer really hits its stride.

I know, of course, this is just my point of view – POV, in writer lingo. The sun doesn’t travel north and south. I am the one moving, tilting back and forth on my planetary post, watching the sun from different angles. The sun is the fixed point of our little dance. We all know that huge battles have been fought over this very idea.

It’s funny to think of it this way, but the battle between the Catholic and Copernican line of thinking was all about POV. Who, exactly, is the center of our story?

As an essayist, I started out writing in first person POV. The essays described my experiences in the world, thus they were all about me. I wrote to explain my perception. Very simple. When I wrote my first novel, Obsidian, I naturally wrote it, as was my habit, in first person POV.

A number of judges reading it commented that I was brave to try first person, since it’s so difficult, but I did it well. Others tell me they categorically refuse to read anything in first person.

Sterling, the new novel, came out in third person, as did my little erotic novella for Loose Id. (Speaking of which, the official title will be “Love Lies Bleeding,” which I like a whole bunch. The heroine’s name is Amarantha and there are plays on her name throughout.) It’s fun to play with third person. I suddenly feel not only omniscient, but omnipotent.


Turns out not so much. KAK, who is my official CP (critique partner) now, has been beating me up for my POV slips. (Never mind that she knows WAY too much about Meatloaf’s musical history, if you check out her blog. She’s otherwise a reasonably sane person.) I don’t get to be omniscient at all, which kind of burns my ass because it makes me want to flounce back to first person. Then she tells me that I can’t introduce another character’s POV in Chapter 10. I thought it was kind of a brilliant stroke, but no.

“You’re trying to make him the third star of the show,” she says. “And he can’t be.”

There’s a fine line between genius and disaster, I suppose. The other thing I’m thinking? I need to learn the rules before I break them. Like a painter must first learn to show perfect perspective before finding subtle ways to distort it to make a point, I need to know where my third person POVs are before I do wacky things with them.

Alas. Takes all the fun out of it.

I can see her point, too. There can only be one sun at a time. I’m already alternating chapters between two people – each the star of their own story. If I want to bring in more, then the center of the story moves somewhere else.

At least no one gets executed if I change my mind.