Saturday, June 13, 2009

roses and revisions

Here's the backyard roses. Every rose here is medieval or earlier, while the frontyard roses are Victorian or David Austin Roses.

These are the garage-devouring albas. You can see that they're recovering nicely from two winters back when the snow peeled them off the garage and flattened them.
Today we put a garden bench in the space between them, and I'm hoping to put an arbour frame over the bench to prevent it disappearing into a mass of vines & blossoms.
The rose on the right (of the pic above) is Alba maxima, also called the Jacobite rose. One of the descriptions calls it rampantly flowering, which sounds about right. A very strong fragrance. I cut some for Thursday night table, and the dining room was nicely perfumed.
I've been picking up the dropped petals and putting them in a bowl as a sort of immediate pot-pourri, though I suppose I should be drying them first.

This is alba semi-plena, and it's pretty rampantly flowering and highly scented as well. It may be the White Rose of York, which is appropriate, because I'm a bit of a Ricardian.
I'm not sure which rose would be the Red Rose of Lancaster. I'm sure it's in one of the rose books or websites.

Three gallicas behind the window seat, though you can only see one blooming right now.
The leafy green behind the drainpipe is an acanthus plant. It's the big scallopy leaves that medieval manuscript painters liked to have running down the margins, to unfold into big scalloped platforms for little scenes.
Acanthus grows rather like rhubarb (there's a rhubarb plant next to it) and it's probably time that I separated its crowns and planted some in the front, perhaps under the bay window.

Here's a closer view of the gallica bloom and buds. It will open up much more than this, but I rather like the flower at this stage.

The bush next to it hasn't opened yet, so whatever sort of gallica it is, it's a later-blooming one. I'll know more when I see the flowers. The backyard roses don't have little metal tags to identify them. Or if they do, the tags are buried and lost.

This gallica grows closest to the window where my writing place is, and I can look out the window and see the blossoms. It's Rosa Mundi (gallica versicolor) and seeing it from the corner of my eye I always think of carnations. The rosa mundi has much more fragrance than a carnation, of course.
And yes, I'm terribly spoiled to have roses flowering away while I'm writing.

This last is a damask rose, Quatre Saisons, or Autumn Damask, and it's supposed to flower repeatedly through to autumn, rather like the Dortmund only prettier. Another strongly scented rose.
Both Mark and I have a fondness for the streaky roses. This one was at first trained along the fence, but our neighbour pulled it down a few years ago when he painted both sides of the fence, and it had been sprawling along the ground since. It's a very thorny rose, and its location under the apple tree made for some exciting apple-recoveries.
At present I'm trying to figure out some way to keep it upright that's a bit more secure than loops of twine. Very specialised trellis?

Revising: I've taken the first steps of changing the font and format--a different monospace font, single spacing--and stripping out the chapter divisions and headings so I can look at just the text.
Now I'm listing the scenes / sequences / events /whatever and what each event or set of events does in the plot, what's established or laid in or changed by each one. Pretty much I get to put these on index cards (real or figurative) and play 52-pickup.
Because you see, my book is lumpy. The stuffing has all gone out to the edges, and I need to shake and prod it back into the middle where it will do some good. I need to speed up some parts and slow down others. I need to simplify the politics, and to do that I need to wipe out an entire kingdom (farewell, Valdosa!) as well as focus the guild disputes onto just the one guild.
On the other hand, I get to spend more time on searching for food, on Alard and Myl getting to know each other and on her decision to return to the city. I'm giving serious thought to at least one scene with Myl and Alard encountering each other in the forest unrecognised, before he 'finds' her properly.
The chronology is going to be difficult, because what happens in the forest needs to match up with events in the city, and if I split Rembert's enchantment, say, away from the Lusantian princess's visit, in order to have Tyl's enchantment happen right away, the timing of the triggering events has to fit, even though no one knows the connection at the time.
Index cards are my friends.

But, blessing of blessings, I can banish the Dread of Wordcount for this revision. Spend as much wordage as I need to spackle the gaps, and cut it out on the next go-through. I've been assured that it's okay to go up to 130k in the final draft, even, because I am 'so good at realistic detail and grittiness'.

I'm still reading books on writing, both Revision, by Kit Reed, and How Not to Write a Novel, by Newman and Mittelmark, which is utterly hilarious. I've only found one of my own mistakes in it so far, though.
Which reminds me, I need to order Evil Editor's new book!


Terri-Lynne said...

First--oh, the roses!!! I miss my rose gardens at the house on Country Farm Lane. I had two glorious rose gardens, AND the wild roses that bloomed at the beginning of June. Up here in the back of beyond, roses are deer and beatle food. Trying to cultivate such pretties in the 'wild' is a lesson in futility.

Second--woohoo on the revising! How cool it must be to have someone say, "Ok, this is great, this is good, this needs to go. Now go do it!" Your story is so fabulous. I cannot even imagine it more so--but I know that it will be. I absolutely can't WAIT to hold a published version in my hands! You will sign it for me, won't you? WON'T YOU!!????

Terri-Lynne said...

Does the Alba bloom all summer? Or just once?

batgirl said...

I will sign it in purple glitter gel! With a really effusive dedication, because it's just silly to be understated in purple glitter gel.

The alba blooms for a surprisingly long time, more if it's deadheaded. I'm not sure how long, but most of the summer.
You'll have to come and visit in the summer, and sit under the albas now that we have a bench there.