Tagged writing

Chapter Titles And Other Quandaries

Posted by Gail Carriger

I have a mad love of chapter titles, Gentle Reader. You may, or may not, have noticed that all of my books have chapter titles. I’ve no idea where this love comes from, that’s the weird thing. Yes many of my early reader books had chapter titles, but it’s not like as I got older they didn’t fade away as they mainly do in genre. And didn’t most other authors have that too? Yet they readily abandon the chapter title. Perhaps it’s because of my comedy bent?

For example, here’s a look at the chapter titles in Romancing the Inventor:

  1. In Which We Hope Vampires are Perverted
  2. In Which Inventors Have Powerful Dimples
  3. In Which Equations Prove Fruitful and Multiply
  4. In Which Werewolves Come Calling
  5. In Which Things Get Perverted at Supper
  6. In Which Imogene Contemplates Rodger
  7. In Which We Learn the Source of Vanilla
  8. In Which There are More Dimples
  9. In Which Werewolves Meddle
  10. In Which We Solve All the Equations

I don’t always use the “In Which” tag, but in this particular book I really wanted to. It felt right. Perhaps, if you want me to seem very smart, I’m playing on the idea of solitary women of the dark past (particularly those with aberrant sexual interests), being monikered witch? (There’s you college essay for you.) Competence, the book I’m working on now, has a different approach. But it still has chapter titles.

One of my great joys as an indie author is that I get to make sure my chapter titles appear at the front of the ebook. My formatter and I had a long hash out of the necessity of this and how I wanted them to appear, exactly. Because when I can be in control, I am such a control freak.

I don’t necessarily gravitate to reading books that have chapter titles, but I do notice when they appear and I like it. Possibly because it is so rare these days.

I wonder why it’s so out of fashion. Too much like non-fiction? Perceived as juvenile?

{Gail’s monthly read along for Feb is Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford.}



Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

 After a design by Cornelis Pronk (Dutch, Amsterdam 1691–1759 Amsterdam), Chinese, for Dutch market

 Cornelis Pronk (Dutch, Amsterdam 1691–1759 Amsterdam)
Plate depicting a lady with parasol, ca. 1734–37
Chinese, Yongzheng (1723–35)–Qianlong (1736–95) period
Hard-paste porcelain painted with cobalt blue under transparent glaze (Jingdezhen ware); H. 4 1/8 in. (10.5 cm.); Diam. 19 1/2 in. (49.5 cm.)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Helena Woolworth McCann Collection, Purchase, Winfield Foundation Gift, 1968 (68.153)

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Globo dirigible de M. Giffard

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Publishing Predictions: What Will Happen in 2017

Book News:

Dianna Sachs says of Romancing the Inventor:

“The relationship between Madame Lefoux and the intrepid parlormaid, Imogene, has a sweetness that underlies their discovery of each other. The pair must navigate their emerging feelings for each other while withstanding the manipulations of a few familiar characters – some benign and others decidedly hostile.”

Quote of the Day:

“Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
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Writing Modes ~ Work, Fugue, & Trance

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, Gentle Reader, I tend to think in terms of three different types of writing modes. I haven’t talked much with other authors, and I’m sure everyone is different but I thought perhaps you’d like a peek into my divisions of author ability, as it were.


1. Work Writing

Both the hardest and most common, this is the type of writing that feels like sweating blood. This is when I sit down and squeeze out the words, one after another. I try not to question myself, and just do it because I must, because it’s my job, and because I have a deadline. I make up games and bribe myself. I’ll do lots of silly things just to force myself to write those 2000 words for that day. When us authors talk about “training writer muscles,” this is the kind of writing we mean. The work of it. The business of it. If you want to be a career author I devoutly believe you must learn how to execute this kind of writing and never to rely on the other two.

2. Fugue Writing

I can’t remember who first used the term fugue with me, but I definitely stole it from someone (possibly one of the Armenian Lovers). I don’t like the idea of a muse (to me muse feels like I’m giving someone else credit for my work, talk to the Ancient Greeks about it). However, to use that analogy, fugue is the state when the muse has you in her warm embrace. Fugue is the best of writing. It’s being transported and having the words flow out of you. It’s the fingertips as conduit for something else. I think of the something else as my subconscious. Sometimes it’s Lord Akeldama. Fugue is when writing is fun and easy. For hobby writers, this can be the only type of writing that you do. I used to be like that in high school and college, only writing when I felt motivated. Chasing fugue, however, is the death nell for the professional author. It can’t be caught and you waste valuable time if you sit around waiting for it to drop. Instead you must activate Work Writing. It can also be dangerous if it happens too much in a book. To me it’s like a natural writer’s high, and I don’t want to depend upon it to get me typing in the morning. I find if I’ve had a run of fugue on a book then it is that much harder to motivate to finish without the fugue later.

3. Trance Writing

Trace is the rarest writing mode, for me. It’s not always pleasant, particularly for those around me. Fugue I usually welcome, immerse myself in happily, and then hop back out of, like a delightful swim in a cool lake. Trance is more like a wicked undertow. It drags me in and keeps me there sometimes for days. It’s hugely productive and I can double or even triple my word count, occasionally more than that, but I’m also absent. I’ll physically stop writing but I’m still there in my head, and pretty much anything and everything can cause a return to the computer. It can be painful on my body because I just forget things: food, posture, exercise, wrist pain.

Witness this conversation when I entered trance state over Poison or Protect:

AB: What do you mean you forgot to eat?
Gail: I remembered eventually. I also didn’t play with the cat.
AB: Poor little Lilliput!
Gail to the cat: I am sorry Lilliput. I’m just not really here right now. I’m somewhere in southern England in 1867. I promise, I’ll return eventually.

That’s what it feels like, usually for 24-48 hours I’m just absent, somewhere else.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, this only happens once or twice a year.

Now shall I tell you the great secret regarding all 3 of these modes?

The Glorious Truth

The reader will never know the difference.

In fact there’s a good chance when you go back a reread it yourself, you won’t be able to tell the difference. I never can. The hard working parts, the times it was like pulling teeth to get that daily word count done, the easy fugue times when the imagery simply flowed out of me, the rare and disconcerting trance times… You know what? They all read the same in the end. They all require editing. LOTS of editing. They were equally good and equally crap.

The point, in the end, is to sit down at the computer and type.

Rita winners on cover of RWA National Magazine

Rita winners on cover of RWA National Magazine

In other news congrats to the Rita Winners. Personal shout out to Alexis Hall’s For Real which took the erotic romance category and Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy’s Him which won mid-length contemporary romance. I read and enjoyed both these books, and it’s lovely to see m/m step in and take a non-LBGTQ specific categories!

{Gail’s monthly read along for September is Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair.}


  • Romancing the Inventor ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Working proof. Releases Nov. 1 2016.
    LBGT romance featuring a parlourmaid bent on seducing a certain cross-dressing inventor who is too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?
  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novella? Novel? Who knows.
    Status: Rough draft.
    Something new and different for Gail, contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.



My Sister’s Song

The warrior Mithra must repel a Roman legion alone and armed only with one very tasty weapon.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .


Ensemble Lucien Lelong, 1926 The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .


Self & the wonderful Ty!

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

100 Must-Read Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels by Female Authors

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  


Book News:


Quote of the Day:

“Once we had been friends, once we had been lovers. And now we were just two people who knew each other too well, who had—through carelessness, not malice—hurt each other too much.”
~ Glitterland by Alexis Hall

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!

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