Behind the Magic ~ The Very Beginnings of the Parasol Protectorate

Today, I thought I might stretch back into time a little bit and blog about the Beginning.

Some time ago, three or four years now, Gentle Reader, and event occurred. Picture this, little Gail Carriger biding her time, humming softly to herself, in some unnamed hotel somewhere at some unnamed convention. She has just been to a panel on “Escaping the Slush Pile” and she is considering a new project.

She jots down some notes in a notebook. They read as follows…

“I was born without a soul.”
Blah. Blah. Something about not being undead. Poke. Poke. No, decidedly alive. People make that mistake all the time, natural people, but the thing about the undead is they all have souls that couldn’t die – too much soul, really.
Me, I’ve none at all. Born that way.
Preternatural (preter)
Supernatural (super)
“I” therefore is just a whole lot more representative in my case.
I have identity – a heart. I can love and feel, but I’m null.
Undead call me a soul sucker, werewolves = anti-change, ghosts = grounds.
? What supernatural creatures do I want in my universe?
Remove Undead

There it is. The seed that became Soulless. I had entirely forgotten I wrote it in first person. After those notes there is a line break, probably signifying a week or so, then a switch in pen color and tidier handwriting, a surefire indication that the Author Beast has given the project consideration.

Then comes the heading “Some Additional Thoughts.” Under that are world building notes, including some on Victorian government and earlier history detailing how the immortals integrated. Then there’s some notes on Victorian romance novel structure, the beginnings of characters, including Alexia, Conall (who was Conall Goring, Lord Brindle), Ivy (who was Ivy Thistlewaight), Professor Lyall (who had no first name), and Lord Akeldama (who was Lord Ambrose, Earl of Serkan, although I have another side note that says Akeldama “field of blood” is more dramatic). After that, there’s several pages of mini scenes in the sloppy handwriting of middle of the night, or just out of the shower, inspiration. (This is still how I write, sometimes jumping pages or even books ahead of myself to write a scene I see really vividly.) The first scene written is the one between Ivy and Alexia in the park, but after that most of the others are between Alexia and Conall or Conall and Lyall.

And that, as they say, was that.

Well, my dear Gentle Reader, I hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into the creative process.

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Gail’s Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Tiny hats in Sydney.

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And yet, strangely genius

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Posted by Gail Carriger


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