Friday, August 22, 2014

End of Part Five (and Draft 4)

Y'all--the writing/revising of draft 4 is finished.

To keep it uniform with the other posts related to this draft, here are the numbers:

Words: 100, 173
Pages: 358
Chapters: 55

First line of Part 5:
Once at home, Miles called the girls to him.
Last line (of the entire novel):
For this moment, Miles took a lungful of clean country air, nary a flame in sight, feeling peaceful.
If you're curious ('cause I was), the draft previous, number three, was 116,653 words. So I managed to lose 16,000 words from one draft to the next, which, for me, never happens. If I can trim this down to about 98K, I'll be happy. 

So, my list of post-draft Things To Do:
1. Sleep. It's legit 3:30 am here.
2. Commence editing: run Spellcheck, check grammar, cut extraneous lines, that sort of thing. 
3. Debate on whether to cut out this one character, which could shorten the word count, which is good. Possibly try to tighten up a few things that are bothering me.
4. Polish up that query! 
5. Get my lit agent list together. I have a few I need to investigate further. Now, to explain: I'm not entirely confident that this book is necessarily all ready-as-get-out to be published. But it's certainly close and I'm actually kind of eager to receive my first form rejection. 
6. Dive into reading for and plotting my next story. :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cool Things About the Victorian Era, Part 3

I was re-watching some episodes of this British TV series, Cranford, based on the novels of Elizabeth Gaskell the other day--as a break from the WIP, which is slowly circling the drain toward the end.

And by "the end," I mean, like, another a couple of scenes. This one may actually come in shorter than the last draft.

But anyway, Cranford takes place in the 1840s, in a small village in the north of England. The 1840s are very early Victorian times and the show really does have a superb cast; I feel like every British actor ever was in this show.

On my last Cool Things About the Victorian Era post, writing buddy Karla wondered how the Victorians would have felt about all their new technology.

There was a scene in Cranford that definitely expressed the feelings towards new modes of transportation.

Some background: a local landowner has decided not to sell his land to the railway company, thus ending the railroad five miles away from Cranford. The older people, including the ladies of the town, are glad of it. They see the railway as an intrusion, dangerous, bringing in all kinds of undesirables into their town. But, of course, many of the younger generation want the railroad to come to Cranford, to bring progress. So Miss Matty decides to organize and experiment of the train with her close friends.

This is about 15 minutes total so skip to about 5:50 if you want to see the ladies and others of Cranford riding a steam-powered train for the first time.

Yes, that's Loki. And Mr. Carson and Lady Mary.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Downton Abbey Season 5 photo

Every year, there's a Downton Abbey cast photo and every year, I have combed said cast photo for any clues as to what's going to happen this season.

Here's season 5. Click to make it bigger.

So Molesley's in the picture this year, as is the dog. The kids have certainly grown!

I wonder what's in store for this year?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cool Things About the Victorian Era, Part Two

Here are some more, super basic Internet researched Cool Things from the Victorian Era:

Benz had the first patent for an automobile design by 1879. Horseless carriage, much?
In 1896, Benz patented the first internal-combustion engine. The diesel engine was invented in 1897. Still, cars were rare in the early twentieth century. Only the very rich could afford them until Ford started mass-producing the Model T.

Motion Pictures
In 1888, Louis Le Prince was granted a patent on a motion film camera/projector.  He also tried to patent a single-lens camera, but was denied, although Edison later patented such a camera. (Patent wars, y'all). The Lumiere brothers patented a cinematograph, also a camera/projector device, in 1895. Unlike Edison's kinetoscope, which only allowed one viewer, the cinematograph allowed many viewers.

The Cinematograph Lumiere by Lionel Allorge
Anesthesia: ether and chloroform

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) was a hip thing to do for young rich men even as far back as 1799, but in 1846, an American dentist began using ether as an anesthetic on his patients. The picture down below is of the Ether Monument in a corner of the Boston Public Garden. The monument was right near my first two college dorms.

Chloroform was introduced as an anesthetic in 1847 and considered safer than ether because it was less flammable. Queen Victoria used chloroform during the birth of her eighth child in 1853, thus making the use of drugs during labor an okay thing to do. 

Hot air balloons had been traveling the skies of England since the early 19th century. Hot air balloons were used as observation points and places to take aerial pictures during the American Civil War. Then monoplanes, gliders, and dirigibles came into being. 

Then came the Wright brothers, who, of course, first flew awesome gliders and then finally flew an airplane off the ground in 1903. At around this time, the Zeppelin was being tested in flight. 

Radium was discovered by Marie Curie and her husband Pierre on December 21, 1898. They had discovered polonium not long before. Marie Curie died in 1934 after decades of exposure to radioactivity. Apparently, her papers from the 1890s are so radioactive that they are kept in lead-lined boxes and anyone who wants to read them must wear protective clothing. 

X-Rays were accidentally discovered by Wilhelm Rontgen on November 8, 1895. One assumes that X-Ray glasses followed not long after. 

There will be more Cool Things About the Victorian Era to follow. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

End of Part Four...Almost Done!

Two seconds ago, I finished the end of Part Four, which means I have one part (the denouement) left on this here revision. I have five outline pages to get through, which is, like, another twenty or thirty pages, manuscript wise, maybe? I've been cutting scenes in outline in order to streamline as I go, so it might be even shorter.

In addition, I wrote a draft query letter for The Keegans of Banner's Edge today. This was mostly spurred by (a) needing to have a query done before I finish editing the WIP, so that I have time to get that query right before I want to send it out and (b) because a few of my writing friends and I are exchanging queries and first chapters---some in preparation for the query trenches, others in preparation for #PitchWars and #PitMad.

Oddly enough, as I wrote the pitch portion of my query, which is a torture device designed for overly verbose writers, I realized that my next, as-yet-to-be-written story, the one I'm referring to as The Buccaneers-meets-Downton Abbey-meets-The Heiress, has a much better hook and clearer conflict--and I haven't even figured it out all the way yet! See, the more you write, the more you grow.

As usual, full doc stats for The Keegans first:

Words: 88, 087 (this might actually come out shorter than the last draft, which would be awesome)
Pages: 314
Chapters: 50

Part Four stats:

Words: 14, 373
Pages: 51
Chapters: 41 to 50, so 9 chapters

First line:
In November, the Banstons held another dinner party.

Last line: 
Why gloss it over in a fairy story way? This was the ugliness of reality.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

IWSG: Literary Snobs

This is my post for the August Insecure Writer's Support Group, posting every first Wednesday of the month and organized by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Every so often, writers encounter those who are, simply put, snobs. You know the type. Writers who claim to not need outlines or notes. Writers who say they only write one draft. Writers who often reiterate how long they've been writing (I started writing as a hobby when I was 9 and decided I wanted to be a writer at 12, which is 16 years ago). Writers who don't ever (ever) need betas. Writers who say that if you catch the affliction known as writer's block, can't concentrate on your work for whatever reason, procrastinate, or don't write every day...

You're Not a Real Writer.

Luckily, I went to a college rife with various arts majors, all of whom spent a lot of time sneering at one another, proclaiming that so-and-so is a "poser" and that dude isn't "a real actor." This kind of attitude isn't new to me.

And even I'll (happily) admit to a bit of writerly snobbery here and there and yes, I do (very) occasionally think, 'Oh, dear God--he/she isn't a Real Writer."

And then I scratch my head and wonder, exactly, what a Real Writer is. Someone who sits and writes every single day? Someone who hits the Best Seller charts? Someone who never wrote a word in their lives and then decides to write a book? Someone who thinks up story idea after story idea? Someone who carefully edits and revises their work?

I don't know if it's as simple as "Writers write." I think there are gradations on writing, like any art, and the arts are subjective. People write for different purposes and for different ends.

But don't be a douche. Don't dismiss a genre as trash because you've never tried reading it. Don't dismiss a writer's process because it doesn't make sense to you. And don't scare off the newbies; they might be our next literary giant.

Be careful, or you'll end up in their novels.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Cool Things About the Victorian Era

So, I did sort of promise a post on the cool things of the Victorian era, right? The Victorian Era is not completely frightening

I've done some preliminary, Wikipedia-level research for my next story idea and thought I'd share some of the cool gadgets that may make an appearance in my story. The Victorian Era--which officially started in 1837, when Queen Victoria ascended the throne, and ended in 1901, when she died--is a large span of time. So, as one can imagine, a lot happened! That's why this is going to be multiple posts.

The railroad grew across Britain. The first steam railway, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, was built in 1830. By the 1850s, Britain had 7,000 miles of railways. By 1900, there were 18,860 rail miles.

The London Underground
The Tube was built from 1854 and opened in January 1863, with gas-lit wooden carriages led by a steam locomotive.

SS Great Western on its maiden voyage

Steamships actually pre-date Victoria's reign; the first sea-going steamboat traveled from Leeds to Yarmouth in 1813. But with Brunel's SS Great Western making regularly scheduled trans-Atlantic journeys from 1838, an era of steam ocean liners began. Eventually, this would lead to the Titanic.

First, a little note about Daguerre, the French inventor of an early form of photography called the Daguerrotype, introduced in 1839. Problem was, early photography took a really long exposure time to capture the image. William Fox Talbot later read about the daguerrotype, then created the calotype process, which created a negative, which could then be used to make multiple prints.

Lattice window, Lacock Abbey. August 1835.  Positive from
what may be the oldest camera negative in the world. From Wikipedia.
In 1884, George Eastman invented a type of film, to replace glass plates. And now we take pictures on our cell phones.

Electricity & Various Inventions
The light bulb was invented in the 1870s. The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. The gramophone was introduced in 1877 (the Victorian era's version of an iPod). The telegraph (Victorian email?) was introduced commercially in 1838, being strung alongside the many railroads of the time. In the United States, Samuel Morse--yes, he of Morse Code--independently developed the telegraph.

Soon, telegraphs were installed in post offices so one could send a telegram. Wireless telegraphy (email over wifi?) was developed in the 1880s and 1890s, most famously by Marconi.

There are plenty more cool things about the Victorian era. There will be more posts.