Notes for 5-13-09
--OK, who sent me the box of Green & Black chocolate? Thanks!
--Retconning: There will be some semi-massive retconning in the finished books, as you might expect. One of them, which I announced at the beginning of chapter 28, is that historical Tremontine speech will not contain "thou" as a second-person informal pronoun. I realized that I would have to go through and rewrite huge chunks of books 1 and 2 to use "thou," which will make the damn thing nearly unreadable. So officially, one of the differences between Sairish speech and Tremontine speech is that the Sairish have "thou" and the Tremontines do not.
--Map: I'm closer to a map. The main delay has been in believable distances. It takes close to a week to get from Belleth to Apecto. How many miles is that? What does it look like on a map? Etc. I am a picky author. I expect some suspension of disbelief, but I want you guys to know I respect you, and that means researching stuff like that.
--"On Writing": I'm reading Stephen King's "On Writing" (on my Kindle! eee!). I am not a horror fan. I've only read a couple of King's books ("The Stand," "The Dead Zone"), but I highly recommend "On Writing" to anyone who's serious about the craft. I am not a good writer--yet. I am what King would call a competent writer, and always have been. I hope to become a good writer given time, and he says that's completely possible. I'll never be a great writer, but as Mark Twain says at the bottom of this very page, "My books are water; those of the great geniuses are wine -- everybody drinks water." I'm aiming for really good water.
More than ever, as I read it, I feel I'm on the right track with this story, and with my process. I am trying to write the truth as I know it, regardless whether it's correct ("ZOMG how can you write such a sexist society!") or socially acceptable ("ZOMG I can't let anyone know I read a story with so much sex in it!" when you can pick up books with at least as much sex in any supermarket). They say "Write what you know," but King points out that it's more "write what you love." He loves horror, fantasy and science fiction in a deep way that's been with him since childhood. I have loved fantasy, science fiction and 19th century literature for as long as I can remember, so that's what I'm going to write.
Along with that is an abiding fascination with sexual experience--not just stroke literature but sexual dynamics between people and among peoples. It's one of the reasons Sir and I are so compatible; he's a walking encyclopedia of sexual history and knowledge that, again, transcends the simple urge to get off. For better or worse, I start with the sexual dynamic between and among my characters and their societies--obvious, latent, or non-existent--and work out from there. It's just where I start, and there's no point in my fighting it.
One area where I differ from King is that his advice is to never under any circumstances show your first draft to anyone. He follows that up with "do what works for you, but that's what works for me," or words to that effect. What works for me is talking with all of you, about that very first draft. You are like my writing group. Thank you always for being honest with me.
--Coming up: We're wrapping up "The Last Royal Mistress," which means we're drawing ever-closer to the Editing Hiatus. (And Netta sent me a couple more chapters today; she's coming to the end of book one.) I will tell folks now that I would LOVE to see sillyfic (like "Three Quests") and fan art to help me during hiatus. I'm going to try to have bonus stories up for you at least twice a week during editing. I don't know how long editing is going to take. I'm hoping to have book one done within 3 months. Yeah, I know, that's a long time. But I can't finish one book while I'm writing the draft of another in the series. Though I might start work on Scryer's Valley, because it's different.