Sunday, October 9, 2011


Flowers, just because they're there

Ooops. Time flies. I've been busy. (All good. Well, almost all good.) I just sort of forgot to post.

Yesterday was an absolute gift of a day: enamel-blue sky for two hours in the middle of the day. We got to eat lunch outside, the last time for 2011. Unless, y'know, we zoom off to foreign climes. Which isn't currently part of the plan.

I spent a happy morning footling with Photoshop to make my Hild map. I got progressively less happy, of course: I don't much care for Photoshop. I long for an iPad so I can just manipulate the thing with my fingers. Maybe Santa will bring me one. Hmmn, I wonder what of apps Kindle Fire will have.

The afternoon was spent putting together a glossary. Not much about this is pleasing. I find Excel tedious in the extreme. And after three years with Hild, it's difficult to remember what most readers might not know. Doesn't everyone know what I mean by sidsa or gesith or gemæcce? This reminds me of when I got an offer for my very first novel, and the editor said: "We'll have to change the title." I said, "Why?" And she said, "Because most people won't know what an ammonite is." And I said, "They can fucking look it up." And turned down the offer. But I know readers like glossaries to peruse for their chewy historical novels. I just don't like building them. But, hey, it's half done now.

The really tricky part is doing the humongous family tree. First of all, sources disagree about how, exactly, one or two key figures were related. I know, in my own mind, how they connect, but to show it all will reveal things I might not necessarily want revealed just yet. So it's tricky. And then there's figuring out ways to make clear which sibling was born first--while still making it all fit together prettily. Yeah, I think so too: I'm spending too much time on this stuff. But it's weirdly addictive. Besides, it lets me pretend I'm working, a great excuse to avoid the part that really is going to be difficult: rewriting an eighty-page chunk from the middle of the book. Besides, creating the supplemental material (or, as my folder is labelled, Fiddly Bits) makes the whole enterprise feel very, very real and therefore dreadfully exciting. I'm finally beginning to believe in this book.

I can't wait for you to see it!

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