Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Waiting Game, Part Twenty-Two

Having finished SEASONS IN THE MIST, and been told that I need an agent for this one ("this could be your breakout book!"), I sent proposals to two agents this week, via e-mail. Now it's waiting time.

Did I mention I don't do waiting very well? My options are: 1) chew nails; 2) clean house; 3) finish edits on the last few pages of SEASONS; 4) start PEACEWEAVER, the next book. I have the story roughly in my head, along with some very romantic twists and turns, and my main character's name has come to me. I don't know my historical setting, though, as in what year? what part of Britain? Gotta have those things. Anmaire (my main character) will have to compose her soul in patience 'til I know where she belongs.

Forget option 3. Dust is a wood preservative.

Did I mention I hate waiting?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why Cats Say "Blurt" and Other Mysteries

Cats do say "blurt" not "meow". Robert A. Heinlein says so, and that's good enough for me.

Now--why do I mention this on a writing blog? Because there has been some talk about "old-fashioned" writing on some of the writers' loops. Old-fashioned in this case can mean practically anything--writers who are in their 60s trying to give their 20-something characters authentic voices; Jane Austen's style as opposed to modern; and historical writers attempting to get their characters talking right for their age and still be understandable to a modern audience.

Always, when writing in another era, there will be something lost in translation. My just-finished WIP is a case in point. In the 14th century, the upper classes spoke either middle-English or Norman French. I can't write in either language--it wouldn't communicate. Even if my skills were up to it, it wouldn't work. Writing is, after all, primarily about communicating.

That said, my characters can't sound 21st century. Not having been there in 1353 to hear how folks spoke, the best I can do is an approximation of a 21st century author's guess at medieval usage and speech patterns.

(I refused throughout the book to use 'tis. Just my prejudices coming through. I'd rather throw in an obscure French term, or even Cornish, than use that tired old contraction. To me, it shouts "Hey, this is a piece of historical fiction and I'm too lazy to guess how they REALLY talked, so here's 'tis' to tell you so!")

Now, some folks are not going to like the guesses and choices I've made. That's fine. If they get the gist of the story, I figure I've done 99% of my job. If my cat says "blurt" instead of "meow," I hope you will enjoy my story anyway, and forgive the fact that my choices aren't quite what you would've chosen.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

All Done!

Yay! I got the first draft done on SEASONS IN THE MIST, my (probably unsellable) medieval time-travel romance. My goal was to have it done by the end of the year, and I wrote "the end" on January 1. Can't get much closer than that!

I'll take 2-4 weeks to do the second-draft, which for this book means a complete read-through, spotting goofs, gaffes, "huh?" places, and all of my myriad bad writing-habits. Then I assess for story, add more content as necessary, and consider it pretty well done.

Then the scary part...sending it out into that Big, Bad Publishing World. Don't ask me if I look forward to this step in the process.

But I feel as though I've told one of the stories of my heart, and finishing it feels really, really good.