The Writer’s Native Environment

Life has been unbelievably busy lately, Gentle Reader. Ever since my trip to NY derailed my finishing M&M, I’ve been playing ketchup. First I had to do M&M’s TKs, knowing if I left them for later they would take me 2x as long.

Running TKs

TK is the text notation many of us writers put in for a future callback. It’s searchable shorthand for “To Come” as “T” and “K” don’t exist together in the English language. I use it for items that will need extensive research, chronological checks, and events or descriptions I have to check against previous books to avoid consistency errors. TK allows me to write without stopping knowing I can fix errors later. However, if I leave too many, I’m setting myself up for days of work at the end of a manuscript.

Back to the saga…

Then there was a bust up and an extension on my W&W copy edits, mixed in with those came #TwitterFiction, then I had ConDor in San Diego. So rolled straight from TKs on the last Finishing School book into copy edits on the third one. Not necessarily a bad thing as it allows me to refresh my memory of what happened in #3 and make notes for more fixes in #4 in a few months.

The copy edit desk, quite similar to the TK fortunately for me

Above lower left working right: map of London; timeline for all in world books and short stories; Baedeker’s Guide to Great Britain; English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century; schematic diagram of the Finishing School dirigible; timeline of history (with my own notations as to Victoria’s little wars and occurrences in my version of the world); blue story bible for the Finishing School series.

Not shown: copy edit notes; train maps; steam engine schematics; other primary sources.

These days I struggle with hads.
For example:
“Dimity went white as a sheet, more terrified by this than the hair-raising ride they had recently endured.” Is correct.
You see, I prefer the tonality of: “Dimity went white as a sheet, more terrified by this than the hair-raising ride they recently endured.” No had.
I know the first is technically right, but the second sounds better. This has to do with why my writing is so replete with fragment sentences. I like the punch of how fragments sound when read aloud. There’s an not to copy editor to ignore fragment by author request. I know I am breaking that rule but the tonality is vital. All this, I think, has to do with the fact that I was raised on audiobooks (no TV until mid high school) so the sing song nature of text is important to me. I find the extra hads jarring because I would not speak that way. I’m not complaining, I allow them the correction because it doesn’t matter that much to me. I just thought you, Gentle Reader, would enjoy a glimpse into the minor frettings of the minutia of copy edits. Quibble should be my middle name. And a darn fine one at that.

Gail Quibble Carriger has a bad case of the hads right now.

So back to the ketchup: Mixed up in all the above was some hastily scheduled minor surgery, which, having cosmetic consequences, turned me into a recluse unable to exercise for over a month ~ rather driving me stir crazy. Anyway, as a result, I’m now delayed on the Prudence rewrites, and (as you may have noticed) this blog is running behind as well. Grrr.

I’m hoping Prudence won’t be as hard as I have built it up to be. I’ve decided on a two prong attack stratagem: 1. digital read through and major plot point fixing as organically as possible, 2. printout read through page by page catch all note fixing. It’s going to be a dozy. You know that stretching sensation around the eyes? Yeah.

What does this mean for you? Not a whole lot. Blog posts might be slightly fewer or shorter or both. My social media presence is on a diet, and I won’t be doing any other commitments except those I’ve already agreed to. Not until July at any rate.

Wish me luck?

Book News:
Girl Lost in a Book says of Changeless,

“This book ends leaving the reader dying to know what happens next, so it was impossible to not pick up the next book in this series.”

Quote of the Day:

[Leap frog] “is so humiliating to the boy who bends himself over and puts his hands down on his knees, and it is so perilous for the boy who, placing his hands on the stooped shoulders, attempts to fly over.”
~ Around the Tea Table, by T. De Witt Talmage (1875) 

Posted by Gail Carriger

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  1. {Scribbler} Skye said:

    Definite luck to you! Be sure to take plenty of tea and rest breaks, though – your good health should always come first. I hope your surgery went well with no complications, and you are bouncing back to your old self. So glad to hear you're still coming to AZ in May – I'm really looking forward to finally meeting you! 🙂

  2. Fredward said:

    I recently reread the Parasol Protectorate series and I have SO MANY QUESTIONS. Mostly lore-related so nothing too spoilerific. Feel free to answer all/some/none of them and sorry if you get the same kinda questions all the time.


    1. So we know Britain is progressive and Italy and America aren't so which are some other progressive/actively hostile countries?

    2. When Prudence touches her mother does she become human/normal or does she become preternatural?

    3. Are the templars autonomous or do they answer to the Pope and if so does the Pope directly control all of Italy?

    4. Are there regional variations of werecreatures? Like it would be soooo cool if Japan had kitsunes, just sayin'.

    5. In theory could someone have so much excess soul that they became supernatural, die and then become a ghost?

    6. Is there such a thing as a female rove or is such a thing totally biologically impossible?

    7. What are some of the characteristics of an abundance of soul? Creativity is the obvious one but someone like Angelique did not show any excessive creativity (at least not "on-screen," except if doing hair counts I suppose) but she did have… I dunno? Character? She was an impressive lady is more or less what I'm getting at, is that kinda thing also indicative of excess soul?

    8. One of the books mentioned a loner petitioning Conall to turn one of his clavigers, is that usually the motivation for werewolves to go loner? They want their own pack? If so how unusual is the dewan?

    9. How willing are hive queens to create new queens? Vampires seem pretty possessive as a rule, wouldn't they be wary of the upstart deciding to stick around and try and take her territory?

    10. What happens if a queen swarms and she can't find a place she deems "safe" soon enough? Or if she's actively stopped from settling?

    11. So we know queens will actually die if they live long enough because they can't really feed through natural means anymore (do vampires die if they don't feed? Or just go into a coma or something?) does something similar happen to male vampires?

    12. How much decay is too much decay for a ghost? Is it safe to assume that with the right kind of technology that ghosts could stick around forever?

    13. How old is Lord Akeldama? This is probably venturing into spoiler/leave-them-guessing territory but I figure either REALLY old or not that old at all. Cuz he either has to be an Englishman who ventured to Egypt relatively recently or not an Englishman at all but a foreigner that has acculturated seamlessly. Not impossible for someone of his intellect but I'm going with the latter. Which must make him very old because he must have been turned before this ennui/extreme weakness gripped Matakara. Then again Matty's right hand man did say the other vampires were still "young" whatever that means to a vampire. Woops this kinda wandered away from question territory didn't it?


    14. This is kinda morbid and gross but when Alexia dies can she, conceivably, have some of her skin cured and turned into leather? Lord Akeldama could wear her and watch the sun come up/set whenever he wanted to then. Assuming he'd ever wear something like that ofc. I have reservations.

    TBC since this has a character limit…

  3. Fredward said:

    15. How far in the future is the new series set, the one with Prudence?

    16. How is killing a supernatural looked upon in pro-supernatural societies? Because I'm with Alexia on this one, the idea of killing something immortal is repulsive. All that knowledge. 🙁

    17. How many of their drones/clavigers do loners/roves actually try to have changed? Cuz it seems like such a waste yah know? The use of Akeldama's drones goes down significantly if they're actually successfully turned. The only reason I can think of is for love/companionship. Then again why sign up to be a drone to a rove instead of a queen? Maybe they just want something to do in their younger years. Better than badminton I suppose.

    18. Are we gonna see some of the old characters in the new books?

    19. Can the position of mujha (sp?) ONLY be filled by a preternatural or is that a post Prudence would also be able to fill? Then again I suppose creating an entirely new role might make as much sense.

    20. Do metanaturals live longer than the muggl- normal people? Cuz if Prudence spent every night (unlikely as that is) as a werewolf or vampire she should in theory live to be at least twice as old as a regular person right?

    21. Can children be turned into vampires/werewolves? Pretty questionable ethically of course but interesting to think about. If a 10 year old was turned into a vampire at 10 would s/he stay that way forever? I.e. 10 year old intellect/naivety and etc? Man that could be so dangerous.

    22. Can we get a spin-off about the adventures of Lyall & Biffy? Man I'd read the shit out of that. Favourite book couple in a looooooong time.

    23. OH! OH! OH! That reminds me! You have a lot of LGBT characters in your books which makes me wonder. Is this kind of relaxed standards because the books take place in a pro-supernatural setting and immortals have a more relaxed view on this kind of thing or is the setting as a whole just less stuck on sexuality?

    24. What would happen if someone in the royal family actually became a supernatural? They'd be disowned I'd imagine. Or killed? Can't risk having an immortal monarch now can we.

    25. Assuming he had his sword who would win in a fight, Lord Akeldama or Lord Maccon? That needs to happen Gail. IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN OR MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE COMPLETE.

    I probably had more questions but I forgot them which always happens when I think for extended periods of time. My mind just kinda unravels and I'm left sitting like a befuddled kitten after a particularly vigorous assault on a ball of yarn.

  4. Gail Carriger said:

    OK, I've formulated a blog post. Thank you for the distraction all morning. But it'll take a few months to get it cleaned and posted. But answers are coming.

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