November 27th, 2006

bear by san

they'll tell you that the darkness is a blessing in disguise

for you never have to notice if you're sighted or you're blind

John Dankosky's voice on my morning radio still sounds like home. This morning's offering is on 18th-century houses in New England. Fascinating stuff.

My current downtime reading is A year in the life of William Shakespeare, 1599 by James Shapiro (how do I love thee, LibraryThing? let me count the ways) which is excellent. Both in general, and for my nefarious purposes. Full of tidbits and useful telling details, which I will be raiding from heavily when I do the rewrite of Ink & Pen (TNFKATSM*) so yanno, don't even bother trying to catch me out, because I'm telling you up front.

Shapiro likes trivia. And of course the trivia of daily life is exactly what I need, because it's the sort of thing that makes a setting come alive (the resistance of a quill to the pen knife like paring a fingernail, the grit in a loaf of sugar, the way your hose bunch at the bend of your ankle). I am so very happy to have found this book.

Meanwhile, the cat is up and is walking across me mrting for breakfast. (I get up at seven, which seems luxury after years working in construction offices and at the media mines. Madame rises at a civilized hour.) Mrrt! Mrrt!

So I will do that, and make more coffee, and shower. And then I have to suck it up and write 1500 words by three, so I can get to the gym before traffic gets bad.

*The Novel Formerly Known As The Stratford Man.
drive train _ netcurmudgeon

why I don't write alternate history

Because I can't help but think that it's way too much work.

For example, if I were actually concerned about a plausible alternate history here, I couldn't call this thing a zeppelin, nor could I name it the Andrea Dorea, because there would be no Andrea Doria, nor would there be a Ferdinand von Zeppelin. Nor could I have the Shakespeare and/or Marlowe quotes I've used in a couple of these. Nor would there be any reason at all to have a Victoria or a Napoleon cognate, all of which figure in my setting. As does a French revolution, and a city of Boston, and all sorts of other things that wouldn't actually exist, or if they did, would exist in unrecognizable shapes and sizes.

Also, the names of everything would be different, the languages would be different, just unimaginably different. And that conceit where familiar historical persons show up slightly recast? Never happen: they'd never get born.

But since what I'm actually writing is fantasy, not any academic exploration of how the history of the world would be different if magic worked in certain limited ways, I don't have to worry about that stuff. Because I realize just how ridiculous it would be.

See, and once I start thinking about all the things I can't do because the world would be different, I never get anywhere.

  • Current Music
    Paul Simon - The Rhythm of the Saints