…And “June” hummed a bee
In a Bacchic glee
As he tumbled over and over
Drunk with the honey-dew.
And that was Clinton Scollard. That said… Continue reading
II. Slightly smaller editing job. After months of silence, now they wake up and are, of course, in a hurry. And here’s the (long) new chapter, and can I finish it by Saturday, and when can they send the next?
III. Flu. Or perhaps not quite the flu, but still. I’m just beginning to feel vaguely human again, after three days of fever and cold.
IV. Revision – because yes, there is that, too.
To think that this morning my mother waltzed in, took a good look at her only daughter, and pronounced me in need of a little vacation… But the fact is that, for the next two or three weeks, I’ll barely have time to breathe… So I’m not even sure I’ll post very often or very brightly until, say, the end of October.
You are warned, O Readers: if you find Scribblings lagging behind, you know why.
Well, I may have cheated a little, and the last-but-one chapter is a tad disconnected, and the last one is more a loose collection of scenes and questions, begging – amongst other things – to be split in two… And the ending doesn’t have a very definite shape yet.
But hey: it’s a first draft. That’s what first drafts are for, isn’t it? And I finished it.
Now, if all goes well, I mean to let it rest for a whole month. I’m told a month is the time required to grow a fresh pair of eyes, very handy for revision. And it’s true: I don’t have the sense God gave to small green apples, and I’m dreadful at keeping good intentions… On the other hand, I have a good deal of work waiting for me, and books to read, and I’ll have to make it up to all the people I shamefully neglected these past five months – so perhaps my June will be so full that I will have no time to even think of the novel…
So: until July, novel.
But I confess, I’ll miss the heady rush of this last week. Between Saturday and Sunday I wrote some 7500 words – a whole lot for me. It may have been all a little haphazard, but how very exhilarating. Scenes followed scenes, and new ideas, and possibilities, and detours kept cropping up… It may seem far ideal, when one is trying to conclude as fast as possible, but it was quite heady.
Also, it gives me a good headway towards revision, a whole new way to tighten up the middle, and a few threads I want to pursue back – if that makes sense… Oh.
See? There I am, musing on revision already!
Ah well – but this is for July. Right now, let me bask in the afterglow: I’ve finished the first draft.
I beg to differ from the Bard on this: I’m not all that sure a rose would smell as sweet if it were called, say, benzopyrene. Or, even if it did, would you really smell it to make sure?
Names matter. Names are not all the same.
And yes, I confess: I’m the sort who will stay after the film is ended, to read the names in the end credits. The sort who will sift through obituaries, other people’s old class lists and spam mail for names. The sort who, when playing D&D at sixteen, could agonize for weeks over the name of a Level 1 elf…
When I start writing something new, names are all important. I can spend hours poring over name lists in dictionaries, seeking The Right Name. And it’s hardly ever a matter of meaning. Mostly, it’s the sound. And of course, when writing historicals, other considerations weight in the choice, such as time period, custom and social suitability – but all the same, the name must sound right for the character.
Oddly enough, I don’t always choose first names I like. I’ve foisted on beloved characters names I’d frankly hate to bear, while some names I love never proved right for any character of mine. Odder still, last names work differently: they must not only sound well with the character’s first name – for some reason, I want to like them.
All this to say that there is this novel I’m slowly revising, in which two main characters bore names starting with A, and three different beta readers suggested that I should change at least one. It seems it’s not a good idea to have different characters’ name begin with the same letter. Readers might get confused.
Yes, yes – I know: I think I’d take offence too if anyone implied that I can mix up two very different characters just because they share an initial. And yet… what if someone got confused? What if they had to check again and again to make sure who’s who? What if they threw the book away before page thirty – because they can’t tell characters apart? Not good, is it?
So in the end I decided to give up one of my oh-so-carefully chose names, and I’m not enormously happy, because one I like, and the other is perfect for the character, and no amount of list sifting has yet produced a good alternative for either…
And no: my characters don’t smell as sweet by any other name. Why, one of them has even changed face in my mind – all because of the name I’m not sure I’ll keep… I dare say that, for once and as far as I’m concerned, Shakespeare just might be wrong.