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Monday, December 2, 2013

The Golden Phoenix

Well, the manuscript of "The Golden Phoenix" has been submitted at last. The final revisions took a lot of time because I found quite a number of places where I wanted to make significant changes. I replaced some narration with dialogue to help wirh character development, and also fitted in more historical detail and description. I'm not expecting to hear anything back until after Christmas, but in the meantime I've started another short story with the working title of "Magistrate Lin And The Dishonest Scholar." Magistrate Lin Jiang is one of my protagonists who lives and solves crimes in late sixteenth century Ming Dynasty China. In this story he's appointed as a supervisor for the writing of the imperial civil service examinations in Beijing, and, predictably, someone gets themselves murdered! Here's the opening paragraph, just for fun: Magistrate Lin Jiang, sixty-two years old, was never to forget the twenty-fifth year of the reign of the Wanli Emperor, twelfth ruler in the dynasty called the Great Ming. Appointed in that year one of the presiding officials for the imperial examinations, Lin had anticipated nothing more than a few rather tedious days of walking incessantly up and down rows of cubicles supervising the candidates; physically demanding, perhaps, but nothing which could be called challenging to the mind. However, in stark contrast to his confident expectations, he had found himself lost in a maze of cunning ambition, deceit, and murder. Only about 3,000 words down so far. I think it will work out to be about 15,000 in total. Stay tuned. Charles

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Joys of Revision

I reckon I must be the world’s worst blogger; it’s been an age since I last posted anything, but I have been absolutely buried in the revisions to my new novel The Golden Phoenix. It’s amazing to me that here I am on the fifth end-to-end revision, and things I’ve seen many times before are still leaping out at me, crying out for change. It’s not just the writing itself, although that’s the main thing: it’s also the historical detail. I must say most of it is sorted out now, but just yesterday I found a real howler of an anachronism I had literally never thought to check on before. One of my characters makes reference to Little Lord Fauntleroy, and it seemed fine every time I read it. However, yesterday it occurred to me to check the chronology and there it was! My character is speaking in 1793, but Fauntleroy was unknown until he appeared in a children’s book by Frances Burnett first serialized in the St. Nicholas Magazine in 1885! It just shows you, you can never be too careful. In this revision I also noticed one character making reference to a piece of information she had no way of knowing. It seemed reasonable, but when I checked it, it had to be changed even though it was integral to the plot at that particular juncture. Such is life. I am hoping to be able to submit this manuscript before Christmas. I will try to be more productive in the blogging department from now on and keep you up to date. My short story An Act of Treason is currently in the hands of the line editors and is still on track for release early in the new year. The new year! Where does the time go? Cheers all, Charles