Friday, April 23, 2010

End-of-week wrap

Finally finished "Mister Slaughter," the third in Robert McCammon's Mathew Corbett series. Not as fast a reader as I used to be.

If you didn't catch McCammon's recent post regarding his own travails within the publishing industry, including his difficulty finding a publisher for what he describes as "the best thing I've ever written" (this from the guy who wrote "Swan Song" and "Boy's Life") and his concluding that "niche" is where it's at these days in the publishing world, check it out here. Probably something every aspiring writer should read.

Because, if Robert McCammon can't find a publisher for his books . . . then what hope do any of us have?

And if you haven't read, or more importantly, aren't still reading Robert McCammon, then you are missing something wonderful.

The Mathew Corbett series begins with "Speaks the Nightbird."

You know what to do.

Things are going well on the "Swash!" front. Cracked the 30,000 word barrier yesterday with no end in sight. Strange too to be breaking one of the cardinal rules of new (and old) writers: Never write in dialect. Rumor has it hardly anyone ever pulls it off.

But there's no way to write "pirate" without dialect, is there?

Of course, I have no idea if any of it works, or indeed, short of James Joyce or Mark Twain or people far more brilliant than me, if it ever does. And I do know at times that I lay it on a bit thick, but I figure I can always cut it down to size later.

I'm also avoiding anything pirate or pirate-related (short of reading about the exploits of real pirates and real shipwrecks) so I don't end up re-writing "Pirates of the Caribbean" or "Captain Blood" or something. I think that when I'm finished, I'll dig around for those scripts or find "Treasure Island" online and see how thick they laid it on. I suspect I'll be cutting it back some.

But writing this has had some delights too, scenes or tidbits I included for no apparent reason at the time that (hopefully) later add some humor or something interesting to the tale.

For example, my fourteen-year-old protagonist goes to the mainland one day, to the dentist, where the reader learns for the first time he has braces. No biggie, lots of fourteen-year-olds have braces. And today, he's getting his off.

So, the next time he runs into one of the . . . newcomers, it results in (again, hopefully!) this humorous exchange:

Seeing Chris smile, Hornblossom smiled too, and said, "An' if it not be too forward, lemme say yer new teeth be lookin' fine, laddie. Didn' wanna say anythin' at the time, but that last set a yers lef' a whole lot to be desired. Scary lookin' things they were."

It took Chris a moment, but when he understood he just smiled again and said, "Thank you."

Yeah, I know. It needs work.

While on the mainland, Chris also takes a strange coin he's been given from one of the newcomers into a coin shop, where he learns it could pay for his first year of college.

While he finds that interesting and all, more importantly, it puts him closer to piecing together the strange happenings in his corner of the world. What he finds most intriguing is that the coin itself has another name, a name he's heard before. It's an 8-reale coin, once more commonly known as a "piece of eight."

Happy writing!

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