Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Musings Of An Eccentric Rogue

A bit of business to see to today before I get started. I probably won't be blogging again until after the weekend, and on Monday I've got a post by Glynis Smy, who has her release date for her book that day. I've got company coming into town, so I'll likely be quiet for a couple of days. Hopefully I can catch up afterwards!

Oxfordshire, Great Britain

I thought I might go on a bit today about the writing process, and about the odd thing or two I've found while polishing up Heaven & Hell. I've been keeping my beta readers waiting while I've been doing a few things to the manuscript. After I was done, I think I set it aside a bit longer then I should have, and I realized that I've been going over it too much with a fine tooth comb rather then making the adjustments that have to be made now. Anyway, the touch ups are proceeding quickly now, and soon enough, the book will be off in the hands of beta readers. After that, I can start with the whole fine tooth comb thing.

One of things I've been keeping in mind as I've been going back through has been two things I'll add onto the book: acknowledgments and writer's notes. The acknowledgments will to be various people; first, there are those like Norma, without whom the book would still be locked away in my head. Second, a number of professionals in museums, embassies, or other occupations have lent some expert advice along the way. And there are other people who live in the places in question and to whom I've known. Selene, for example, lives in Greece and was very helpful in her knowledge of the country. And a good while back another online compadre who lives in England helped out with little things like the travel time between Oxford and Essex. In addition, of course, there are items here and there through the book that I'd like to add into a writer's notes postscript, complete with an apology to the odd real locale for staging meetings between terrorists or protagonists in their facilities. Daniel Silva likes to do the same in his books, apologizing to a real-life hotel for running a field operation out of their premises, and it's a good touch.

I recently had a moment in which I thought of making an alteration to the book, one that would have required massive overhauls, and work that I quickly realized wasn't needed. The reason? The F-35 fighter jet. The project is currently in perpetual delay, with several client nations waiting on delivery, but it appears that the fighters won't be actively in use for several more years. As I originally wrote Heaven & Hell, I incorporated the use of the F-35, as if for all intents and purposes the plane would already be in use. The research I've done was based on that type. The planes are a critical factor in the book. And yet... the program is plagued by delays. I was almost set to switch over to older models as an alternative, but I've realized just how much overhauling would have to be done. I also realized that in a case like this, particularly because I'm not incorporating dates, the writer (also known as me, myself, and I) can use dramatic license.

Lockheed Martin F-35

One of the things that I've been mindful of while writing was creating a very real world sensibility about the book. It had to feel plausible, as if the events of the book could happen. In the last year, we've seen uprisings in the Middle East and beyond, and that's certainly had an influence on my writing. In particular, the situation in Syria- given that Syrian military forces play a part in the events of the book- has been something I've been paying close attention to. Anyone paying attention to the news these days knows full well that the situation remains unresolved. Assad has made a point of butchering those who have risen against him, and has pretty much earned himself a spot in hell reserved for dictators, tyrants, mass murderers, and vacuum salesmen.

I've built it into the background of the book, featuring a possible path that the uprising might take in time. For the most part, however, this is where the story diverges from the real world. I knew that writing Assad himself into the book was not possible, given where I wanted to take the story. I wanted a scenario where the tyrant has been overthrown, where the nation is in a state of transition. Will that happen? We can only hope for the best, and expect the worst.

Lastly, the Lucky Seven meme has been going around for a little while, so I thought I'd take part. The idea is simple. Go to page seventy seven of your manuscript, go down seven lines, and copy the next seven sentences to the blog. I was tagged for this by Lena and Cheryl, and I've also seen this done by Cynthia. Of course, at our joint blog, our alter egos also played along. So with that, I'll leave you with the sentences in question, from Heaven & Hell....(at least until any further adjustments are made!)

            Malach smiled. “Splendid. See you later.” I’m on my way.
            He ended the call, replacing the phone, finishing the tea. Leaving a decent tip, he paid his bill, smiling pleasantly at the waitress as he left, and walked out towards the waiting Land Rover. One part of the operation was done.


  1. First off, partner, thanks for the mention. in most cases, I can recognize a writer whether they've actually written anything or not. Talent is most often that obvious. In you, it was more obvious than in anyone else I've encountered!

    That poor duck! Shame on you!

  2. Oh those seven lines were awesome. Even Clint couldn't have said it better. Yeah the jet thing is interesting because I have a resort in my manuscript that was blown off of the Big Island of Hawaii by the tsunami. It's a famous place that had been open for years and there was no place like it in the world. I keep wondering if I need to rewrite it--but alas, it is fiction after all.

  3. You fiction writers fascinate me! You come from a different place, perhaps from a secret part of the brain that the rest of us don't access. Thanks for another thought provoking post, William.

    One more thing. What color is rubber ducky blood?

  4. Will this comment keep the ducky safe or will you have to deal with Bert and Ernie.

    The seven lines were very interesting... need more

    cheers, parsnip

  5. @Norma: I couldn't resist!

    @Eve: a shame about the resort!

    @Lynn: emerald green.

    @Parsnip: Bert and Ernie are too busy bickering about shower curtains to notice the rubber ducky is gone...

  6. I hope you're getting close to being done...I look forward to reading it.

    BTW, love the fact that you want to apologize to the locales...LOL

  7. I run into the technology problem in writing about firefighting; some of the old manuscripts I want to get published someday depend on fire/rescue techniques, strategy, and equipment that just don't exist anymore. Gotta publish faster ...

  8. I'm having the same problem with my WIP. The teaching tall mast ship in my story just went on the auction block. No more teaching cruises on the horizon.

    Love the rubber ducky!

  9. Oh man that makes it frustrating, eh? Well, maybe the older versions can suffice?
    have a nice weekend!!

  10. Unfortunately the older models, like the F-16, won't do the trick. I'll be keeing it as it is... otherwise it'll get profoundly annoying!

  11. It's funny how much research goes into fiction. I'm sure you had to do a lot for your book.

  12. I love Oxfordshire! It's such a gorgeous county.

    I usually tend to write about places I've been to, but I'm very much in awe of writers who can set novels in foreign-to-them locations. I just hate research! :)

  13. Nice snippet!!! It's only a tiny bit but it's full of atmosphere and intrigue!

    Awwww poor duckie!!

    Take care

  14. You heartless writer, you! Sacrificing an innocent duck!

    Yeah, figuring out all the ins and outs of writing is hard but it wouldn't be worthwhile otherwise, would it? On to your betas!

  15. I'm eagerly awaiting the finshed product:)! Do you have an approximate release date in mind?

  16. I'm thinking by summer. I'm making quick progress now with the polishing off of the novel, and then over to beta readers, and after that, ebook time!

  17. Well, this post answers my question about book availability. I guess I wait.

    At least the duck is safe for now.


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