Hunter’s Instinct

Happy EasterWhat is it with reclusive rich people and constant house renovations? My sister once visited the Winchester House; she said it was fascinating but only mildly creepy. As a Shirley Jackson fan, I expect more from my old freakishly-renovated mansions.

Good morning! Dawn is rising as I write this. Having to get up at six to get the kids to school is…interesting. For a night owl, having to keep an early schedule means I’m trying to wind down just as my body is wanting to wake up and move, and I’m waking up just when my body wants to be in deep slumber. I feel halfway awake most days.

This morning the Selkie and I are dissecting a recent read for our teensy little book club. As usual, I went and beat a metaphor to death:

He has no hunter’s instinct, which a writer has to have–you have to hunt down the plot bunny, flay it, see how it works internally, put it back to together, resurrect it, and then kill it again and hang the trophy. Or keep killing it and resurrecting it a little more perfectly each time. (From email.)

A hunter’s instinct is necessary if you’re going to tell a story the way it wants to be told. You must also be willing to have your characters suffer consequences. This becomes a million times harder if one of them is an authorial self-insertion. A certain measure of brutality is necessary, and it hurts, because it must be balanced by absolute compassion for your characters. Even the ugly, nasty, foul ones. Or the ones who possess your own character flaws. This balance–bleeding heart and brutality–is incredibly difficult.

Nobody ever said this job was easy.

Over and out.

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martian moon crab
martian moon crab

hunt down the plot bunny, flay it,

use its bones to make an attractive brooch and other adornments, and then a clever little hat out of its fur.


The ultimate one I’ve seen combines the rich recluse renovation theme and the hoarder/collector theme…the House on the Rock in Wisconsin. Seriously disturbing!