hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
1) Post up on visiting places you write about (the why and the maybe why not) at the author blog. With reference to Venice, because.

(Incidentally, I am gathering that as with Twitter, so with Wordpress there is a method whereby bloggers like, follow, and/or post empty comments with the intent of getting you to follow them back; see comment about my interesting post on travel writing which is not what I wrote about but is what the commenter does. Sorry, I have you all sussed out now and I'm not going there. So to speak.)

2) Things I need to do in the next few days: upload teaser chapters for Time Goes By; decide on a not-stupid About the Author blurb for that book, and also whether I should have a dedication; start formatting the print version; do a temporary price cut for TFT and TAF ebooks (month of November, buy 'em now); send out email announcements as well as posting on the blog; get ready to agonize over cover design. Plus other things in other spheres of my life.

ETA: Also have to come up with a blurb for TGB a little more extensive than the placeholder ("Adventures extending over five centuries, three separate continents, and one world-convulsing war"). OMG how.

3) Am attempting to catch up on TV missed while away. Caught up on Person of Interest, which continues to be fantastic this season (all of you who gave up last season, you should come back!); on Castle, which is still entertaining if stretching it a bit with the amnesia plot oh please; on Sleepy Hollow, which is just absurd but completely lovable and doing interesting things with interpersonal relationships; on Doctor Who, which… I just don't know, really. Others to follow.

4) I read, over the course of the trip, several books but two in particular that I'd really like to review together if that were possible anywhere, just because they resonated as if unrelated objects struck and vibrating in close harmony. One is Jo Walton's My Real Children, which I loved as a transformation of the mundane extraordinariness of life into the fantastical (old woman with dementia in nursing home reflects on two entirely separate lives she remembers having lived in two versions of the 20th and early 21st centuries (neither of them ours)), and the other is a memoir by my second cousin Ann Hedreen about her life and that of her mother who died in her 70s of early-onset Alzheimer's, called Her Beautiful Brain. The resonance is close in the description of confusion and forgetting and disintegration, the life choices faced by women, the poignancy of loss and ordinary living, the portrait of a period of time; the format is different, of course, but I think Walton's book has a lot of elements of memoir (there's a lot more of "and then this thing happened, and then the other thing" than I thought I could put up with in what has to be categorized as speculative fiction) and it certainly reads as a real person's story, or stories. (But it's a different sort of person who chooses to write about their own life rather than those of invented characters. I didn't know Ann very well before reading her book; now I almost feel I know her too well. Memoir is not a choice I'd make for myself, even if my life was interesting enough to merit one.) Also, I had no idea before I started Walton's book that it had so much to do with Italy, so that was fun.

Date: 2014-10-30 06:12 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] kivrin
kivrin: Giles with a book (bookish giles (glim))
I semi-recently read Jo Walton's Longbourn. It's Pride and Prejudice from the point of view of the servants, and quite excellent though the narrative takes an unexpected swing, in the third quarter of the book, into a graphic account of how much, precisely, it sucked to be a footsoldier in the Napoleonic wars. So be braced for that if you read it.

My Real Children sounds very interesting and I'm adding it to the to-be-read pile.

Date: 2014-10-30 06:26 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] kivrin
kivrin: Peter Wimsey in academic dress (academic lord peter)
Shoot, I mixed up my Jos - Longbourn is by Jo BAKER. Still recommended, however!

Date: 2014-10-30 10:32 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] philomytha
philomytha: girl in woods with a shaft of sunlight falling on her (Default)
Hah, that commenter did miss the point by about a thousand miles, didn't they?

There's so much research you can do now on the internet, especially if you're writing a present-day setting. Google Earth has saved me from some howlers, and you can get a lot of local colour from local newspapers, I find, especially if you read the comments, including the horrific ones. One of my fics is set in the town I grew up in, actually behind my old school (I was thrilled when someone identified it in the comments even though I don't ever name names) and I had to go back and check that the stuff that was there fifteen years ago is still there now, and edit some bits. I've also just been writing a story set where I live, and there the problem I had was remembering to put the description in, because it was all so obvious to me. Doesn't everyone know what I mean when I mention going up a tor? So there are pitfalls of familiarity too.

But yeah, the tourist experience and the degree of knowledge you need about a place to write it convincingly are very different things. So much of writing a place convincingly is knowing its grammar, how the people there talk and how they refer to things and what they talk about and what they take for granted. If you speak the language, you can eavesdrop shamelessly on the bus - but eavesdropping around tourists isn't going to help you, and if you don't speak the language you're stuck. Writing an incomer/visitor (or time traveller!) can help with that problem, but presumably there are going to be some locals and they need to be convincing.

Tangentially, Mr P is now reading Time for Tea and is absolutely enthralled and says it's one of the best things he's read lately, and I think he's a bit in love with Olivia right now. Also he says you've got the right amount of sciency jargon about the time machine to not be annoying to a physicist :-).

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