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Oh, the humiliation.... [Nov. 29th, 2008|09:56 am]
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...at my age, having so little sense.   Why did I think that moderate (!!) overindulgence on one day having no immediate bad consequences could be followed by...well...sort of exuberant overindulgence on the next (unrestrained by the presence of guests, conversation, etc.) and still have no Consequences.   (With the capital C, consequences are always bad, right?)

But the pies were so good.  The dressing was so good.  The turkey and gravy.   And I thought I'd spaced things out well enough....

We draw a long black veil over the Consequences, except to mention that it's totally unfair another family member ate more than I did and had no Consequences at all.  

The other humiliation came when work resumed on the book on Friday.   I'd been through every sentence multiple times, but familiarity with the story and knowledge or the real referent of every pronoun leads to the worst errors--those where a word/sentence/passage can be read several ways and one of them is drop-dead hilarious.   A typo is a typo, but there's no excuse for a horse that suddenly sprouts eyebrows (and raises one) and hands which  he offers to help the rider mount.   And having confessed this, I must now correct the correction made last night to conceal which incident this was even more, or you'll *still* notice it and howl with glee ...or maybe I shouldn't rob you of that opportunity. 

We may be clunky and pedantic at times, we may explain more than is necessary...but we must be clear, and we must not make it easy for readers to come unglued from the story.

On the good side, I've figured out where to break the 230,000 words to make it a book and something over a third of the next, if that proves necessary.  It might even be advantageous, as it lets me reinsert into the half-year between Midsummer and Midwinter some things I took out...things that would be much better in, like the stuff with the elven tutors, some more episodes with K- and his future wife-that-he-doesn't-yet-realize-is, etc.

And within the month (or two--let's be realistic) there'll be a new website for all the Paksenarrion books, including the new one, with background stuff nobody's seen (but the friends who were alpha readers for the first ones.)  Don't go looking yet...I have designing to do, and artwork, and content development, and so on.   But it should be a resource for those who have trouble with that many names (me, too: that's why I have files on names), who aren't sure where things are, who wonder if A is related to B, what the background is on (for instance() the mikki-kekki of Dzordanya or the "prophecy" that convinced Alured the Black he should be king of everything.   Not all the content planned will go up at once, but at the least we'll have publication data on all the earlier books and up-to-date info on the new one and its progress towards publication (and the writing of the next one in line.)

There'll also be a website coming (soon but not as soon as the one for the Paksenarrion books) dedicated to our land project, wildlife management on small acreages, and restoration ecology on small acreages.  Since I've found that I can't (as I thought I'd be able to) work on the nonfiction in exact parallel with these deep fantasies (they're too demanding--they eat my brain when they're flowing), content there will be transferred from previous posts on SFF.net and stuff on my existing home page, plus some of the photos from my LJ gallery.    I hope this site will build interest for the book I want to write about the land.  And no, I have not forgotten the book for parents on parent-driven creativity in raising autistic kids, but the books on contract (and their website) have to come first.


[User Picture]From: galbinus_caeli
2008-11-29 06:19 pm (UTC)
Elizabeth, perhaps you can answer a question about editing and outside readers.

I read an author whose work I enjoy greatly except for one factor. This author is British, but occasionally has an American character. But that American character sometimes uses terms that shout "not American" to an American reader.

An example. A character is preparing to get in his car and go for a drive. So he puts on a "wind cheater" grabs his "driving license" and goes down to the "car park" to get in his car. These are all wrong for an American character, and cause a reader like me to figuratively stub his toe.

How could I politely suggest to this author that he should have an outside reader, who is American, read through a draft for these sorts of minor oddities?

Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-11-29 07:25 pm (UTC)
Question: does this author publish first in the UK or in the US? If this person's primary publisher is in the UK, he/she may be required to conform to UK house style even if one character is American. And some cross-Atlantic publishers are now (apparently, data from several writers) *not* changing spelling and other usages to conform to local standards. It's cheaper for them to leave it as it was written. I don't know how much UK usage applied to an American character would bother the average UK reader--if the UK publisher doesn't think it's a problem, they might shrug it off.

You might ask the writer if his/her publisher failed to change the usage for the American character (especially if that part of the setting is also in the US) and offer the equivalent...but the writer may already know about it and be doing a *headdesk* because he/she can't get it changed. Something like "I'm sure YOU know that Americans call a windcheater a windbreaker and a driving license a driver's license, so I was wondering if having your American character use British terms implied that he/she was a strong Anglophile or whether it was an editorial decision to have all usage in the book British..."


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[User Picture]From: galbinus_caeli
2008-11-29 10:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

I see no evidence of the books being published by a separate UK publisher at all. (It's Tor. I am only being a bit cagy because I don't want to give any negative impression of the author. But Tor is too huge to be any sort of clue.) So it really can't be a house style.

It isn't one character, but all the major characters are speaking American English and the setting is America. Personally I find the slight language differences to be helpful in establishing character. Just like tossing in an occasional "y'all" into the speech of an American Southerner helps congeal the character.

If the character is an Angliphile I haven't seen evidence of it (outside of these little oddities) and I am a good number of hundred pages into the story.

Oh, the heck with it. I am talking about Charles Stross's "Merchant Princes" books. (If you as an author feel that my mentioning this would seem rude, please do me the kindness of deleting this comment. I am a fan of his work.) I am currently reading the fourth in the series and these little oddities have been consistently sprinkled throughout.

Do you think he would be offended by an email, or lj comment, pointing out this sort of thing (just in general, not chapter and verse edits)?
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-11-29 10:53 pm (UTC)
I don't think your questions are offensive, but generally prefer not to "out" other writers when discussing, in general terms, what I like and don't like about a work. (Well, except in politics...) Whether he would be upset by them or not, I can't say. He's got a very strong voice (writing voice, that is, dunno how loud he can yell), and he may have reasons for it. Or he may just not know. You can still start with a question on the order of "Did you have a reason for having your American characters use British terms for some items and activities, like 'windscreen' for 'windshield' and 'windcheater' for 'windbreaker'?" It's just a way of suggesting there's a problem for you-as-reader without saying "You idiot, why didn't you use the right word?" which I suspect you would never say, or you wouldn't be asking.
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[User Picture]From: galbinus_caeli
2008-11-30 03:48 am (UTC)
It's just a way of suggesting there's a problem for you-as-reader without saying "You idiot, why didn't you use the right word?" which I suspect you would never say, or you wouldn't be asking.

Exactly. Thank you, I will use something of the "Did you have a reason" form.

And I really appreciate you letting me bounce this off of you.
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-12-02 05:59 am (UTC)
Don't feel too bad about your howler: I once wrote something like: 'he held a gun in one hand and his head in the other'...didn't know I'd written it like that until the writing group collapsed laughing!- Annalou
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-12-02 01:49 pm (UTC)
I think howlers are given to us so we don't forget we're ALL fallible.

Laughing at oneself is a good thing.
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[User Picture]From: blueeowyn
2008-12-02 02:46 pm (UTC)
Re: The Paks novel, I was at a convention over the weekend and your name came up and some of the panelists didn't know you were working on a new novel and were squeeing with excitement at the idea (one of the panelists had found it on an electronic newsletter or something ... i.e. not here. I was very amused and I am very thankful to you for letting us see the process a little bit.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-12-02 02:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks for telling me that.

When I get the new website up and running, I'll announce it here, of course. It will have info on all the books in that story universe, hopefully from re-found boxes of stuff that I put SITH (somewhere in this house, Esther Friesner's wonderful acronym) and haven't been able to find. I have some of the info, but not all.
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[User Picture]From: blueeowyn
2008-12-02 03:15 pm (UTC)
Esther was one of the people at the Con and she was wonderful to listen to. I used to mostly focus on the music at this con but for the last several years have gone to more panels because some of the speakers are WONDERFUL to listen to (esp. when given questions like "what is the coolest thing that you learned in research that you couldn't include" and for your dessert; "what is the coolest thing you did include").

And you are more then welcome. You are one of the most gracious people I've 'met' online and cherish the memories of meeting you when you were in the area for World Con (mumble) years ago. I figured you would get a kick out of the information.

Edited at 2008-12-02 03:17 pm (UTC)
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