Deep Desire

split infinitive Today, along with the laundry and prepping for our dinner (Frau L is going to show us a German method of making potato noodles and cabbage with bacon) I get to lunge through a bit more of Cormorant Run. I already have an editor asking, “Can we change the title?” and I have to say, “Not this one.” Some books can have their title changed–I’m thinking specifically of Valentine’s Fall here, which I wanted to use very badly for both Dead Man Rising and Saint City Sinners–but with others, the title is an integral part of what’s happening in the rest of the book.

Part of having a longstanding relationship with an editor is that you have to pick the hill you want to die on. I don’t set my heels very often, but when I do this particular editor knows better than to push me. I can be reasoned, and in some cases even bargained, with–but not always. On the other hand, I have to have the sense to know when my editor is right, and the sense to listen. It’s always a balance.

Anyway, today I begin to ratchet up the tension among the survivors in Cormorant. They’re in the Alley now, and that’s a very dangerous place. The sad thing is, no matter how hazardous one’s environment, it’s always other people who represent the greater threat. I learned this early and well, and it permeates much of my work.

There’s also, in this book, the idea that people will fool themselves much more easily and easily than any con artist could hope to. Everyone is in search of their deepest desire, and that desire is rarely ever conscious. Digging down layer by layer to know yourself–and to know that deep, deep wish–is strange, difficult work. Sometimes I think it’s what writing, on its most basic level, is. Each book is a processing of something, even the fun ones. Climb the mountain just a little, to prove that it’s a mountain[1].

Of course, writing is such a multifaceted thing, any time I start thinking “oh, it’s this and only this” I get rudely disabused of the notion. Never get too comfortable, or the Muse will pull out some pins to stick in your behind.

Over and out.

[1] And that’s all the Bene Gesserit I’m going to quote for the day.