QOTD

Jul. 5th, 2013 11:50 pm
julian_griffith: (Default)
"I sometimes wonder whether I am a scholar at all," said Miss Lydgate. "It's all quite clear in my head, you know, but I get muddled when I put it down on paper. How do you manage about your plots? All that time-table work with the alibis and so on must be terribly hard to bear in mind."

"I'm always getting mixed up myself," admitted Harriet. "I've never yet succeeded in producing a plot without at least six major howlers. Fortunately, nine readers out of ten get mixed up, too, so it doesn't matter. The tenth writes me a letter, and I promise to make the correction in the second edition, but I never do. After all, my books are only meant for fun; it's not like a work of scholarship."

- Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night

Immensely comforting, if only I would listen.

julian_griffith: (Default)
 So, when I got "Lost and Found" submitted, I decided I'd drop a little thank-you note to the fellow who'd made this page about the B-24 bomber, because it was so helpful for me to have those diagrams, and everybody likes to get positive feedback, right?

He sent me a nice little reply saying "thanks for the nice note, glad it helped you, I'd love to read your story sometime."

Um.

See, the way I got his contact info was to go up one level on the URL, which got me to his home page. Which he has set up as a sort of "family blog" that reminds me, in tone, of the sort of Christmas newsletter people send to their extended circle. Kids' academic achievements, vacations he & his wife take, stuff related to his father who served on a B-24.

And maybe I'm not giving him enough credit. Maybe this head of a very wholesome-looking, Middle-American family, who lives in one of the more conservative US states... maybe he's broad-minded enough to appreciate a gay romance about WWII soldiers. With a sex scene in it.

But my gut is telling me that's not the way to bet.

Part of me wants to write back, if it gets accepted, and say "it's appearing in a charity anthology to support LGBT soldiers in the US military, I'm really glad it's supporting such a worthy cause," and let him decided what to do about that.

Another part of me is saying "yeah, just leave this one alone."

Most days, I look at things like the decision overturning DOMA, and striking down Prop. 8, and my own state having not only equal marriage, but anti-discrimination protection that extends to gender expression as well as sexual orientation, and I think, "YAY! Progress!"

Then I come up against something like this, and I see how my own doubts are keeping me silent... and I want to cry.
julian_griffith: (Default)
Project: Lost and Found
Market: Torquere Monthly Sips, September "In Uniform" call
Deadline: July 1, 2013
Required length: 3-8K
Final wordcount: 6456

This may have been the most outline-driven piece I've written yet. And even so, the first thing I wrote was the shorthand version of the love-confession conversation. I just outlined backwards from there.

I just sent it off. 4PM on the day of the deadline may be cutting it close, but when you consider how tight a time frame I wrote it in, I don't think that's bad AT ALL.

3-8K, it said. Oh yeah, I'll just condense this 10-20K plotbunny down to its core scene and write it as 3K, I said. Yeah. RIGHT.

Yes, I primarily engaged with the core scene - the confession of love. (And some making out and hand jobs. Yeah, "heat level: any", but they're acutely aware that they might die soon, they're gonna get physical. Also, it pretty thoroughly refutes the "you're just saying that" fear.) It doesn't have the longer period of UST buildup I intended. It's a single POV, when at 10-20K I might have used a dual one. But even with just the core happening, I still had to set the scene. Which meant about a third of the wordcount was dedicated to introducing them as officers on a B-24 bomber, and explaining what a piece of shit that particular bomber was, and sending them on a search-and-rescue mission, and describing the crash.

The crash (and their struggle to get in the life raft, they do not get eaten by the sharks at this time) counted as one long action scene. I suck at action scenes. It was a good thing I had a real crash to model it after. I did not plagiarize any of Laura Hillenbrand's words. I just lifted the framework of events: one engine running out of fuel, the wrong engine gets feathered, the flying coffin goes down.

One thing about having a lower target wordcount is that it kept me from going crazy with the research. Mostly I just concentrated on the design of the plane and that one historic crash. There was a brief sidetrack into Golden Age comics when I renamed the actual Green Hornet the Blue Beetle, and a couple of other details (like how did a Mae West life preserver fasten anyway, and how waterproof were their watches?) but I didn't need the entire arc of the war, or anything like that.

I still kept a few of the Steadfast Tin Soldier details... well, really just the shout-out to the one-legged bit by injuring the pilot's leg.

I was working on it last night while my housemate was watching Cupcake Wars. That was fine until my kid came downstairs and wanted the volume up because of the A/C and then WOULD NOT STOP TALKING. I had to resort to my big headphones. I told Pandora to build a station around Cole Porter, to keep it thematically appropriate. For the most part, it was great, although I had to tell it that although I liked songs in French I didn't want the cabaret accordion pieces, nor did I want ANY version of Beyond the Sea, and please leave Sinatra OUT. I don't care how celebrated he is. I think his voice is smarmy.

I left off last night at the beginning of the sex scene. It was a good stopping point, because sex scenes are the easiest parts for me. I picked up today and just went chugging through, with support from [livejournal.com profile] mswyrr  and [livejournal.com profile] gehayi and [livejournal.com profile] kittygamble .

And now it's done, and now it's off, and I'm taking a shower.

julian_griffith: (Default)
Project: Lost and Found
Market: Torquere Monthly Sips, September "In Uniform" call
Deadline: July 1, 2013
Required length: 3-8K
New words written: I am not going to sit and count what's in my spiral notebook
Present total wordcount: 1615

This is the same Steadfast Tin Soldier WWII plotbunny I had for Storm Moon's "Uncommon Valor" call, which I abandoned because I knew it'd take more research than I had time for to do a 10-20K story PROPERLY.

But at 3K? I started thinking about how I could compress it. I opened my file of plot notes. I searched my Gmail archive for a conversation I'd had about it with [livejournal.com profile] mswyrr . And I started poking the Wonderful Research Machine for, essentially, an appropriate bomber and an appropriate battle to bring my boys down in the Pacific.

I hit a jackpot. I discovered the story of the crash of the B-24 Green Hornet, and Louis Zamperini, and I knew it'd make a terrific base for the story I wanted to tell. And I was lucky: my local library branch had a copy of Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken, so I drove right over there and checked it out, and spent last night reading up to the bit where they got captured by the Japanese (which was not going in my story at all).

Today I had to go to the first day of Parent Orientation. DULL LECTURES. Out came the spiral notebook, out came my ballpoint, I started writing down conversational fragments and shorthand descriptions of scene segments... it took me three tries to figure out where the actual first scene was in the sequence of events I'd absorbed... first I thought it started with the crash itself, then I thought it started in the boredom before the crash, & finally I realized it started in their CO's call for "volunteers".

When I got home I started transcribing. The first three scenes are down in full dialogue format, without too many "research this" brackets. Then a miracle occurs -- the crash, which, I am not so much for the action sequences, but I think at least I'll be able to draw on my memories of car wrecks (I'm a lousy driver, just so you all know) to get the emotional content down. And then we have ye olde Hurt/Comfort and something that some people will possibly consider a Gay For You, but it's at least as much a Did Not Know What This Was Until Now combined with Friends to Lovers, and if you can't figure out from that description that my curly-haired Jewish navigator and my rich boy hot pilot with blue, blue eyes are old friends of mine, well, you're new around here.

Their CO is not batshit insane. He's just all out of fucks to give. He knows what "with respect, sir" means. He just ignores it. He's also only there to set up the action.

As this is a 3K story & not meant as a downer I moved it a year forward to 1944 so they had some more useful survival gear on the raft. I did not, however, let them keep the plane's emergency provisions box. Also, though Harry saved his sextant and compass, they don't have two chronometers, or even one -- both their watches got utterly fucked in the crash.

Spoiler: they get rescued. Hi, this is ROMANCE.

I end it at the rescue. But I am 100% certain that after the war, they will live happily in San Francisco ever after, probably even long enough to see that first miraculous surge at City Hall. Not without sadness... they survive the Plague Years because they're very, very monogamous, but I don't doubt they lose a lot of friends.

Yeah, there's TONS of stuff I could write about these boys, given time.

But 3K in a couple-three days?

Easy peasy.
 

wondering

Jun. 26th, 2013 01:18 pm
julian_griffith: (Default)
 Do I want to consider writing anything for the Riptide Anniversary Open Submissions Call or the Torquere Monthly Sips?

So far, I've only ever written for Storm Moon. That is, I did the novel and was prepared to submit it everywhere, and Storm Moon accepted it, and since then I've answered a Storm Moon holiday open line call ("Therefore Be Merry, Set Sorrow Aside") and their Turning The Tables anthology call ("Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant") and now their An Improper Arrangement anthology call ("Cherish the Ladies"). I haven't had a rejection yet, though An Improper Arrangement isn't closed yet, and I doubt I'll hear back on that before August. Theoretically the turnaround on short stories is two weeks after the anthology closes. I know better.

I've reluctantly dropped the idea of answering Storm Moon's Uncommon Valor call (gay male, WWII) even though I have a plotbunny. Said plotbunny might work for Torquere's September theme, "In Uniform", though at 3000-8000 words, I'd have to make it kind of a condensed version or a "here's a scene from" trailer-type thing for what I'd originally envisioned for the plotbunny. But, hey. Spider Robinson was able to extend short stories and novellas into full length novels (I'm thinking of the novels Stardance and Mindkiller) so maybe I could. And 3000-8000 is a lot easier to contemplate finishing by July 31 (oh shit theirs is July 1 can I do it tonight?) than 10-20K by July 31, when I've got coursework to do.

But what I had in mind for my next-up was... well, I'm considering two possibilities: write the trans* Peninsular War soldier (in Rockingham's regiment, so part of my dear, familiar continuity) novel for Storm Moon, who, last month, were saying "we want trans* stories so badly we're considering offering advances," or turning my attention to my Jewish lady playwright and her bisexual Musketeer lover, and, when I finish it, trying to find an AGENT for it. Because now I've got a few credits, and I'm given to understand that having a track record works in one's favor when trying to get an agent. And. There's been a recent hiccup at Storm Moon, and, while they've been reassuringly transparent about it, it still makes me nervous that they've been running  so close to the bone that their present situation can produce the aforementioned hiccup, and I'm wondering if I ought to branch out.

So. Experienced type people, friends, anyone reading this -- thoughts? Experiences with the aforementioned publishers? Advice about agents?

Discuss.


julian_griffith: (Default)
Project: Julia and Mary (Regency lesbians) FINAL STORY TITLE: Cherish the Ladies
Market: Storm Moon Press, An Improper Arrangement open anthology call
Deadline: June 30, 2013 MADE IT!
Required length:8-12K
Total wordcount: 17,374 (BUT S.L. SAID THAT WAS OK)

It's done.

I did the final push for it last night, when I had to stay up all night anyway, because my kid was at the school-sponsored all-night graduation party, & I didn't know if kiddo would want a ride home before it ended or stay through until 5AM.

Kid stayed through. I finished the story.

I went back today and cleared the brackets, filling in things like once-mentioned characters whose names existed because I'd mentioned them once in the novel, too, and what that road was named before it was the A5, and sorting out all the dates for the letters.

I realized, as I was coming into the home stretch, that I'd basically composed this story according to the Cool Stuff Theory of Literature.
 
This is a theory originally articulated by Steven Brust, whose writing I love, and who, the one time I ever met him in person, commended the works of Patrick O'Brian to my attention, so you could consider him partly responsible for all the stuff I'm doing here. (I can just hear him saying, "Hey! Don't blame me!")

Anyway, the Cool Stuff Theory of Literature goes like this:

The Cool Stuff Theory of Literature is as follows: All literature consists of whatever the writer thinks is cool. The reader will like the book to the degree that he agrees with the writer about what’s cool. And that works all the way from the external trappings to the level of metaphor, subtext, and the way one uses words. In other words, I happen not to think that full-plate armor and great big honking greatswords are cool. I don’t like ‘em. I like cloaks and rapiers. So I write stories with a lot of cloaks and rapiers in ‘em, ’cause that’s cool. Guys who like military hardware, who think advanced military hardware is cool, are not gonna jump all over my books, because they have other ideas about what’s cool.The novel should be understood as a structure built to accommodate the greatest possible amount of cool stuff.
I think I wrote Julia and Mary's story entirely according to the Cool Stuff Theory, even though I'd forgotten its existence.

In fact, I was kind of wallowing around in Cool Stuff for this one like a little kid in a ball pit. Letters! Regency fashion magazines! Interior design in Adam townhouses! Toy boats on the Serpentine and early-morning walks in Hyde Park before breakfast! Gothic novels and their fangirls! Newfies! Cameo brooches with classical motifs! Coaching journeys with THE ACTUAL INNS AT THE CHANGES! Impressive country houses that are nevertheless smaller than outrageous specimens like Blenheim and Highclere! Garden design! Ladies' accomplishments!

I freely admit that for the first half of the story, I was just putting in stuff that I liked, without knowing what it was doing besides being Illustrative Of Character.

But you know what? It turns out I was able to take a number of things from the first half and tie them in to the second half and the meat of the developing romance! The Gothic-novel fangirl adjusts to the notion that big houses aren't necessarily spooky, and that ancient churches might only contain prosaic English vicars. The other one has painting and sketching as her Accomplishment? Wow, do I get to play a lot with the idea of Gaze. Coaching journeys? Hey, if a wheel comes off between the established changes, staying at a poky place is a good way to include Enforced Bed Sharing and up the UST! And it gave me great satisfaction to pinpoint the exact spot on a map and decide that a turn off the stick-straight old Roman road that's currently the A5 onto a less defined local road would be a good place for clumsy postillions to mishandle a top-heavy, elderly coach. The cameo brooch with the Three Graces on it? I was TOTALLY able to use that!

It took a certain amount of discipline, as I was working through the second half, to refrain from just following the characters around and seeing what happened. I had to make myself stick to incidents that would MOVE THE ROMANCE ALONG.

I still got to put in new Cool Stuff. Like, oh, two of my favorite Herrick poems. *gloat* I mean, how could I resist when he writes about a JULIA?

And then once I'd taken Mary from a gradual sensual awareness of her own body to the stirrings of sexual desire to the point where she could NAME it as sexual desire and choose to act on it, I linked that up with the Pivotal First Kiss I'd already written, and then it was on to The Sex Scene.

Which ran on a bit. Because sex scenes are EASY.

And then the concluding letter and I was DONE with it, except for the mopping-up.

It's formatted to requirements, attached to the submission email, and waiting in their inbox.

I need a nap.

Bumpy ride

Jun. 17th, 2013 11:01 pm
julian_griffith: (Default)
Project: Julia and Mary (Regency lesbians)
Market: Storm Moon Press, An Improper Arrangement open anthology call
Deadline: June 30, 2013
Required length:8-12K
New words written: This is a little tricky, as my running tally doesn't reflect editing-on-the fly.
Present total wordcount: 12583
Mean things: Incompetent postillions
Fun things: Getting to use actual routes & inn names
Stimulants: Goat cheese & onion marmalade sandwich for lunch

Before I could write narrative today, I had to blow 40 minutes on notes-to-myself. I shared them on tumblr. Here, watch my brain ramble:
 
SCENE NOTES
 
Okay, so. Julia and Mary are going from London to Brackley Hall. It’s a journey of about fifty miles. They plan to do it in one day: six hours is long, but they’ll arrive in time for a late supper. (So they think. A minor carriage accident will force them to make an overnight stop at an inn.)
 
Julia came to London in her personal travelling-coach, which, unlike the post-chaise pictured above, has two benches facing each other. She did not, however, use her own coachman and horses for the journey; doing fifty miles in easy stages that the same four horses could handle with appropriate resting periods would have made the journey long and tedious. And she doesn’t travel regularly enough to keep more horses of her own stabled along the roads. She may be rich, but not THAT rich. So they’re using hired post-horses and postillions. She probably brought  a groom or footman with her (having one’s own manservant has its uses, and her hostess in London wouldn’t have found it a burden to house & feed him for the duration of the visit) but not a coachman. I note this only to remind myself that the outside seat is occupied. He’s not really a factor in this story, or at least I don’t think he will be. He might add a comment or two on the condition of the carriage post-accident.
 
Anyway. What I really need to sort out is whether there’s a second vehicle involved in this journey. People besides the aforementioned manservant:
 
  • Julia
  • Mary
  • Julia’s five-year-old son Richard
  • Richard’s nursemaid (she’ll need a name. Are nursemaids high enough in rank to go by their last names, or are they addressed by first names? I think they’re typically last-named; Caroline is rather informal when she calls her lady’s maid, her son’s nursemaid, and her cook-maid all by their first names, but Caroline’s first married establishment is very small compared to the grand houses she’ll be mistress of later. Julia’s late husband was a middle-aged marquess, twenty years older than Caroline’s titled army major stationed at an encampment. Yeah. A last name for the nursemaid. Back to the MBTA maps, as I’m out of Lexington elementary schools.)
  • Kendall, Julia’s lady’s maid (see what I mean about the MBTA maps? I’ve already used up the Red Line; I think I’ll hit the Green Line next.)
That’s five. Five all fit inside her coach. Julia and Mary have their belongings in the rooftop imperial (think cargo box; the added weight of Mary’s belongings is what will change the maneuverability of the coach). Mary’s empty trunk is being lashed beneath. (She is leaving London with a LOT more clothing than she arrived with; Caroline really rigged her out.) The servants would likely all have traveled with just a box or grip, equivalent to carry-on size, because they only need a change or two of outer clothing and several changes of linen, not a fashionable wardrobe. How much clothing would the five-year-old have had, and what about his toys? I know he has a wooden sailboat. Proper Teddy bears weren’t made until 1903 but I can’t imagine that there weren’t SOME forms of soft toys in 1810, right? Add in some lead soldiers, a kite(that’s collapsible though), would he insist on his Noah’s Ark? Hoop is too big to go in a box but would be easy to lash next to a trunk or over the top of the imperial. Hm. But for clothing he really only needs several skeleton suits & about a week’s linen. So a half-size trunk, say.
 
 
 
Oh, hey, look at that, this photo is labeled “carriage imperial” and it’s on a smaller chariot and it has TWO boxes. Good. There’s room for everyone’s stuff: Julia’s and Mary’s clothing goes in one box, the servants’ grips and Richard’s half-size trunk go in the other. Julia’s and Mary’s dressing-cases go under the seats, that’s standard.
 
YAY THERE IS ROOM FOR EVERYONE’S STUFF WITH A SINGLE LARGE COACH. I don’t have to have a separate vehicle with servants and baggage.
 
Does Richard get car-sick travelling backwards, or is he one of those little kids who begs to sit in the rear-facing seat of a nine-passenger station wagon? (Remember those?) Do either of the maids get carsick? Julia and Mary have to be sitting next to each other, for my purposes. If they had someone squished next to them, it would improve my situation even more.
 
Authorial fiat: Richard gets carsick and so needs to be facing forward, with a window seat. Therefore Julia is in the middle and Mary on her other side. PERFECT.

So after that I did three writing sprints and then dipped into Cary's Itinerary as a reward.

I AM SO GLAD I DID.

Now the whole sequence, instead of being a few dull outlines of a journey that they could have taken anywhere, has real inn names, real geography, real travel times, and a much better sense of how the accident happened: the Crown at Dunstable was very backed up, so they changed horses at the Sugarloaf, whose postilions and horses were NOT AS GOOD, and when they turned off the stick-straight old Roman road (which is now the A5) towards Woburn at Hockliffe, the incompetent post-boys couldn't manage the turn, and oopsie.

I found a pub that was not a coaching inn that was very close by, and had existed in the right time frame, give or take a few years, and would serve to slow them down enough.

And now the journey and the accident and the little boy running around while they're waiting for the postilion to come back with the landlord's gig & get all their stuff TO the pub-that-has-a-couple-small-bedchambers-but-no-spare-horses and the general exasperation all feels REAL to me, where before I was just "okay, I have to get them to the Enforced Bed Sharing SOMEHOW."

Also, one of the three inns at the St. Albans change was a White Hart, so I got to put that in as a present for [livejournal.com profile] angevin2 .

I hope someday I earn enough from my writing to VISIT all this stuff.
 
julian_griffith: (Default)
 I tweeted about falling into the Research Hole because I don't actually know that much about sailing toy boats on anything bigger than, say, a wading pool. And this time I was writing about the Serpentine.

[twitter.com profile] brewsternorth (@brewsternorth if the code doesn't crosspost) pulled me out of it, passing along the detail that boats like that can be attached to what's essentially a bobbin of kite string. NONE OF THE MODEL YACHTING SITES MENTIONED STRING. @brewsternorth even said that the boat was Serpentine-rated.

This is perfect. A five-year-old can definitely control something on kite string.

And I didn't spend six hours for half a sentence.


julian_griffith: (Default)
I'm not sure whether I'm referring to the lifting and carrying I did at [livejournal.com profile] gehayi 's house, or to the effort it took to get 418 words today.

Project: Julia and Mary (Regency lesbians)
Market: Storm Moon Press, An Improper Arrangement open anthology call
Deadline: June 30, 2013
Required length:8-12K
New words written: 1216 (798 yesterday, 418 today)
Present total wordcount: 11717
Mean things: Measles
Fun things: Toy sailboat on the Serpentine
Stimulants: Homemade blue cheese dressing on my salad, Good Humor birthday cake flavor ice cream bar

No WAY is this story going to be under 12K, but it WILL be in the original 10-20K range. Probably come out around 16-17K is my guess.

Caroline's children have caught the measles, sending Caroline back to Maitland House and requiring Julia and Mary to leave London, which gave a handy reason for Julia to invite Mary to come visit HER instead of going directly home. They took Julia's son to the park so that his nursemaid could pack his things uninterrupted. Julia revealed to Mary that her marriage was in no way a love-match. Mary was not yet bold enough to confess what the deal was with hers.

It's in Julia's POV right now, which is giving me a lot of scope to reveal her inner angst and the rigid self-control she imposes on herself to try to keep from wanting what she believes she'll never have.

I know what I'm writing next, too. Thanks to The Regency Redingote, I learned a terrific little detail about Regency luggage that'll lead to a minor carriage accident, an unplanned stop at an inn, and the ever-popular Enforced Bed Sharing, which will NOT lead to nookie at this point. Just a lot of frustrated desire.

After that there will be one more segment in Mary's POV before we get to the Climactic Kiss, the resulting emotional exchange, and the emotional resolution that finally leads to the nookie.

And I think I'll be ending it with a letter from Julia to Caroline, explaining that Mary will be staying forever. Apparently I can't get away from the trope of bringing a U-Haul on the second date...

But it feels like I know where I'm going, and there are basically five segments left, and one's a sex scene and one's a letter, both of which are typically VERY easy for me.

So I think I can make deadline!

Oh, if you were wondering about the homemade blue cheese dressing, it wasn't exactly complicated. I had blue cheese crumbles around anyway, because I like them on salad, and I stirred some into a little buttermilk, which I always have in my fridge because pancakes, and then I mixed in a little mayonnaise for texture. But it made my salad DELICIOUS.
 
julian_griffith: (Default)
 Have been doing a lot of RL stuff this week that will, I hope, have a long-term payoff in giving me a more secure financial situation and in putting my kid on a better footing with college tuition. In the long term, that should give me more time to write.

In the short term, it's eaten into writing time.

Today?

Writing.
julian_griffith: (Default)
Project: Julia and Mary (Regency lesbians)
Market: Storm Moon Press, An Improper Arrangement open anthology call
Deadline: June 30, 2013
Required length:8-12K
New words written yesterday: 827 (and another 100 today)
Present total wordcount: 10569
Mean things: Julia lashing out
Fun things: KISSING
Stimulants: Red Rose tea

So I finally decided that the way to get unstuck was to write out of sequence and jump to an emotional turning point. So I wrote Julia and Mary's first passionate kiss.

Now I have to go back and fill in the buildup from the halfway point to there, and then write the sexytimes and the happy resolution.

Yes, it's going to go over the target wordcount, by a LOT. S.L.'s already said that longer is better than shorter and she'll give a LOT of leeway to lesbian fiction, so I'm not too worried as long as I can keep it under 20K.

Tomorrow is my weekly day of being [livejournal.com profile] gehayi 's Office Manager, so I probably won't be writing until the evening, if at all.

But I plan to give Thursday and Friday over to writing. I've hit the halfway point in my medical coding coursework, and I don't have to be ready for the exam until the end of July, so I'm on target there. And the deadline for this is a lot closer.

So the next task is to give Caroline's children the measles, so she has to leave London, which gives the opening for Julia to invite Mary back to Brackley Hall, and for their friendship to get all ambiguously romantic and for Julia to keep forcing down her hopes because that's what she DOES and that's where most of the conflict comes in.

It's back underway!

julian_griffith: (Default)
The final edits are done on Love Continuance and Increasing. I got to keep the hyphens that I could document in Jane Austen's letters, and I rewrote acceptable versions of a few sentences that just sounded terrible without their deleted commas.

Now I get to sit and fidget and wait for my cover art and for the release date. Which is still, as far as I know, August 2nd.

I think this calls for a drink.

Edits!

Jun. 2nd, 2013 09:41 pm
julian_griffith: (Default)
So, yesterday, I got the first round of edits on Love Continuance and Increasing back from gehayi. Five minutes ago, I sent them back.

Seriously, most of the edits were about regularizing the spelling to 100% British, and fixing my two persistent formatting screwups -- I'd followed outdated advice and used underscores to surround bits meant to be italicized, and I hadn't been able to insert em dashes into Google Docs and hadn't fixed it in the final .rtf I submitted. In future submissions I won't do either of those things wrong.

Apart from that, I grudgingly allowed the deletion of a lot of PERFECTLY GOOD commas -- by the end, I was putting in the occasional frustrated note saying "These are respectable, God-fearing parenthetical commas and the sentence is clunky without them, so they stay," -- and attempted to fix what pronoun confusion problems were pointed out to me, and got punchy enough defending hyphens that I resorted to "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?" and "Father John's Christmas". And I cited Pride and Prejudice to defend my one use of the archaic spelling "practise". If Lady Catherine DeBourgh can instruct Darcy's sister to practise the pianoforte, my heroine's mother can tell her younger daughter to do so as well. :)

And I put in a few things that I needed, like the acknowledgement that Rockingham wasn't related in any significant sense to the former prime minister, and clarifying George Pennington's position in regard to the Rockingham entail, and sticking an author's note at the end about the HMS Pickle.

I'm bracing to see whether I'll get stronger demands for change from higher up the chain, but as it stands now? I'm VERY happy with my book!

(Cover art, oh, I am crossing my fingers on the cover art, I can't wait to see it, and I really REALLY want it to be good!)
julian_griffith: (Default)
 but there were a million interruptions, and I really NO FOOLING had to get a chapter of billing & coding coursework done, and seriously it just was NOT HAPPENING. Though I might get a bit in after this post.

But I still have exciting writing-related things going on! I sent back the edits on "Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant", the femdom lady pirate / English naval captain story I wrote for the Turning the Tables anthology, and, even better, [livejournal.com profile] gehayi is just about done with the edits on Love Continuance and Increasing. I ought to get them back from her in a day or so.

Let me tell you how awesome it is to have an editor I already know. Let me tell you how awesome it is to have an editor who'll go to bat for me on some of my quirks that don't fit the stylebook.

I GET TO KEEP MY BRITISH SPELLINGS, FOLKS.

This was so important to me! I didn't realize how important until I faced losing them, and had the sinking feeling as if asked to cast the movie of my book with actors who'd speak in American accents. It would have been THAT WRONG.

I got word that I was being allowed to keep them because it WAS set in England in the early 19th century, and otherwise it would have been no, but that's why I ASKED for it - I wouldn't have done it for a contemporary American story. I also wouldn't be writing a contemporary story set in the UK because there's just too much I don't know. I can research well enough to sustain an existing contemporary UK setting for a medium-length fanfic. There is no way I'd manage it for an original. I wouldn't try.

I also get to use "grey" instead of "gray". I don't get to switch back and forth between them, alas - I still contend, and [livejournal.com profile] gehayi agrees with me, that the two are DIFFERENT COLORS, and "grey" is lighter and softer than "gray", but the price of getting "grey" is that I have to be consistent.

This is bearable. If they'd insisted on "gray" I would have had to go back and change Caroline's eyes to GREEN. Because they are NOT GRAY. They're grey. It makes a difference!

[livejournal.com profile] gehayi also made me very happy by commenting that some of Thorne's idioms and grammatical lapses sound very like her grandfather, who came from a coal mining village. Which...means I've made him sound northern, which is right for the actor's voice I was hearing in my head, but not right for the character's specified birthplace, unless the idiom carries over to other rural areas. Well, I can almost guarantee most American readers won't know the difference, and I hope I haven't made him entirely implausible for UK readers! I should make the next lot extraterrestrials. Lots of planets have a north!

So, I need to get back to Julia and Mary, but the certification course has got to take a certain amount of priority. And then I want to see if I can do a story for the Uncommon Valor (m/m, WWII) anthology call at Storm Moon, and then... VERY exciting... Storm Moon is really eager for trans* fiction, and I have a perfect hook for that: a female-assigned-at-birth soldier in Rockingham's regiment! Oh, there is SO much I can do with that! So, looking to start that in August.

Meanwhile, I'm pretty well set to get through the first heat wave of the summer. I knew it was coming, so the last couple of days I prepped ahead, and I made a batch of gazpacho, and one of cucumber-yogurt soup, and a big bowl of pasta salad, and a few deviled eggs (I left the others hard-boiled without fussing with them), and a batch of lemon-dill butter, and I have veggies cut up for green salads, and basically all I have to do for a while is RAID THE FRIDGE. I'm good with not having to put ANY thought into cooking for a while.

I've had at least two quarts of iced tea today. I have a funny feeling I won't sleep for a while.

Maybe I'll be able to write.
julian_griffith: (Default)
 I've been away far too long to try to catch up on my reading. If there's ANYTHING since, oh, MARCH, that you think I ought to see, drop a link in the comments.
julian_griffith: (Default)
 I SHOULD have been working on the "An Improper Arrangement" story. I've been neglecting it. (I've been neglecting everything. I haven't been well.)

But she was telling me about an obscure-fandoms fest or meme or SOME damn thing, and how someone had requested Major Edrington/Georgiana Darcy.

Which... no. If you put P&P in 1813, he's MUCH too old for her, given that he had to be at least mid-twenties at Quiberon in '95. And she's sixteen. Even if you put P&P in the mid-1790s when it was written, sure, he'd be kind to her, but they're not a match with any chemistry.

So, being who I am, I said "You know what works better? Edrington/Darcy." 

[livejournal.com profile] kittygamble liked this idea. And, once I'd said it, it would not leave me alone until I wrote it.

So, here. Have a little under 2000 words of Edrington/Darcy slash. Mildly smutty, but not as explicit as I usually write things. In my typical fashion, the men are very clearly bisexual. A little wistful, but, for the most part, sweet.

If you think I can be arsed to figure out a title, think again. )


 

julian_griffith: (Default)
What I should have been doing today: cleaning house in preparation for the arrival of a house guest. Namely one K. Piet, marketing director of Storm Moon Press, the wonderful people who are publishing my novel, because Storm Moon Press is going to have a table at the Rainbow Book Fair in NYC on Saturday, and I'm going to help staff it with her. It's kind of important that I clean at least enough to be able to unfold the sofa bed without dislodging papers.

What I did instead?

Wordcount.

I cranked out a LOT of words today on the Regency-lesbians story. Once I get in the groove, it goes like ANYTHING. This is for several reasons: first, I'm in my ELEMENT in a woman-focused Regency story, because FASHION and INTERIOR DESIGN and CARRIAGES and PROMENADES IN HYDE PARK and all that Georgette Heyer goodness; second, I've really started to get a handle on the inner lives of my main characters; third, as I go on, I'm getting a better and better sense of the STRUCTURE of this thing (when it comes to plotter or pantser? PANTS ALL THE WAY, though I do rough it out concept-style with [livejournal.com profile] mswyrr ); and, lastly, THIS IS SET IN MY NOVELVERSE. I have incidents and framework and supporting characters ALL THERE already. Alexander's Newfoundland, Minor, has just made an appearance for a small but important role!

The thing's just over 9K now. I suspect it's only about half done. I checked with the editor, though, and she said OVER wordcount is a much easier sell than UNDER, and when it comes to lesbian fiction, she's likely to be extra-lenient.

I'm not going to give you the Important Caroline/Alexander Argument (I swear, sometimes I think Alexander's main function in my universe is to get angry about things, but he does it SO WELL, and in ways that serve the theme and plot), but here, I cannot resist sharing a bit of the Cute Newfie Business:



When Alexander opened the door, an enormous black dog jumped up from the tiger rug that lay before the hearth, and bounded towards them, wagging his tail furiously. Caroline reached out (she did not have to bend in the slightest) and scratched his ears. “Minor! I’ve been neglecting you, I know. When Parliament recesses, you shall come to Maitland House, and run about to your heart’s content, even if the children don’t care to be hauled out of the duck-pond quite as often as you think best.”

Alexander laughed. “Am I invited, too?”

“Well, I suppose, as I know how little he likes to be separated from his master,” Caroline teased. Julia only rolled her eyes at that, but Caroline noticed that Mary was cringing away. “Minor, sit. I assure you, Mary, he means you no harm! He is the gentlest, kindest creature that ever lived. Only but let him sniff your hand, and he will know you for a friend -- though I do suggest you take your glove off first, as he does have a habit of drooling.”
I SWEAR I'M NOT JUST BEING SELF-INDULGENT, IT BECOMES IMPORTANT.

But, God, it's fun to write.
julian_griffith: (Default)
Captain's SurrenderCaptain's Surrender by Alex Beecroft

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Now this is what a romance is supposed to BE.

I will admit, Age of Sail is my home ground. And I can't get enough of the forbidden-love trope, so historical m/m is perfect for me, because it's an organic part of the setting, and not achieved by contrivances. But, that said...

Josh and Peter are both engaging, realistically flawed, sympathetic characters. The plot goes along at a crisp pace, with plenty of action, nail-biting tension, and strong emotions, not all of which are related to the developing romance. Okay, I'm also a sucker for crazy-tyrant-captain and floating-hell scenarios, because of reasons, but they're scenarios that come up a lot in Age of Sail fiction, because of probably the same reasons (look, do I have to be delicate about it? Mutiny and Retribution are masterworks of storytelling) and I've seen them done abysmally as often as I've seen them done well. This was done with consummate skill: I could feel every shout, every flinch, every tremble. The historical detail, as far as I could tell, was flawless -- I'm more at home about twenty-five years later, but I couldn't see a single error. Do you have any idea what a relief that is? And a joy? The details of shipboard life, and of battle... if I could do them even half as well, I might feel more confident including them, instead of sticking to drawing rooms and inns and cottage kitchens. My hat's off.

And the romance! The unbalanced nature of it, the way the characters' emotions build and shift, the frustrating misunderstandings that were completely plausible instead of making me want to shake them and say "just TALK to each other, for God's sake" -- no, they talked to each other, but they still managed to talk past each other in ways that were utterly believable and heartbreaking. And the final resolution was glorious.

And not ONCE did this story make me uncomfortable by presenting non-consent as acceptable or romantic. These men CHECKED. Even when they were being passionate and fierce, there was never a time when either of them forced the other or ignored a sign of discomfort. This shouldn't HAVE to be a relief, but it was, and I am most thoroughly grateful.

THIS is a romance. THIS is what I want from my stories. I cannot speak too highly of it. Go forth and read.





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julian_griffith: (Default)
I got sidetracked into primary sources, but this thing is already at 5700+ words for an 8-12K call. Have some Regency setting detail porn that I'm almost certainly going to have to trim:

The barouche drew to a stop in Portman Square. The coachman held the splendid match-bay horses in check; Mary eyed them with some concern, for it seemed that the ten-mile drive from Maitland House had not tired them, but only served to whet their appetite for speed. Caroline had not seemed to care. When they had set out, the coachman had called back to her, “Do you mind if I give them their heads, my lady? They’ve been cooped up these last few days on account of the weather, and I’d like to shake their fidgets out.” Caroline had called back, “Of course, Charles; you know what’s best for them,” only after turning to Mary and saying “You don’t mind, do you?” Mary had swallowed her fear, and hoped that her answering “Not at all” had not sounded too false. She did not think she had ever driven so fast before, but she had to admit to herself that the coachman handled them with expert smoothness. Nevertheless, she was glad it was over.
 
The footman jumped down from his perch behind them, and opened the carriage door, untucking the rug from around them before helping them down from the carriage, first Caroline, then herself. Mary was relieved to see that the line of servants outside was not quite as large as the one that had greeted her at Maitland House. They bowed and curtsied, and she repressed the urge to curtsy back; she was still accustomed to a single manservant and a housemaid, no more. Caroline only smiled, and said “This is [name is in novel], our butler, Mary; [name], Mrs. Lawrence will be staying with me all Season, so please make sure she has everything she might need.” 
 
[name] inclined his head. “Very good, my lady,” he said, and ushered them up the stairs into the house. The footmen must have followed, for they were right there to take their mantles and bonnets.
 
“Are you as chilled as I am?” Caroline and rubbed her hands together. “Let’s go up to my dressing room; it’s so much more snug than the drawing room, and we can drink our tea there.”
 
“That sounds perfect,” Mary said.
 
Caroline turned to [butler] once more. “Have tea sent to my dressing room, as soon as it can be done, please. If Lady Brackley arrives before dinner, show her right up to us.” 
 
[butler] acknowledged this with a very slight inclination of his head. “Just so, my lady.”
 
The dressing room was snug, with a comfortable fire already burning in the hearth, the paneled white walls picked out in gold, and a flowered carpet setting off the pale pink wainscoting. Rose velvet curtains were drawn back to let in the pale daylight, still grey with the last of winter. It was far more light and modern than anything at Maitland House, with its oak panels and tapestries and rows of ancestors looking down from every wall. Caroline sat down on the striped damask sofa, settling against its cushioned back. “That’s better, isn’t it?” She patted the spot beside her.
 
“Much better,” Mary agreed fervently. “This is a lovely room.”
 
“Do you like it?” Caroline gave her a conspiratorial look. “It used to be done in yellow, for that was his Mama’s favorite, but that made me look bilious, no matter what I tried to wear! So Rockingham said I might change it however I pleased.”
 
“I couldn’t imagine a better one,” Mary said. 
 
julian_griffith: (Default)
The Complete ServantThe Complete Servant by Samuel Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Every Regency writer NEEDS TO READ THIS.

It's not just advice for servants and explanations of their duties, although that in itself is brilliant. But it has recipes, and weights and measures, and HACKNEY FARES IN LONDON including a table of fares from the major theaters to various locations, and information on the London post, and where the mail-coaches leave from for outlying parts... THIS IS YOUR SECRET WEAPON FOR AUTHENTICITY.

note: free on Google Books.



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With infinite thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kittygamble for reminding me.

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