Saturday, April 03, 2010

Bits o' News

Good news of various types.


First off:
My Lord and Spymaster will be coming out in French.  That's a little surprise for me.  My understanding is that Romances set in England are not so often translated into French.  I am very pleased.

Other good news is
Spymaster's Lady --  you will doubtless remember that the French rights for that were sold some time back --  will be available in May, as Le Maître du Jeu.  (Master of the Game)

This is a popular title. There are half a dozen books with this name, including, interestingly enough, one of John Grisham's books.  I don't live all that far away from Grisham.  And no, I've never run into him that I know of.

Maître is here,   And it's at Amazon.ca here.  It's not at Amazon.fr, so it may not be on sale in France itself.   This is a pity.  I was looking forward to knowledgeable, snarky comments on the historical inaccuracies.

I do not have a cover picture, but doubtless one will appear sometime, somewhere.


Moving along in the good news parade . . . I've finished
the First VERY Rough Draft of JUSTINE. 
It weighs in at 90K words. 

I'm not sure why this particular rough draft is so slight.  The Second Rough Draft should be 100K to 110K which is more typical of my first drafts.

First Rough Draft
90000 / 90000 words. 100% done!



Second Rough Draft
3000 / 110000 words. 3% done!




The Second Rough Draft has got itself shortened a bit because the very first thing I did was throw out one of the first four chapters.  Always a rousing start to a redraft.

And final good news is, I have a copy of the reprint for Spymaster's Lady in my hands.

In person, it is a just lovely.  Beautiful.  The cover is graceful and dignified and impressive.  Just a little sensual.  The print is easy to read.

I got all sniffly, holding it.

15 comments:

  1. Hi there. How do you attack a second draft? I find it really interesting that your second draft will be so much weightier than the first. How do you go about figuring out what to cut and what needs to be added? I tend to edit as I write, so my first draft is never really a first draft - parts of it are a first draft, and parts are a fifth draft - so I always like to hear how others approach the process.

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  2. Congratulations on all the good news, Jo! I can't wait to get my hands on the new edition of TSL.

    At first I wondered if the first draft of Justine is short because you know Adrian so well. My experience of nonfiction writers is they have a horror of stating the obvious. And because they're immersed in the subject, nearly everything begins to strike them as obvious.

    On second thought, I concluded this can't be the reason since you certainly know Doyle equally well, and Maggie's first draft was not short.

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  3. Honestly, 99% of the romances published in French are translated from English. In fact, I can't think of a single French romance writer.

    And J'ai Lu is a French publisher, so it'll definitively be available in French at some point, but Amazon is dreadful with having information out in advance of the publication date.

    Congratulations!

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  4. Joanna,
    Congratulations on all your bits of good news,
    And I admire your bravery on being able to cut a whole chapter from your draft- such courage!
    Suzi

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  5. Congratulations on all of your news Jo! Um, could you maybe post a wee snip from the second rough draft? Just as a teaser? :-)

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  7. Hi Katrina --

    Katrina says: "How do you attack a second draft? I find it really interesting that your second draft will be so much weightier than the first."

    I'm surprised myself.

    Generally my Second Draft is where I throw a lot of writing out. My First Draft is usually bloated up with discursion and repetition and general dull and awkward splugg.

    Now, I'm not sure why THIS First Draft is so slight.

    It might be because I have a tight and concise outline this time. Maybe -- knowing what's going to happen next -- I'm anxious to get on and lay down the shape of it.

    Or the ongoing prose might be feeble and scant because I'm working without a good sense of Justine's voice.
    Once I begin to 'hear' her better I'll lay down all kinds of internals.

    Justine is giving me fits, frankly.

    I see the Second Draft of JUSTINE as layering on specifics and visuals and adding internals of the POV characters . . . all of which I would generally be doing in the First Draft.

    So I'll be taking:

    *** first draft ***

    Ackroyd said, "She still lives."

    "That's something to be grateful for." That was Amy xxx, widow of the Earl of xxx. "She's probably innocent. She's the least likely."

    "Maybe." He shrugged.

    ****
    and turning it into:


    **** second draft ***

    Once, he had been Jean xxx, son of a village schoolteacher in Picardy. For twenty years he'd called himself Peter Wainsford. Baron Ackroyd. He wore the tabard and armour of a Medieval Templar. His mail was rings of clever silver gilt, light as cotton cloth, flexible as fish scales. A helmet of leather, painted to resemble steel, hid the upper half of his face. Most men at the masquerade wore a domino and simple silk mask, a disguise easily penetrated. Ackroyd was wholly anonymous.

    He leaned toward the woman at his side and spoke low. "The surgeon came again in the evening. She still lives."

    "That's something to be grateful for." The woman wore the extravagant dress and uncanny, blank machera di carnevale -- the carnival mask -- of Venice. Amy xxx, widow of an earl. Mother of the next earl. That was another face, wholly hidden. "She's probably innocent. She's the least likely."

    "Maybe." Ackroyd shrugged in his armor, making a light swish of moving metal.

    ****

    This second attempt is still rough draft, as you can see, but it's a heftier and more complete rough draft. I'll take that and slim it down and buff away at it in Draft Three.

    This is the start of Chapter Four, Draft Two. It's what I'm working on at just this exact minute. Omniscient Narrator. I don't do a lot of Omniscient Narrator. It always feels stiff to me.


    Katrina says: "How do you go about figuring out what to cut and what needs to be added? I tend to edit as I write, so my first draft is never really a first draft - parts of it are a first draft, and parts are a fifth draft - so I always like to hear how others approach the process."

    I think my process and yours would be just about the same, except that you say in a scene and work on it for a good while, and I wander off.

    I leave the scene with the vacuum cleaner plugged in and set back against the wall, and the TV only half dusted, and a broom leaned up next to the door, and the lamp shades still crooked
    and go scrub the kitchen for a bit
    before coming back to dust the other half of the TV.

    Same basic editing stuff going on, I think. I just do a punctuated, batch process with multiple scenes and you do a continuous one.

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  8. Hi Annie --

    Annie says: "At first I wondered if the first draft of Justine is short because you know Adrian so well. My experience of nonfiction writers is they have a horror of stating the obvious. And because they're immersed in the subject, nearly everything begins to strike them as obvious."

    Probably not so much Fear of Explaining. I think this is another of those ways exposition is different from fiction.

    We 'explain' the facts in exposition.
    We 'live the story' in fiction.

    My feeling is this scanty First Draft may have to do with the careful plotting of this manuscript. It's my fist strongly planned manuscript. The plot just pushes me along like a strong wind at my back as I'm writing.

    And I HAD to plot this one within an inch of its life because it is a very complicated structure.

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  9. @ snakeling

    snakeling says: "Honestly, 99% of the romances published in French are translated from English."

    I have heard this about Japan also -- that many, if not most, of their Romance genre books come in as translations. I can't help but think this may have to do with the size of the market. the larger English-language market just bullies its way in.

    For French Romance, I'll always think of Sergeanne Golon, (the writing team of Serge and Anne Golon,) who made just a splash in the States back in the 80s. And while Catherine Delors is NOT a Romance writer, she writes just beautiful love stories.

    I will cross my fingers that Spymaster's Lady and then someday My Lord and Spymaster show up in France. So cool.

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  10. Hi Suzi --

    Heck. A chapter's not so much to cut. Just a few thousand words.

    And I'll be writing almost the same conversation over again. I may even be able to use some of the same words.

    I'm just moving the story element that needs doing to another place and messing around with it some. No big.

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  11. Hi Deniz --

    I did put up a tiny excerpt in a comment above where I'm talking about the difference between this First Rough Draft and the Second Rough Draft.

    Unfortunately, the snippet I posted is about the ultimate in dullness.

    Leemee see .... hmmm ...
    here's the last 150 words of Chapter One.

    ********

    She seemed to be dying. *It is strange that it does not hurt. I have been in pain so many times and this final time it does not hurt at all.*

    Really, she was not ready to die. She had a long list of things to do

    The door opened. The ground crested upward to meet her. The rug was scratchy on her cheek. She felt herself rolled over. Then she was looking up at a young woman, not much more than a girl. But this one had hands that knew what to do. They came down strong, pressing on her chest.

    Someone was shouting. She could tell it was a shout from the urgency of the words. It didn't sound loud in her ear.

    When she opened her eyes again, he was there. Black hair. Thin face, dark as a Gypsy. Serious eyes. She said, "Hello, Hawker."

    "Hello Justine," Hawker said.

    *****

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  12. Thanks Jo! I love the sense of movement in the scene, especially "the ground crested upward to meet her".
    I've saved the links to your draft, paragraph, etc. notes for when I reach the editing stage on the new wip :-)
    (word verification: lumsmen
    what sort of profession is that, I wonder?)

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  13. Good point about Anne and Serge Golon (they were always published as two people in France; the first time I saw "Sergeanne", I thought it was a typo *g*). She's actually publishing the books again, slightly reworked, as she's finally won her ten-year dispute with her former publisher. There's also Agnès Abécassis, who writes Chick Lit.

    You're probably right that the English language market is so huge it tends to cannibalise the rest of the market. And there's the added bonus that even with contemporary romance, set it in the US or the UK, and voilà! Instant exotism :P

    I get the impression that unless the first book published is a complete disaster, J'ai Lu tends to publish everything by an author. I hope it's true for you! :)

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  14. Apologies if you already posted this and I missed it, but the publisher's short blurb for Forbidden Rose is now on Amazon, along with the cover and pre-ordering information. Yay!

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  15. @ snakeling --

    The Golons had a huge influence on Romance genre back in the 80s and 90s. The number of French Romance writers may not be great, but the impact was.

    I keep being amazed that more Historical Romance is not set in France. Beautiful clothes, decadent society, political fanatics . . . what more could a writer want?

    My guess is, the publishers chose that Sergeanne pseudonym for the American market, thinking Americans want their Romance writers to be female. Mebbe they're right. Of marketing, I know nothing.

    And it helped that the Golons' books were beautifully translated. I don't know who midwived those books into English, but it was admirably done.

    So much depends on the translator. One is quite helpless. I have been advised, 'just don't worry about it.'

    I'm crossing my fingers that J'ai Lu will find me profitable.


    @ Annie -- Yes! They have Forbidden Rose up at Amazon for pre-order.

    So strange that you can buy a book that hasn't even been printed yet. I am somehow disquieted by the very notion of e-books. When does my 'manuscript' suddenly become 'book'? I am not an 'abstract' sorta person. I want books that go riffle riffle riffle in my hand and weigh 7.8 oz.

    Speaking of which, I will eventually get my small box of Forbidden Rose books -- the freebies I get under my contract -- and see if the final changes to the galleys were actually made.

    These books mostly go to contests and to auctions for good causes. Walk For Life gets a couple. And I'll be giving some Forbidden Rose ARCs to the Brenda Novak auction in May.

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