Monday, February 25, 2013

Caress of Twilight--chapter 22

So I've started the first draft of the next Exiles book.

I am a very lazy writer. I didn't used to be. I used to outline every little thing. I had a system, I had programs to help me, and then...I started throwing the outlines out about halfway through the story. Because I don't start with beginnings. I start with endings. I come up with a moment that I feel is significant, for whatever reason, and I try to come up with a story that will make that moment significant to other people.

I know the readership of this blog kind of exploded over the last month, so most of you probably don't know what my opinion of my own writing is, and the rest of you are probably sick of hearing it, but I do not consider myself to be a good writer. In my opinion the mark of quality is being published. Publishers know quality, and they put quality out. The nadir of trade publishing is better than the stuff they've rejected, and I've been rejected enough to get the point already. It's my opinion, it's not a judgement on anybody else's writing, and if you like my writing, you are a wonderful person who is 100 times a better human being than I am.

So with all that said, my favorite part of writing is still the moment when everything I planned goes away and I see what the real story is. It's not some magical or mystical connection to characters. It's more my brain goes "You know, it'd be really fun to fuck with my readers this way, but I'd have to discard this, this, this, and rewrite this and--you know what, fuck it, we're doing it anyway." And everything comes together and I see exactly how I need to run things.

Good writers spend all their time, and I mean ALL OF IT, screwing with you. Every word, every phrase, every character in a good book is geared to make you think and feel exactly what the author wants you to. My great ambition in life is to grab hold of your emotions and never let go. I'm evil, my loyal blog readers. Evil to my core.

Of course, the flip side to that is, my own desires for the writing are secondary. Which is probably why the subject matter in most of my books is weird. I'm not here to make me happy. I'm here to make you happy (or make you gently set the e-reader down and then pantomime throwing a book across a room while screaming "FUCK YOU" because cliffhanger.)

And because talking about my stuff while I'm bashing somebody else's work is really horrible (...I never said I was a good person, alright?)...I've started the new shawl.

My phone takes really shitty pictures at night.

I also had to hit up the local quilt store for knitting needles (...small town, okay? I need to be happy ANYBODY carries a Double Pointed Needle smaller than US3) which meant I bought way more stuff than I needed to. This place has gorgeous rosewood needles. Also not in the right size, but I will find a project to fit on them. I am determined that way. 

So. How's our professionally published book doing?

Merry's crime scene involves more than fifty bodies. Not one chick with bad choices in makeup. FIFTY. PEOPLE. MINIMUM. She thinks it could be as many as a hundred.

Yeah. This makes her judgement of that other girl even less okay. When it is one person MAYBE it is their lifestyle choices that did it. When it is fifty people you've hit a level of badness that has nothing to do with the victims and everything to do with what killed them.

Merry decides that she needs to pretend that she's at one of Aunt Andais's parties, because showing emotion when so many people are dead fifty is your lowball estimate is bad. And this is all about Merry, and Merry's feelings, and Merry keeping her bad-ass cred in one piece. It's not about the massive number of dead people everywhere.

Everybody died of slow aphyxia. Horribly, in other words. Except for nine bodies, which are different. But we don't find out how different they are right away because Merry has to describe how everybody hid the Christmas ornaments eyes from the murder scene.

 I cannot make this up:

Behind Frost was something covered with a tablecloth but it wasn’t a body. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was a Christmas tree. Someone had covered the artificial greenery, covered the entire Christmas display. It was as if someone hadn’t wanted the tree to see the bodies, like hiding the eyes of the innocent so they won’t be tarnished. It should have seemed ridiculous, but it didn’t. Somehow, it seemed appropriate to cover the decorations in this room. To hide them away so they wouldn’t be spoiled.
First of all, everybody reading this blog should be watching Todd in the Shadow's pop-song reviews. They make the radio okay again. Secondly, are you familiar with the band Train? If you are, and you watch Todd, you'll know where I'm going with this. Pat Monahan, the lead singer/lyricist, has an incredible ability to come up with a concept and wrap the world's most WTF lyrics around it. Not just bad lyrics, but the kind of lyrics that make you wonder what drug combination is responsible. See "Drive By's" Baffling lyric "Just a shy guy/looking for a two ply/HEFTY BAG to put my love in"

Oh. I'm sorry. It's "My-i-i-i-i-I-I-EYE EYE EYE YEYEYEYEYE" because Pat Monahan can't come up with enough lyric to fill up his music. (Don't get me started on "Trouble" I kind of sort of liked Taylor Swift last year, but "Trouble" came out and now she can just go away.)

Apparently Christmas Trees are LKH's version of a trash bag. Description of Christmas decor would be fine. Description of blood splattered Christmas decor? Better than fine. Description of Christmas decor that somebody covered up because its non-existant eyes would be spoiled by the horrific carnage and innocence must be preserved? Uh...yeah. No.

So after we preserve the Christmas Tree's virgin not-mind and Rhys is established as being fake-not-creepy, we almost find out what's going on with those nine dead bodies. They all died quietly, and it is a good thing this flow of plot is interrupted by the unavoidable "Self Insert VS Equally Misogynistic Authority Figure" pissing contest.

This one is Detective Pearson. AKA how to shoot your Mary Sue in the foot without really trying. He's pissed because Merry exposed him to the Magical Potion of Sex and he almost jumped her right there in the precinct. In her defense, he told her that magical aphrodisiacs don't exist. In his defense, he was being aroused against his will by drugs and that kind of trumps everything else. Folks, if you decide to "prove your point" by giving people a drug that is basicially an aphrodisiac mixed with LSD, you lose the right to get huffy when they tell you to get fucked every time they see you. Not exposing people to dangerous drugs is kind of "being a good human" 101.

Merry asks him if the crime scene isn't just horrible, and then says that he'd be friendlier if there were a few less dead people around.

He replies:

He made a sound that was almost a laugh, but too harsh to be one. “Well, hell, Princess, this is friendly. This is exactly how friendly I am to murderers like you who hide behind diplomatic immunity.” He smiled, but it was a baring of teeth, like a snarl.

Okay, a little more of that backstory is, Merry had just watched a guy who was trying to rape her get eaten by Doyle's magical spiders that never show up again, ever, and the detective here thought she'd killed the guy, which is the only reason why she was in the interrogation room. But again: she drugged people with sex magic to prove a point. A police detective accusing you of murder because nobody else was in the room when the guy got attacked by spiders is kind of par for the course when you are a magical fairy who can turn people into screaming basketballs of flesh. It's annoying and it's really not fair when the guy was trying to rape you and you're not actually responsible for his death. It still does not give you the right to drug the entire police department with sex magic. That kind of makes you the rapist in that case.

Merry gets pissy when the detective tells her to get fucked a second time--using almost the same language, too--and she reaches out to touch him.

He reacts by backing into potential evidence and telling her not to ever, ever, ever touch him again.

You know. The way women react when they've been sexually assaulted.

This is read as being utterly inappropreate on his part.

Merry is all "But it wasn't ME that did that too you last time, it was the DRUGS I HAD ON MY SKIN. THAT I DELIBERATELY GAVE YOU BECAUSE YOU WOULDN'T LET ME GO IMMEDIATELY AND IT MADE ME FEEL KIND OF POUTY." and the detective is having none of it because she fucking drugged him and nothing says she won't do it again.

Merry says "but why do you hate me?" and I'm assuming she's giving him pretty puppy-dog eyes in the process. And he says "You turned a man into barely recognizable meat ribbons" and doesn't add "And you drugged me into almost raping you" because LKH is writing this scene to make her Mary Sue look fluffy.

Given that the meat ribbons is less scary than "Screaming basketball of flesh" I would say that he's still pretty much spot on.

And then Lucy shows up and says "I called her, and the book needs a plot, so my judgement trumps yours, so there."

He says 'Fuck that shit, I'm your boss, you have to listen to me," and then he says this:

“Good,” he said, “because the upper brass can think anything they want, but it’s my ass on the line here, in the cameras, and I say it’s some kind of toxic gas or poison. When they finish the toxicology work on the other bodies, they’ll know what it is, and it’ll be our job to find out who did it. Look first for whodunit, not whatdunit. You don’t have to go to fairy-tale land to solve this murder. It’s just another crazy son of a bitch that’s as mortal as everyone else in this room.”

See, there are two problems with writing this cop as a misogynistic asshole. First of all, he's 100% right to be scared to death of Merry and the other Faerie. They don't view death as bad, they don't value human life, and their idea of happy fun times usually involves cutting, bleeding and minor amputations. And being drugged into having sex with somebody is bad. Being drugged into raping somebody would be an even bigger violation, and I am surprised this cop is still functional. Second, everything he has said so far is completely right. You hear hoofbeats, you eliminate the horses before you bring out the zebras. The reason being that if you waste time hunting for a zebra that isn't there, you risk letting the horses get away.

Having this character here? Is not helping the story or the main character. If you don't want a main character to look bad don't bring in the characters that have good reasons to hate them. 

Merry gets very passive aggressive and is all "THANK you for telling me to leave, I couldn't stand it here, you're doing me SUCH a wonderful favor" (...huh. I wonder why that looks so familiar.) and stomps out, dragging Rhys and Frost along with her.

I've yet to find a single redeeming quality in this book.  


  1. “It's not some magical or mystical connection to characters.” Gasp! But then how can you be a GREAT WRITER like LKH?



    How does LKH expect us to side with protagonists like these?!

    1. Every time I read one of LKH's writing blog posts it makes me want to hurl. Or scream. Or do both one after the other.

      I mean, I get it when things are going slow and you have no enthusiasm (I have enthusiasm for this book, but I am aware of how many little loose ends I have to tie up while keeping things interesting, and I've probably forgotten a few, and I haven't hit the fire stage yet) but that's why you get PAID for writing. I'm making a grand total of 15-20 bucks a month on my writing, but it's money I am paid in compensation for banging my head against the wall. 90% of the time when I change horses midstream, it's not because the characters are talking to me. It's because the book isn't INTERESTING enough as-is, and I need to change things around to make it more so.

      Yes. Merry was coated in the Magical Potion of Sex, which exposed her princessness to the whole world, by a guy she was invesitgating who was going to rape her. She knew this going in, which doesn't exactly make it any better. Doyle killed the SOB by having him eaten alive by spiders. However, Pearson didn't buy the magical aphrodisiac rape explination because the Magical Potion of Sex was top secret fairy stuff they didn't want people to know about.

      So Merry touched his cheek with her potion-drippy hand and he immediately jumped her. And then she got more of the potion all over everybody else while they were trying to pull Pearson off her.

      Something she didn't have to do because she could have invoked diplomatic immunity IMMEDIATELY and gotten the fuck out of department before the potion put anybody other than her shiny royal person in danger.

      Given that Pearson is a cop, and he probably holds rapists somewhere below worms and pondscum, the level of violation he felt more than justifies his telling her to fuck off.

  2. This series has rapist-eating giant spiders? Awesome!

    Merry Sue dosed a guy with a mind-controlling rape drug? BRING FORTH THE RAPIST-EATING GIANT SPIDERS.

    This book sucks. These characters are terrible. There is no plot worthy of note. The author is a self-righteous judgemental prick masquerading as an edgy kinkster. Have I missed anything?

  3. Don't forget about the magical rape potion accidentally outing a few lesbians on the force, and boy gee wize how embarrassing that must have been for them, tee hee!
    Because heaven forbid we spare a second to think about how dangerous it can be to be outed, and if nothing else how violating that would be on a personal level to have that sort of thing revealed when you don't want it to be.

    I don't know why (okay, I do, but let's pretend I don't) the horror of that scene wasn't played up. I mean, we're talking about a whole roomful's worth of people trying to gang rape one woman (although didn't the potion just make you want to have sex, so why were they all going after the same woman? Right, because Merry is the sexiest sexdoll that ever had sex.) Now, I may be misremembering the scene, but I have a feeling I'm not.

    1. In the interest of fairness, I looked at that scene, and several things stood out:

      1. LKH doesn't understand how diplomatic immunity works. You can't "claim" it, you already HAVE it. The police cannot charge Merry with anything she does. She can literally murder somebody and burn the body on her own front lawn and all the cops can do is have the fire department stand by and hose the surrounding houses down. So there's no reason for her to be sitting in the police station.

      2. The lead detective is "Alvera" and not Pearson. So Pearson must have been somebody in the dogpile afterwards.

      3. Alvera gives his permission to be touched as a demo that the potion works, and he almost resists it until Merry deliberately drags a finger across her breasts because "she's out of patience tonight". To me, she's already proved the damn stuff works and now should be sitting really still while everybody else gets the detective out of the room.

      4. When the other cops start dragging Alvera off Merry, she starts grabbing every male in the room because she's just SOOOOO NEEEDY, deliberately spreading the oil out as far as it will go. To cops who did NOT give their permission for a demo.

      5. The lesbian cops get half a paragraph, and it ends with "Nothing like being outed at work!" with that exact punctuation.

      I think the reason they all picked Merry is because she's Sidhe, and according to the book, a few pages back, the potion can turn a human into a sidhe lover for one night, so the attraction is a racial thing. I guess.

  4. Okay, serious Holy Shit moment here... LKH wrote an attempted-rape scene where the woman really did provoke her attackers. With rape-provoking magic that meant they really couldn't help themselves. And it was a DELIBERATE provocation on her part that just got a little out of hand.

    LKH isn't real. She's an elaborate hoax perpetrated by MRAs. That's the only explanation.