July 23rd, 2003

bear by san

Startford Man Whitterings

So I've realized part of the problem with the draft is that I need to both expand and narrow the focus of the book. Or, more precisely, I need to make sure the focus is very tight on the playwrights, and what they're doing, and how it affects the major external conflict--

--which is tricky, because they're not in control of that major external conflict. They're pawns in it. Important pawns... okay, maybe rooks *g*--but not players. (Which is a terrible pun, I know.)

Their conflict lies in choosing their sides, as this enormous dog-eat-dog every-man-for-himself-and-the-Devil-take-the-hindmost world of Elizabethan politics moves around them. And in justifying their actions to themselves. And in keeping heart and soul together as they face these impossible choices in a world much larger than they are.

What's interesting is that there's a bit of pressure from some of my beta readers to expand the scope of the story and make it more heroic/high fantasy: they want a perspective that's in control of these policy decisions, which of course my fellows aren't. They're also so far the people who much prefer the "fantasy" side of the story as opposed to the "historical" side of the story.

The beta-readers who seem happier with both sides are also much more likely to understand how the conflict is evolving, but I suspect that probably has to do with more familiarity with the way low fantasy (well, it's not really low fantasy either. If anything, it's more structured like a spy novel, where the external politics are almost a force of nature) works.

So I need to very much clarify the players in this outside world--the world of the force-of-nature politics--while refining the focus of the narrative so that those things happen very much in the background. I expect there are readers who still won't find it appealing--it's not a save-the-world plotline, after all--but at least I think I understand what I have to do now.

Now the challenge lies in figuring out how to make it happen.
  • Current Music
    Pretenders - I Go To Sleep
bear by san

The Devil looks an awful lot like Leonardo DiCaprio

Are you surprised?

You know, I'm not really surprised, either.


Wordcount: 1283
Reason for stopping: I just can't do any better than that last image tonight. Besides, I used the word "candent" in a sentence, and I think I should quit while I'm ahead.


Finished In Search of Shakespeare. Excellent resource. It means much rewriting. Next book: Elizabeth's London.

What is good about using multiple sources (and as many primary sources as possible) is that people who are familiar with your topic (who are, in theory, your target audience) will not find your fiction tiresomely limited to the ideas and facts presented in one or two sources with which they are probably already familiar.

I refer to this as Patricia Corwell syndrome: I studied some forensic science, back in the day, and I had to quit reading her mysteries after i realized I could name the single popular-science source from which she had drawn the inspiration for each of her books.

On the other hand, she did just get an eight-figure advance, so I imagine she's laughing all the way to the bank.

Edgar: The Prince of darkenes is a Gentleman

--William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act III, scene iv
  • Current Music
    Robert Plant - Heaven Knows/ Fleetwood Mac - Little Lies