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Posts Tagged ‘fixing the book’

Meet the Rewards: Limited Edition Miniscript

Of all the rewards I’m offering on the Chains and Memory Kickstarter, I think this one is the most special to me.

Changeling: The Dreaming has a concept it calls “dross”: objects invested with so much emotional significance that they actually contain energy of the sort changelings use to power their magic. They literally embody somebody’s dreams. Sometimes a piece of dross is famous or valuable — e.g. Babe Ruth’s bat — but they can just as easily be personal, like your beloved teddy bear from childhood.

That miniscript? Is dross. Back in the fall of 1999, when I had finished the first draft of the novel eventually known as Lies and Prophecy, I knew I needed to edit it. Since I was going on a weekend trip to a football game with the Harvard Band, the bus ride seemed like a good time to read through the book and mark it up — but for that, it needed to be portable. And, well, I hadn’t told anybody other than my then-boyfriend (now husband) that I’d finished a novel, and I didn’t want anybody saying “wow, that’s a giant stack of paper you’ve got there; what did you do, write a novel?” So I invented the miniscript: eight-point font, half-inch margins, single-spaced, full justification, print on both sides of the page, and voila, you’ve got a book on forty pieces of paper.

Which is still, to this day, the way I do my first round of edits. (You can tell me that is a bloody stupid way to print out a manuscript for editing. I will agree with you. And then I will go on printing miniscripts, because that is How I Do Things.)

The miniscript of Lies and Prophecy is quite literally the first time the first draft of the first novel I ever completed existed in print. Its creation is pretty much the moment that Marie Brennan, Fantasy Author stopped being a thing I wanted to be when I grew up, and became what I actually was.

It’s also a record of just how much the book changed over the years — and how much it didn’t. The first draft was flabby as all get-out, and I’ve added all kinds of new layers since then (the Yan Path stuff), fiddled around with secondary characters (Grayson used to be white; Liesel’s friends went through about eight different names apiece), cut out bits of worldbuilding that didn’t really contribute anything to the story. But it’s still the tale of Kim and Julian and the attack on Samhain and it ends pretty much the same way. If somebody ever writes an academic work on Marie Brennan, Fantasy Author, this miniscript will be a goldmine for their attempts to trace my growth as a writer.

And if you want a copy of your very own, you can have one. 🙂

Dear Brain, WTF.

The revised draft of this novel is due in to my editor in about a week and a half. Plus, due to problems with my financial institution, I’m going to have to do all my tax-related work in the same span of time.

So, naturally, my brain is trying to write three short stories at once.


This entry was also posted at Comment here or there.

more problems I bring upon myself

Things I do not have the brain to deal with tonight: the continuity error I just caught during my copy-editing slog. The CE didn’t flag it for me, because it’s not the kind of thing she would notice; you have to know the floorplan of the Cromwell Road corner houses to know that I got something wrong. Yes, this means that shui_long would be the only person on the planet (other than me) to notice. I don’t care. It still annoys me, and I have to fix it. Either Louisa’s bedroom faces the street and is above her mother’s boudoir, or it’s directly off the servants’ staircase; it can’t be both. But I’m coming down with a cold and just don’t want to deal with it tonight.

Really, what god of writing did I piss off to saddle myself with this kind of historical nitpickery?

Time to fall over.

With Fate Conspire is revised and off to L’Editor.


Length of final draft: 157,000 words

Length of kill-file, containing material longer than a sentence or two cut during the process: 57,000 words


Dear Whichever God Rules Over Novelists,

What do I have to sacrifice to you in order to guarantee that my next novel will not require me to write thirty-six percent more material than I actually use? Lemme know, and I’ll get right on that.

Your obt. servt.,
A Very Tired Writer

and she can’t call him Frederic yet

Dear Mr. Myers why did your name have to begin with an M it makes all of these sentences unfortunately alliterative gah stupid actual historical people in my novel I’m never doing this again okay that last part’s probably a lie.

<goes back to fixing the book>

for my science friends

I’m not sure how to phrase this best, but — at what point in history did we start to develop actual, workable “detection” devices? I’m thinking of things along the lines of a Geiger counter, but it doesn’t have to be a radiation detector; just a device to measure anything not visible to the eye. Wikipedia claims Gauss invented an early magnetometer in 1833, but the claim consists of three not terribly informative sentences, and the article on Gauss himself just says he developed a “method” for measuring magnetism, without specifying what it was.

Basically, Fate may or may not end up including a device for the measuring of a particular substance/effect/force/whatever, and I’m trying to figure out how much the concept of such a thing existed by 1884. (The question of how this thing works can be dealt with separately, if I decide to include it.)

Any historians of science able to answer that one for me?

more than official

With the two new scenes I added in tonight, With Fate Conspire passed the 150,000 word mark. (150,975 words, to be precise.)

Nothing next to the bricks of epic fantasy, of course — but more than long enough for me. Unfortunately for that sentiment, I have four more scenes to add before this revision is done. Please, God, don’t let this book balloon all the way up to 160K . . . .

I bring these things upon myself

For the amount I’m having to juggle who knows what about whom and when they know it (and when they don’t), I really ought to have a mystery novel to show for it.

Instead, I have an Onyx Court book that makes me want to tear my hair out.

Let this be a lesson to all concerned: never inflict amnesia on multiple characters at once. (No matter how good your reason for it may be.)

Ah well. L’Editor liked it — quite a bit — so there’s that stressor removed; I do still need to do a lot of work, but it’s entirely of my own making. Can’t really blame anybody but myself for that.

Oh, hey! The “l’editor” thing reminded me. If you’re a fluent French speaker and could spare me a few minutes of work checking a handful of lines from this story, please drop me a line, either in comments or by e-mail. It isn’t much, but I should probably fix it before this goes to the copy-editor.

the slow creep upward

Just noticed that as of last night’s revision, With Fate Conspire is officially the longest Onyx Court novel. (144K and counting.)

I’m hoping the damn thing doesn’t hit 150K before I’m done, but given the big honking change I’m thinking of putting in, I wouldn’t bet the farm on that.