Wednesday, August 31, 2011

writing? oh yeah, writing.

No pics yet, because they're on a camera card and I'll have to do it through my EEE which has a card slot. Instead, a return to the ostensible topic of this blog:  my fabulous writing career.

Okay, my writing. There.

You'll recall that before leaving for Pennsic I was in a mad rush to cut free and mail off the first 'half' of The Cost of Silver for my agent's opinion on how I should proceed. In that narrow window between my return from Pennsylvania and my departure for Fort Rodd Hill,  she emailed her assessment (yes, she is speedy like a speeding thing), having read the mss while on holiday with her family.
While containing phrases like 'spooky and compelling', 'carries absolute historical authenticity', 'raced through it', the gist was that the narrative was headed in the wrong direction and that my research was showing. (what a surprise, right?)
I imagine her reading and reading, with a sinking feeling getting stronger and stronger, and her wondering how to break it to me gently.

Well, I emailed back, and we had a bit of discussion, and I'll be working up a revised--severely revised--synopsis for her after Labour Day. I think I can keep the storyline I care about, of the commoners and fenfolk and their fight for their land and livelihood, by tying it more securely into the revenant story. Which means building up characters and plot for the courtiers, royalty, and fen-drainers, so that they appear on-stage, not just referred to by the commoners. With the revenants being in various ways supporters of the enclosures, because enclosing land for the gentry means driving commoners off, creating a dispossessed, powerless population that's easy prey, in place of tight little villages where everyone knows everyone else.
Maybe the revenants have fond memories of the abolition of the monasteries, too? Some number of them must have been around at the time.
This also means more scenes with revenants, because there's bound to be conflict among them, with some liking the idea of influencing the powerful mortals, and others thinking it dangerously rash and risking discovery.

She's suggested working in a modern-day plotline, with perhaps a Cambridge researcher discovering papers that lead back to the 1600s story. I talked this over with the others at Fort Rodd Hill, and what sparked from it I quite like, involving Wicken Fen (the last untouched fenland in East Anglia) and the discovery of a 'bog body' which perhaps ain't as dead as all that.

So, I am quite excited, not least by her suggestion that 'you have it in you to write a big commercial historical fantasy novel' that could be sold to a mainstream editor. After I had curled up in a corner and twitched for a while, then wandered around the house muttering 'but, but,' that is!
I'd pretty much pinned my future as 'quirky midlist author with small cult following', but the point of having an agent is for advice and guidance, right? So I shall work on reassessing. Then on massive revising.

But first! The 3-Day Novel Contest this weekend. I even have an idea for it, at last. An artists' colony on Saltspring Island, populated by retired gods and heroes, stirred up by the arrival of a young girl who was recently the incarnation of a goddess and has issues therefrom.


Terri-Lynne said...

Look at this...I miss a few days and you turn into the blogging FIEND!

Don't you love how someone will make an astute suggestion about something you already love, and all of a sudden you see it in a whole new way, an ever BETTER way?? The brain just runs amuck. Go you!

batgirl said...

Making up for those months when I only post once or twice - yes, pacing is not my strong point ;p

Take a look on the VP forum editing thread for Caitlin's whole letter, if you'd like, by the way.