Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Out of Jail Card

The Angel Releasing St. Peter from Prison,
Washington Allston,
oil on canvas, 1813-15.

The similarities are entirely singular and superficial.

Leaving the obvious discrepancies like gender and sainthood aside, I never write bare-breasted.

I have just finished ( chortle! glee! claps hands!) a good draft of a promised short story for Weirdly II well before my deadline.

Which leaves time to let the story ferment (I revised last night in my dreams) and acquire a little beta feedback, before I send it off this weekend and imagine my poor editor muttering as she reads: Bloody hell! Why me, Lord?

Requests are not acceptances.

Corpse Candles is a sort-of-sequel to Stone Child, and begins: "They don't call asafoetida devil's drek for nothing..."

Smells are a key plot point. Asafoetida is a misdirection.

Now, I'm at the fuss-stage, where I worry if brief and casual backstory references (both to Stone Child and to Malignity) will irritate readers rather than excite their curiosity for more Lillie.

Clue: Always check your spam before deleting it.

Had I not done so I would have missed an e-mail (deposited in spam by google for some incomprehensible reason) from Angie telling me, like the angel she is (as pictured above) that she had read Stone Child and liked it.

I beamed all day.


December/Stacia said...

I have serious Spam issues, with things being misdirected.

Hee, love misdirection! Such fun. I love to be kept guessing, or to find clues in the tiniest utterances.

Bernita said...

I like misdirection too, December - as long as it's not aliens in chapter twelve.

James Goodman-Horror Writer said...

I'm sure the story will be accepted. You're a great writer, Bernita. I look forward to reading it. :D

BernardL said...

“Now, I'm at the fuss-stage, where I worry if brief and casual backstory references (both to Stone Child and to Malignity) will irritate readers rather than excite their curiosity for more Lillie.”

Don’t fuss. I believe you know the difference between irritating and informing readers. I am no longer convinced editors and agents do. I know… sacrilege! :)

Bernita said...

James, as always you're a Dear Guy.
Thank you. Wish I had your plotting skill.

Thank you, Bernard, but there's skill involved.
Probably a mathermatical scale about how many references one can make before one frustrates a reader.
I like it in other's stories - Mercedes Lackey did it so well in her Valdamar series that I hunted down other books of hers because of her hints.

Anonymous said...

Starting with a red herring can be such a great tool. Glad you are getting that particular chore accomplished; it must be a relief. And best wishes on getting it accepted. I am sure you'll do so.

I have all email go to spam unless the addy is in my address book. So I check it carefully. But a couple of times things that are in the address book have landed there. No idea why.


bookfraud said...

when you said "requests are not acceptances," it made me wanna cry. i've had people request fiction from me, only to turn it down in the end.

the worst part of it all is the helplessness. one is completely powerless once a story is submitted.

Josephine Damian said...

Bernita: Glad to hear you sleep on it before sending it out. Thanks for the reminder about checking the spam filter. My fear is that I'll delete an letter from an agent by mistake. You never know what gems might be buried along with all those penis extender ads. lol

Bernita said...

Red herring - that's the proper term!
Thank you, Written.
It is a relief. I respect deadlines.

A turn-down could well happen here, Book.I never count chickens. It's neither wise nor fair to do so.
The worst part is having this bright improvement occur to you twenty-four hours after the thing is sent!

Bernita said...

Tinker toy time, Josephine!

SzélsőFa said...

There must be a fine balance between luring and killing readers with references both back and forth (to further pieces). I think you can handle this easily, although it is not easy.
The writer just never knows whether the reader is first to the Lilly series (?!) or welcomes Lilly as a friend.
Anyway, a newcomer can always find the earlier pieces.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Szelsofa.
Fortunately the story is set later than the first story and the book, so the only references are to elliptical "back story."

Carla said...

Congratulations, and good luck!

Kipling referred to the Devil of Discontent, who lived in the inkwell and emerged the day after every story had gone to press with a dozen suggestions for its improvement. I suspect we all recognise him :-)

Bernita said...

Thank you, Carla.
Yes, that devilkin is familiar!

raine said...

I revised last night in my dreams

Laughing--I think I know that feeling...

I have no doubt that your backstory reference will intrigue, rather than irritate. You have a wonderfully talented touch.

Congratulations on finishing the draft! :)

spyscribbler said...

Nora/J.D. Robb does a brilliant job of balancing giving the reader tidbits, and withholding them to incite curiosity.

It's a balance. I think if you give backstory in a series, part of what you give should make you curious to know more.

Bernita said...

Sweet Raine...Thank you.
Can't make up my mind if it's an improvement over shovelling in my sleep all night or not.

Am not even sure these qualify as true backstory, Natasha - just the logical back thoughts/brief memory flashes Lillie might have.
But you're right - they should create curiosity/interest.

StarvingWriteNow said...

Hey, good for you on the draft! I hope, once I get moved and somewhat settled, to accomplish some actual writing and imagining again. Meantime, I primed Son's room for painting--a small accomplishment, but not bad for the morning! Happy day!

The Anti-Wife said...

Wow, a finished product ahead of time. You're my hero.

calderwoodbooks said...

I think I probably miss lots of mail as my spam filter is set on 'kill'.

Isn't it nice to finish a project ahead of time? I love doing that, which is why I never put off until tomorow etc, etc.

And misdirection is fine, red herrings are fun, and if the author can keep me on my toes, so much the better!

Bernita said...

A visible and satisfying accomplishment, Write Now.

My feet are clay, AW.

Very nice, Sam. I'd rather be early than late.

Ello said...

Ooooh, I can't wait to read the new story! I'll be first in line for Weirdly 2!

Gabriele C. said...

Good luck with the new story.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Ello and Gabriele!

ChristineEldin said...

It's not fussing--it's that extra snap and crackle! Congratulations for where you are. Can't wait to read the next edition!

Bernita said...

Nice crispies, Chris!
Thank you.

Demon Hunter said...

I've found several important e-mails in my spam filter. It's definitely something that requires checking.

Good luck with your story. I'm sure it will be wonderful! :*)

Bernita said...

Amazing what sometimes becomes mired with the spam.
Thank you, my Demon.
Naturally, I'm not the least bit sure.

Billy said...

I've never seen an ISP yet that didn't snag legit email and throw it into a spam folder, at least on occasion.

Bernita said...

Indeed, Billy.
All it may take is an unfortunate word in the header.

Suzanne Perazzini said...

Congratulations on getting the story finished and out to the editor. I've sent off my revisions to Wild Child and am awaiting judgement. Good luck.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Suzanne.
I need luck.

Charles Gramlich said...

Congrats on getting that story finished in time to let it sit a bit. I love when I can do that, and am doing it right now on a story of my own, waiting for the perfect end line.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Charles.
Time for retrospect and introspect always improves a piece.

Shauna Roberts said...

I always sit on a piece before turning it in (unless it's a news story that's due the same day as the event). Boo-boos and awkwardnesses jump out when the story isn't fresh in the mind. Also, I love taking a bad sentence and making it better, and one misses out on that pleasure if one turns in too soon.

Good luck getting your story accepted. They liked Lillie for the first anthology, so I'm sure they're predisposed to like her for the second.

Is Will Smith in this story? I liked him; he was an excellent second banana character.

Bernita said...

"one misses out on that pleasure if one turns in too soon" - that is so true, Shauna!
No, Will isn't in this one (just a bare mention), but he will reappear another time
because I liked him too. He just showed up as I was writing and I thought he was such a nice guy.