I wrote up Chris and Jesse talking about the ten most important songs in their lives circa the events in First Flight. You can click here or click the image above to read it.
Unexpected reviews on fairly well-visited sites are such nice surprises. Serena Yates gave First Flight a nice little writeup for Queer Magazine Online, while TigerLily of Booked Up Reviews gave First Flight four stars.
Something that makes sense at the time, but when you go to get a snack you open the fridge door and suddenly realize that it didn’t make that much sense after all. (Or it didn’t make sense, and then you realize that it did). I’d link to TV Tropes, but I’d like to go to bed within the hour…
Anyway. So, I’ve gotten some reviews for First Flight; some are great (Serena Yates!) and some are…less so. (Getting the plot that’s outlined in the blurb is apparently not enough for some people.) Some of the other reviews (they liked it, but…) have been nudging at me for the last few days, so I did something about it. I start with a tangent, but stick with it: I promise I have a point.
I like to draw. I’m not all that great at it, but I’ve amused myself and at least one other person – as well as having inspired someone (because, as they said, they could do better than my paltry doodles). This is not a bid for sympathy, but rather the set-up for my next statement, which is this:
If I have to label the parts of the drawing, then it’s a pretty crappy drawing.
I hold a similar attitude toward my own stories: if I have to write a paragraph or more explaining the story, then I’ve pretty much failed and need to start over. That said, what follows is more or less an explanation. It’s most definitely justification, as well, but I’m more comfortable with justifying things. (Friends and family know that they can count on me to justify nearly anything, heh.)
This is in response to a reviewer on Goodreads, who said that there are some big/important issues that are glossed over in First Flight; it’s also something of a response to another that said First Flight was “unrealistic”.
Nota bene: I am not writing this out of anger or a desire to make the reviewers see the errors of their ways – quite the opposite (it’s hard to argue for realism when one of the main characters is a guy who used to be a bird). I know there are some places where I basically painted some vaguely building-like objects on a piece of canvas and nailed it up over a hole in the background, then pointed off into the distance and said ‘Look! Something shiny!’ in hopes people wouldn’t notice.
Short version is: yeah, there are some holes, and here’s why I left ’em instead of trying to explain in-story. Cut for mild spoilers, just in case.
…Okay, I admit it, they’re fictional naming coventions. And I’m so far from being a professional research scientist that I’d probably be picked up as a first baseman for the Phillies before I was hired by Cornell’s department of ornithology. *Waves a hand* That’s not what I wanted to talk about, so anyway.
I wanted to talk about the structures and conventions I decided on when it comes to naming the individuals in the various Corvidae orders. They’re not really as integral to the story in First Flight, but as I’ve worked on the sequel (or what I hope will be the sequel), they’ve become more important.
Corvus corax, the common raven: My ravens have descriptive names that come from the world around them, from abilities, or from events in their (early) lives. Fell-from-tree’s name explains a lot about him, for instance; Finds-mice-well and Sees-caches have names that indicate that they’re good providers (or at least that their parents hoped they’d be good providers).
Other times, their names are simply personal attributes that override any other possibilities–as a sort of bonus, for those of you who have read First Flight: Ate-a-butterfly and Won’t-eat-crickets. I’ll leave who they are as an exercise for those of you who haven’t yet read the story.
Corvus brachyrhynchos, the American crow: As of this moment, I only have decidedly urban crows, all of whom get their names from words commonly found in any city. This includes but is not limited to Espresso, Pizza, and Mart.
Cyanocitta cristata; C. Stelleri, the blue/Steller’s jay: Short, sharp names that are more like sound effects than anything. Jekjek, Cherk, and Zek are examples of jay names.
Pica hudsonia, the black-billed magpie: tail-centric names, like Bright-tail and Mouse-chewed-tail. I have the idea that any pet names they bestow on one another are also tail-centered, heh.
I don’t know if Sings-like-water will be encountering any jackdaws, rooks, treepies, choughs, or nutcrackers, yet — I’ll have to look up their ranges and figure out if he’s traveling east or west. (I’m still in the ‘writing the interesting bits’ stage, which means I’m only worrying about really big questions right now. Like what do highly-urban crows call themselves/one another?)
Today’s the day — Chris, Jesse, and their odd families have been set free. Between some personal schedule upsets, some internicene squabbling, and this, my usual pre-release jitters have been more like pre-release earthquakes.
Me, I have to get back to writing, ’cause I have another story that needs finishing.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011: Chris and Jesse will go out into the wide world, and then… We’ll see what happens. I will have to forbid my family from purchasing it, since it has far more actual sex in than Tobias’s Own did, but that’s okay — I have a different version that I can send to them.
I just want people to like my silly little story about a boy, a bird, and the everyday magic of love.
And now I need to sleep instead of investigating why Firefox won’t open. *Grump* *Yaaaaaaawn*
They just seem like that kind of bird. When I came across this poster:
my first thought is that Chris would love it; my second was “I want one!” (Found here, at Regretsy.)
I just submitted Chris and Jesse’s story.
I want to run around, yelling like an idiot. I also want to hide and never check my email again. I know I’ll be checking it semi-obsessively, though, peering through my fingers every time.
Finally finished with the major-rewrite portion of my revisions. Now it’s time to put it aside and work on something else for a couple of days before taking another look at it.
One thing I have to do is figure out where I can send it, as well as what to call it, genre-wise. I’m pretty sure it’s not a paranormal; I know it’s not a swords-and-sorcery fantasy; it’s not science fiction… It is a contemporary, though. It qualifies as speculative fiction, but I’ve never seen that offered as a genre. I’ve never seen magical realism offered as a genre, either, and it would fit there, too.