Medieval Curses

Two hundred ninety-four pages total in North Sea Dawn and I am a little more than half-way through with edits. Today I read perhaps my favorite comment from my editor, “Is this curse word historically accurate?”

Now, that is something to set you back a few hours of research. Did you know that most modern curse words didn’t exist in the early middle ages? Yeah, me neither. I did discover, according to several other authors on the interwebs, and as we all know if you read it online it is true, that with a few guidelines you can make up your own derogatory terms, full of vitriol to damn your villainous characters.

1) Insult the mother

2) Insult their looks and/ or physical capabilities

3) Use animal names, e.g. shrew, pig, dog, etc.

4) Bring religion into it

Devil’s shrew. Lousey, pox-marked son of a whore. Naggle-toothed swine.

This easily ate up an hour that would have otherwise been productive. It was fun though, and marginally educational.

Rewrites

Well, my editor is done. Did you know that after editing, comes rewrites? It didn’t sound that daunting three months ago. Now it sounds like torture to go back and correct all those little, and some big, mistakes in my work.

Rewrites are like dusting.  The house looks great, I am completely satisfied, and then someone lifts up the bed skirt and reveals all of my dust bunnies. Great. Now I have to try to figure out all the weird attachments to my vacuum and spend an uncomfortable amount of time cleaning a place I never look. But thanks to my editor, now I know the dirt is there. I could walk away and leave it as is, but in the back of my mind, I’ll always be thinking about how I left things unfinished.

I’ve put it off for as long as I can. I’ve dallied with other projects and made excuses about setting aside a really good block of time so I can dig into North Sea Dawn again. There is no more procrastination. It has to be done.

I just need to check my email first.

Characterization

Having a professional editor for North Sea Dawn has been surprisingly fun.  Prior to our first meeting I worried that my editor would bleed red all over my precious manuscript, and then I worried that they wouldn’t have any comments.

     “Well, what did you think?” said the author.

     “It sure was a story. Yep, lots of words,” replied the editor.

The actual experience was pleasantly in-between.  She has been flush with praise where due, and had great criticism that has improved my work.

But now I have a little bit of dread.  In our last session, my editor noted that I was straying a bit depicting one of my main characters.  She was right, for so many reasons, but now I have a bad feeling about our next meeting.  The last section of the book is being edited, and in that is this scene, this awesome, kick-ass, good guy triumphs and gets the girl, villain gets his comeuppance scene.  When I wrote it, I loved it.  I hit the last period and was all like, ‘Yeah! Take that villain!’.

My editor is not going to like it.

This is the first really hard cut I am going to have to make. I’ll have to sacrifice something I loved, that I worked hard on, for the sake of good characterization and the integrity of the story.  It will make North Sea Dawn a better book.

I still love that scene.

Cover Art

When I published my first short story, The Cottage, I had the option of using pre-made designs for the cover or submitting my own design or artwork.  At the time, I didn’t really know if anyone would even buy the story, so I opted to use a simple cover provided by Amazon.

One of my commentators recently suggested that I revisit the cover issue.  She pointed out, quite rightly, that readers do, indeed, often judge a book by its cover.  I took her advice and found that purchasing art and rights to use it as a book cover was much easier than I anticipated.  Choosing the content was the most difficult part!

Hopefully, the new cover will entice more readers to purchase my story.  It certainly is more eye-catching!

The Cottage at Amazon

Steampunk

I’m at a crossroads in my steampunk story.  Doctor Anderson has managed to uncover some top-secret research the U.S. government is searching for, and he’s reached a safe place where he can finally examine it.  Unfortunately, I can’t decide what type of research it should be.  I’ve got two choices:

1) Technology that will revolutionize a steampunk world, and has the potential to create economic shock waves that the antagonist can use to take power.

2) Something a bit more magical.

I like the magical aspect, because it adds something a little extra to the political intrigue that is the backbone for my story.  However, it may be a bit too much for the reader to deal with, as they already have to get used to a lot of terms that are unfamiliar and alternate historical events.  What do you think? Ground-breaking technology that Clayton Anderson discovers and must keep out of the wrong hands? Or supernatural knowledge that has the power to change the course of civilization?  Let me know your thoughts.

Fan Fiction

As a media consumer, fan fiction fills that time while I am waiting for the next episode or sequel.  Once I find a universe and characters that I love, I want more – now! (Isn’t that great commentary on a society of instant gratification?)  I think that is especially true of manga that is ‘complete’, movies that never get the trilogy deal I know they deserved, or shows that have been canceled.  Since the executives at Fox are apparently blind to the importance of an immersive experience, e.g. Firefly, fans can and will generate our own transformative stories that let us draw out the experience of discovering a story we love.

As a writer just learning the craft, it can be both challenging and educational to craft a new story with characters and settings already provided.  It stretches the creative process to express something old in a new way.  It also forces me to really work on those aspects that I feel I struggle with – deep character interaction and realistic dialogue.  I have a tendency in my original work to wax poetic for pages at a time describing a house, article of clothing, or a setting.  Just because I have spent hours imaging every detail, that doesn’t mean the reader wants or needs to hear about it – or so my copy editor tells me.  With a universe already created for me, and readers who are familiar with it, there is no reason to go on, and on, and on about visual details.  The reader already knows all of that with the same obsessive love that I do.  Instead, I can practice the skills that I know need work, and hopefully drive a little traffic, and media purchases, to the creative minds that I admire.  You never know, if they get enough readers, viewers, and fans, they might produce more of the stories I love.

Susan’s News

Welcome to my new site! I have brought together my work under various names and genres here, and provided a few samples.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy it so much you’ll want more!

I’ll post updates here and answer whatever questions that are submitted in the comments that I can.  Thank you for stopping by!

1 4 5 6