Friday, 3 February 2012

Charles Dickens, and Getting To Know You Blogfest

Two hundred years ago on 7 February, Charles Dickens was born. If I was in London, I might try to get tickets for the bicentenary dinner at the Dickens Museum.


"In celebration of the birth of Charles Dickens 200 years ago, a dinner will be held at Mansion House.

The evening will commence with a sherry reception at 6.45pm, followed by a three-course dinner at 7.30pm with wines and coffee. Carriages at 10.30pm.

Featuring Dickensian entertainment led by Sir Patrick Stewart." (emphasis mine)

Wonder what carriages means? Do you get driven home in style? How come you don't get picked up, too?

Sometime back, during NaNo, J. L. Campbell hosted a getting to know you blogfest for the romantic suspense group of Rach Harrie's Writers Platform-building Campaign. I came across this the other day on Tara's blog, and thought I'd answer the questions.

Only, of course, I'm going to do them from a historical romance point of view...

1. Name two historical romance authors who inspire you.

That's easy - Joanna Bourne and Diana Gabaldon. Diana's not a romance author, of course, but that's precisely why she's so inspiring - she's an everything author.

2. How did you start writing in your genre?

Short answer - I don't know. Long answer - One day in high school I stopped writing middle grade stories and started writing a romance between two real life musicians. I knew they were meant to be together, even if they couldn't see it.

Some years later, after two finished novels and a few aborted story ideas, I went back to MG. But everything moved slowly. Ideas were halting, editing was plodding along at a snail's pace. And then... well, I've told this story before:

I sent my characters off to another houseparty.

"One or the other of them had previously participated in the writers' houseparties that take place on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community; there have been eight such parties to date and I – and my characters – were present at the very first one in June 2007. Each party after that grew in size and complexity, as more writers joined in the fun, bringing their characters to interact with the characters of other members, who all come from varying places and time periods. Houseparties are a great way to thrust your characters out of their familiar worlds and learn things about them that you may not have known before. Writing for a houseparty is just like writing your first draft – fast paced and fluid, with no second guessing; anything goes at a houseparty, from magic to skipping between time periods, to anachronistic events and language, to romantic interludes..."

I rediscovered my love of romance, the ideas began to flow - unstoppable - and I haven't looked back.

3. You've landed a meeting with your dream agent. Write a one-paragraph pitch to sell your novel to him/her.

Let's go with the one I'm pitching to agents right now:

Out of the Water is a 15th Century historical romance, complete at 115,000 words.
Rosa becomes separated from her family as they flee their Spanish homeland – and the Inquisition. Now her one hope of reaching Constantinople, and reuniting with her family, lies with a stranger, Baha, an artist from the Ottoman Empire. As they travel together, Rosa's drive to find her loved ones is matched by a deepening desire for the man at her side.

Her family refuses to accept this man of a different faith, but when janissaries arrest her father and brother, Rosa and Baha risk everything to rescue them. Together they will prove that their love can withstand their differences... if the Grand Vizier doesn't throw them both into the dungeons first.
4. Sabotage or accident - which would you put your female lead through, and why?

I have to say, I don't plan many of the incidents. Some appear out of nowhere and some are the characters telling me "I know you thought this would happen, but I'm going to do that."

Sometimes they grow out of exercises on the Compuserve forum; that's how I met Baha.

And I always, always, worry that I'm not raising the stakes enough.

5. Plotter or panster - who are you?

Oh, definite pantster. Especially for the first draft. Then I do a read through, with editing, and make a list of all the scenes and links I need. And pants my way through them.

If anyone else wants to turn this into an ongoing blogfest, feel free!

Mr. Dickens:

9 comments:

Jess said...

"Short answer: I don't know. Long answer: One day in high school..."

Lol love it :)
Thanks for sharing!

Joshua said...

Sci-Fi Fantasy:

1. Joel Rosenberg and Orson Scott Card

2. I've been writing sci-fi/fantasy since...as long as I can remember. I posted about my first "book" in 7th grade, and it was fantasy. So...who the hell knows now.

3. ...

4. Accident.

5. Pantser, and everything you said.

The Golden Eagle said...

1. Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke.
2. I read a book by Glen Cook, liked some elements of the story and hated others, and decided to write a story building on the elements I liked.
3. I've never written a pitch.
4. Sabotage. Someone must have sabotaged it, which means more plot opportunities.
5. Plotter.

Theresa Milstein said...

Nice interview with yourself!

LR said...

Good luck pitching! And happy birthday to Charles (in 3 days). :)

Nas Dean said...

All the best with your pitching Deniz. Nice interview!

Old Kitty said...

Oh I love how you re-discovered your love for romance writing! What a journey!! The romance genre is all the richer for your Out of Water!

Yay and GOOD LUCK!! Take care
x

Romance Book Haven said...

Good luck, Deniz. And happy birthday to Charles Dickens!

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks, Jess!

My sister's got lots of Orson Scott Card, Joshua. Time to borrow a few!

I like that sabotage idea, Eagle!

Thanks Theresa, LR, Nas, Kitty and Romance! :-)

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • La Verite sur l'affair Harry Quebert by Joel Dicker (loving this!)
  • How To Be A Man (and other illusions) by Duff McKagan
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • Journal of Inklings Studies
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Pop-up Peekaboo: Farm (DK publishing) (board book) (duh)
  • Paddington Bear Goes to Market by Michael Bond (board book)
  • Emily's Balloon by Komako Sakai
  • Bible stories and puzzles (in French) (board book)
  • The Last Chance Ball (a Word Wenches christmas anthology featuring Jo Bourne, Jo Beverley, etc.)
  • Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
  • CassaFire by Alex Cavanaugh
  • First and Second Things by C. S. Lewis
  • Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
  • So Anyway... by John Cleese
  • The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
  • Slowly, silently now the moon by Walter de la Mare (poem)
  • I can't work like this by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • CassaStar by Alex Cavanaugh
  • Death of A Century: A Novel of the Lost Generation by Daniel Robinson
  • The Fly by William Blake (poem, reread)
  • Tyger, Tyger by William Blake (poem, reread)
  • The Christie Notebooks by John Curran
  • The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • secret beta 2!
  • The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak
  • Chu's Day at the Beach by Neil Gaiman (reread, many times)
  • Sacred Inwardness by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
  • New Statesman issue guest edited by Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman (I don't usually include magazines in this list but I read this one cover to cover)
  • The North Star is Nearer by Evelyn Eaton
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King (loved My Pretty Pony)
  • Every Month Was May by Evelyn Eaton
  • Occasional Soulmates by Kevin Brennan
  • secret beta!
  • Smoke by Catherine McKenzie
  • In Two Aeroplanes Over the Sea by Amanda Palmer (poem)
  • Jim at the Corner by Eleanor Farjeon
  • Finding Fraser by kc dyer
  • Mother Tongue -- The Story of the English Language by Bill Bryson
  • The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie
  • The Lord Fish by Walter de la Mare
  • The Going To Bed Book by S Boynton
  • The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang
  • In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
  • Subterranean Scalzi Super featuring To Sue the World (an original, very short Redshirts story available nowhere else) Muse of Fire Mallet of Loving Correction Lock In, Lost Chapters (available nowhere else) How I Proposed To My Wife: An Alien Sex Story An Election Judge Sn Goes Golfing Questions for a Soldier The Sagan Diary The Tale of the Wicked The God Engines You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop by John Scalzi
  • Emily Goes to Market by William Mayne
  • Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (reread)
  • Colours Are Nice (Little Golden Book)
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume
  • The Wars by Timothy Findley (reread)
  • The Captive Diary of Catherine Logan by Mary Pope Osborne (Dear America)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (reread)
  • The Poky Puppy (Little Golden Book) (abridged)
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (reread)
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • secret beta read 2
  • Pre-Fix: A Ciel Halligan Short Story by Linda Grimes
  • Hidden by Catherine Mackenzie
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
  • But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
  • Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James (short story) (1904)
  • Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman (reread)
  • My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
  • Usborne board books
  • Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson (so lovely)
  • Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico
  • secret beta read!
  • The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
  • HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner by Kait Nolan
  • This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
  • The Owl Service by Alan Garner
  • Two Caravans by Monica Lewycka
  • Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers
  • An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten (actually a few pages of the story, written by John Green for the film of his novel The Fault In Our Stars)
  • January Brings the Snow by Sara Coleridge (poem)
  • Kissing song by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • The Mother by Nettie Palmer (poem)
  • William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Her Ladyship's Companion by Joanna Bourne
  • The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
  • How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
  • Mes P'tits Contes, legends of Swiss cantons
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ch/2014/12/books-read-in-2014-review.html
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2014/01/toast-to-professor-books-read-in-2013.html
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-year-end-books.html
  • see the 2011 statistics on http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011-statistics-fourth.html
  • see the 2011 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.ca/2012/01/books-read-in-2011.html
  • see the 2010 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2010/12/books-read-in-2010-listed-here.html
  • see the 2009 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-ii.html
  • also in 2009 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2009/12/books-read-in-2009-part-iv.html
  • see the 2008 list at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-ii.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-vi.html
  • also in 2008 at http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2008/12/books-read-in-2008-part-iv.html