Monday, April 19, 2010

Hard, Easy, and Perfunctory

Chapter Four took a week to integrate. There were so many changes to make, so many gaps to fill in. So many parts where I had written [and then Keeler does something] that I had to write in. Also, there's a character who originally wasn't introduced until later who was moved forward and consolidated with another character, which I thought helped keep the cast compact and less confusing and also plants the seeds for a romance with Keeler up front.

Chapter Five just took a day because it was pretty self-contained to begin with. But I worry that both these chapters and the book as a whole are coming off as rushed and perfunctory... which is ironic because Book 10 has taken longer to write than any book in the series except book one.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Haunted by Red Letter Media

Red Letter Media --- the guy who does the insanely brutal but honest reviews of Star Wars and Star Trek --- haunts me. I've been wondering what he would say about Worlds Apart. And as a result, I have kind of ripped up the plot for Book 12 because I want it to be bulletproof. I want all the action and motivations to make sense.

And Why I Cut That Last Bit

I cut it because it was unnecessary. As Book 10 evolved, the Shakespearean action became more and more peripheral to the central story. And the piece I cut was one of the few remaining bits directly adapted from a Shakespearean play, but which had none of the main WA cast involved in the scene. It was an outlier. It contributed nothing to the plot and broke the rhythm of the story.

I debated cutting another long sequence today because it introduces a character who basically does nothing in Book 10 and is kind of peripheral to the plot. At present, I am leaning on leaving it on because the character in question is one of the Gethsemane refugees, and one of the subtexts of the books is how the Geths are integrating with the rest of the crew. At this moment, I am inclined to leave it in, but it may still fall to the knife in the final round of editing.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Cutting Room Floor

Working through the final assembly of Book 10. I am up to Chapter Four. And I am hating Word 2007.

This whole section is being cut. It won't be in the final book. I am putting the cuts on line for no raisins.

EVENTIDE – ILLYRIA – REGENT ORSINO’S PALACE: The Palace of Regent Orsino was a lovely structure of yellowed stones, built in the style of a Palazzo that encompassed a lush central garden and fountains. Its wide windows caught the temperate breezes of Illyria, and let in the light of the Eventide sun, such as it was.
Cesario walked the front steps and paused before the great white door. There was a knocker on the front, gold-plated, in the shape of a bull’s testicles. He rapped it hard against the door.
A tall thin man opened it. He had the facial expression of someone who’d been interrupted in the midst of rubbing citrus fruit on a cancre sour. Thin wisps of hair stretched across his bald pate. “What?” he asked, inelegantly.
Cesario bowed deeply. “Good sir, my master sends me to offer my services to the Good Regent Orsino. He asks nothing in compensation, but that the Good Regent would hear, upon satisfaction with my duties, his petition for trade and commerce.”
The tall manservant regarded him warily. “We have no need have additional servants. Off with you. Go!”
He tried to close the door, but Cesario blocked it with the lower part of his leg. “For a man of Regent Orsino’s stature, there is always room for one more man to tend his estate, one more maiden to clean his chambers, one more child to pull roots from his garden; where every man in Illyria his servant, ‘t’would fail his desserts by a league.”
The thin man began kicking him, though his blows had not much force behind them. “Go away, boy, the Regent has no need of you!”
Cesario was stronger than the manservant, and able to hold the door open. “Need? Who speaks of need? That received in need is charity, what I offer is luxury. Keep me but one day, and if I’ve not found the Regent’s favor, you’ll find my bed empty in the morn…”
“And the silver cabinet as well,” sneered the manservant. “Now, remove your boot from my door.”
“Valentine,” called a voice from behind, high-pitched and effete. “Dear Valentine, give the boy audience.”
Cesario pushed the door aside and ducked past Valentine so he could stand before Orsino. “On your attendance, my lord; here.” He bowed deeply.
Duke Orsino was well-favored in looks, a darkly handsome man, and he knew how to pick clothing that showed off his rugged features to their best effect. It was only when he spoke that the effect was ruined; his voice was as high and reedy as a mistuned clarinet.
“I give thee leave to enter our house,” Orsino said to me. “Pray, you may perform that task which all my man-servants and maidservants have failed.”
Cesario bowed again. “I am your Spaniel, good lord.”
“Stand thee, then,” Orsino ordered him.
Valentine objected. “Sir, he’s but a rough and common mariner.”
Orsino tittered at that. “Then, perhaps upon completion of his task, he might favor my ear with tales of rough seas and rougher men. Boy, do you know of the Lady Keats.”
“Aye, sir,” Cesario confirmed.
Orsino was pleased at this. “Then, good youth, address thy gait unto her; Be not denied access, stand at her doors, And tell them, there thy fixed foot shall grow till thou have audience.”
Even if he had not heard already of Lady Kate Keats’s refusal to receive me, Cesario could have intuited the difficult of this task Orsino was setting before him. “Sure, my noble lord, If she be so abandon'd to her sorrow. As it is spoke, she never will admit me.”
Orsino shook his head. “If you wish to please your lord and be honored in the presence of my audience, you shall be clamorous and leap all civil bounds rather than make unprofited return.” Orsino instructed him. “If thy master wish my audience, then this exchange shall profit us both.”
Cesario rose from his bow. “Say I do speak with her, my lord, what then?”
Orsino wrapped an arm around Cesario’s shoulder. “O, then unfold the passion of my love, surprise her with discourse of my dear faith.”
“I'll do my best to woo your lady,” Cesario replied, gently extracting himself from the Regent’s embrace.
“Not like that you won’t,” Orsino tittered, taking Cesario by the hand. “Come, let me dress you!”