Sunday, January 31, 2010

Some more questions

More questions --
And more, well, answers.

8)  How did she .  . . .  put such nuances into her dialogue?

For me, dialog is something I hear. 
A 'voice' comes from listening to people speak.  The written language is helpful, but the heart of it is the sound.

If it's French accents, I have to go sit and listen to French people talk.  I was lucky enough to live in France.  There are movies with authentic French accents I think . . . (she says vaguely.) 

East Enders is a good start for Cockney.  I watched a lot of BBC.

Yorkshire dialect was Herriot and the movie Babe and the bits and pieces they have recorded on dialect sites.

I'd say you build a voice by spending days and weeks listening to the accent you want to reproduce. You keep at it till you 'hear' the voices in your head.
Trying to hear voices is not universally excellent advice, but it's good advice for writers.

9) Does she place hooks purposefully every half chapter?

I do?

I mean . . . yeah.  Right.  I do.

Ok.  I don't know about planting hooks purposefully in any particular places, but I do want the reader to have questions about what's going to happen next.  This is the narrative drive thingum. 

10) Does she plan out her POV characters?

Oh dear. 

In Spymaster's Lady I didn't do this very well, as a matter of fact.

What it is . . .
In a Romance genre book. you have two POV characters, the hero and heroine.  This is right and traditional and works very well and it's what I fully intended to do.  The two POVs go switching back and forth at frequent intervals so you see motivation from both sides.
I knew I'd be using more heroine POV than hero, because this is really 'her' story.

I ended up with three other POVs.
Sorta by accident.

I did the in-cuts with the villain in Omniscient Narrator. They're not in any character's POV. An example is the scene where the villain goes to the little hut on the beach and questions the fisherman about Annique leaving the Normandy coast.  This is all written as if some undefined person was watching the scene.
Omniscient POV.

I had two other scenes that were supposed to be Omniscient Narrator. 
Adrian is wading out to the smuggler's boat.
Galba is playing chess.

The scenes ended up in Adrian POV and Galba POV.  I didn't plan this at the beginning, but when I came to writing the scenes, I just couldn't keep out of character POV.

It's bad technique to go wandering into random heads all the time, but then I went and did it because I thought it told the story better.  
I'm weak.

11) What's been the reception - from the pub world and readers to Spy series?

People have said such wonderful things about the book.
For instance, the ALA listed it as the 2008 Romance genre book to recommend to Library readers. I am so surprised and pleased.

The funny thing is, I seem to get folks who like the book and people who hate the book with a burning passion. 
Not so much in between.
Odd, that.


  1. I love your blog so much. ::sigh::

    If it helps, a strong writing voice, which I think you have, tends to engender those polar opinions. It's better then "meh."

    Put me on the LOVE side.

  2. Re: #8. This doesn't sound so different from Dickens listening and watching as he walked the streets of London at night. He'd have been watching (and probably writing for) East Enders were he around today.

  3. Hi Carolyn --

    Ah. The dreaded 'meh'. You're right, of course.

    I was reading Scalzi on the Amazon/McMillian kerfuffle.
    Ummm .... here:

    Anyhow .. Scalzi said --
    "Amazon apparently forgot that when it moved against Macmillan, it also moved against Macmillan’s authors. Macmillan may be a faceless, soulless baby-consuming corporate entity with no feelings or emotions, but authors have both of those, and are also twitchy neurotic messes who obsess about their sales, a fact which Amazon should be well aware of because we check our Amazon numbers four hundred times a day, and a one-star Amazon review causes us to crush up six Zoloft and snort them into our nasal cavities, because waiting for the pills to digest would just take too long."

    He's got my number. *g*

  4. @ Annie --

    I wish Dickens had written more actual Cockney. He would have been good at it and authentic (and it would have been close to my own time period so I could learn from it.)

    But Dickens doesn't try for authenticy of speech, so much, because it was consdered 'vulgar'. Not suitable for the delicate sensibility of ladies. Literature was supposed to rise above all that realism stuff.

    Pity. I'd have enjoyed reading Dickens' take on the speech of the London streets in 1830.