dropped one, but got another

I didn’t finish “Once a Goddess” tonight, so it’s officially late — though I hope to get it done soon.

But I did crank out 2124 words on Midnight Never Come, which doesn’t suck. All of it in an extended flashback scene, mind you, that may or may not ever end up in the novel; I even put it in a separate “flashbacks” file, so I can keep it separate from the main narrative and decide when, if ever, to drop it in. I suspect I’m going to write a number of these things for my own edification, and not all of them will end up being used. But they do matter, because they help me get important background details straight, and the ones I don’t put in will probably end up as freebies on Swan Tower.

So, 2124 words on how Gilbert Gifford got recruited into Walsingham’s service. On the surface, it’s just like history tells you. (One interpretation, anyway. I’m finding a great deal of disagreement over when Gifford started being a double agent. But that’s fine; I’ll just run with the interpretation that serves my purposes.) Beneath . . . well, that’s the whole point of this novel. There’s history, and then there’s the beneath layer I’m adding to it.

It’s fun. But it ain’t easy. In writing those 2124 words, I consulted four different books and two websites (one of them being the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, which I discovered the other day and which rocks my world). And I’m having to remind myself that the set of people who would know whether the queen was in residence at Greenwich or somewhere else in December of 1585 and the set of people who will be reading Midnight Never Come are unlikely to overlap to any substantial degree, so I should just put her at Greenwich if I bloody well feel like it and move on with the paragraph rather than worrying that I’m getting Something Wrong.

Historical fantasy. Oy. Why did I think this was a good idea, again?

0 Responses to “dropped one, but got another”

  1. kitsunealyc

    I read that as Gilbert Gottfried. Which had the benefit of being very surreal and had me wondering if you’d suddenly cracked from all the fanfic discussions and started writing RPF.

    • Marie Brennan

      Kyle made a similar crack last night, when I was ranting about encountering, in very quick succession in the same research book, one George Gilbert, one George Gifford, and one Gilbert Gifford. (Not to mention another Gifford or two, and a variety of other Georges.)

      Of course, nearly every minor historical figure I name-checked in this scene was a Thomas somebody-or-other, so it’s not like that’s going to be an isolated problem for me.

      • anima_mecanique

        I remember reading a statistic once that said that something like 60% of the male English population in the Victorian era had the same five first names. Charles, George, John, William, and some other one, I think it was.

        • Marie Brennan

          In the Elizabethan period, it was seventy percent John, Thomas, William, Richard, or Robert. (In that order, I believe.)

          Mind you, then you had random guys named Lancelot or Maliverny, and women named Douglas Sheffield. But I need to be sparing with such things. I’m glad the fae characters can have weird names; in the meantime, I’ll just name all the random minor mortals with the common names. Mostly people went by their surnames anyway.

  2. mrissa

    A fundamental mental instability?

  3. Anonymous

    My room-mate, The Other Bryn? May actually be at the exact epicenter of the very small overlap between the two circles of that Venn diagram ….

    • Marie Brennan

      Erm, a niggling memory of The Other Bryn tells me this is probably , but you’re not signed in.

      Could you ask her where Elizabeth was in residence in mid-December of 1585? Or really, if she happens to know, where Walsingham was at the same time, but I assume he was wherever the Queen was.

    • d_aulnoy

      Er, sorry – that was me, not signed in. πŸ™‚

  4. milbrcrsan

    It’s so cool that you do all this research for your books – then again, it’s not everyday I get to chat with authors, so I wouldn’t know if that’s what everyone does. πŸ˜‰ :p

    It’s hard for me to keep up with history *blush*, but I’ll definitely give it a shot when this one comes out. πŸ˜€

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