it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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life is sweet on the edge of a razor

Things to remember about life, and publishing: The Ghetto Is Not The Whole World. I know a few people in romance and comics and mystery and so forth, and the way they do stuff over there--the culture and the business practices--are not the way we do stuff over here.

This revelation applies to life, as well.


For the last couple of days, we've been working on cover copy. Or, more specifically, Liz sent me the copy department's proposed cover copy for Whiskey & Water, and the two of us have been tarting it up a little bit, and making it more specific--in an attempt to help the book better find its audience.

Cover copy is such an interesting experiment in attempting to give abolutely nothing away while still making the book sound fascinating and giving an idea of its setting and tone. So first we went through and tried to give an idea of where Whiskey & Water starts--i.e., there is a brief "Seven years ago..."--and then a little bit about why Matthew is interesting, and the situation in which he finds himself in the first hundred pages of the book. Of course, because W&W is a monster novel with an ensemble cast, that's only one of the two A plots (the book also has about four B plots, all of which wind toward the same climax)--but it's the one that's easiest to describe. Of course, it's also not the one that the title is drawn from. *g* But hey!

Anyway, the process involved pruning a lot of nonessential information. Like, it's not really relevant to the hook that Matthew's a junior professor of English as his day job (yanno, it's really unfair of me to give Magi day jobs... but I have one too; they can just suck it up) so that item of information can go. But it is relevant that his student/mentor relationship with Jane went pearshaped in a ginormous fashion at the end of B&I, so that needs to be in there.

Also, there ought to be a suggestion of the conflict that moves the story forward, and enough information to get the reader curious, or to hook their particular kinks if those kinks happen to be in line with the novel. What we don't want is wandery or inessential detail; what we do want is precise, strong, concrete language, nouns and verbs, narrative momentum. At one point, for example, Liz (who's a pretty fine line editor) had me substitute "a beast almost certainly Fae" for "something almost certainly Fae," and "treachery" for "untruths," for example.

Anyway, here's the final copy we came up with--which is, of course, still a draft and still subject to change!

"Elizabeth Bear is talented."-Entertainment Weekly

"Bear makes the rest of us look like amateurs."

-Peter Watts, author of Behemoth: Seppuku

Whiskey and Water

A Novel of the Promethean Age

Elizabeth Bear

Award-Winning Author of Blood and Iron

Whiskey and Water
A Novel of the Promethean Age
Elizabeth Bear

"BLOOD & IRON takes everything you think you know about Faerie and twists it until it bleeds, " says Sarah Monette, author of MELUSINE. Now, Campbell Award-winning author Elizabeth Bear delivers a dazzling return to the realm of modern-day magic...

Seven years ago, Matthew the Magician ended an age-old war. It only cost him everything.

Along with his fellow Promethean Magi, Matthew followed his teacher and master Jane Andraste into Faerie to rescue her half-human daughter and destroy forever the power of the Fae. But when Matthew discovered Jane's treachery, he betrayed her--and the Promethean armies fell. Matthew lost his brother and his mentor - and the lives of almost everyone he knew.

Now Jane is recruiting a new army, and Matthew--his right hand crippled and his power shattered--is the protector of New York City. So when he finds a young woman brutally murdered by a beast almost certainly Fae, it's his duty to bring her killer to justice before Jane uses the crime to justify renewed war. Along the way, Matthew must contend with Magi, Faerie, angels, untamed forces of nature, and an honest cop who thinks Matthew himself is the killer... until he finds himself face-to-face with the greatest Adversary of all.

"Bear works out her background with the detail-orientation of a science fiction writer, spins her prose like a veil-dancing fantastist, and never forgets to keep an iron fist in that velvet glove."

--The Agony Column

...hope somebody finds that useful. Or entertaining.
Tags: industry, lives of unparalleled glamour, promethean age, whiskey & water

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