Thursday, June 14, 2012

Introducing you to my Frenchwoman...

I have ignored this little bloggie dreadfully.  I have ignored my writing dreadfully too.  If I didn't know it already, I'd be inclined to think I was a Dreadful Person. 

But, Madam, that is beside the point.  Here is the Anne-girl's first tag - yes, it's the fourteenth and this is only the first one.  And what's more, most of it was sitting in drafts for ages on end. 

What is the name of your novel? The Frenchwoman.  Um, it's actually called A Woman in Shadow but I can never call novels by their titles, so I've got into the habit of calling the book (and the character) The Frenchwoman.

Are you doing the book in a month challenge? I was actually more than 8,000 words when June started, but since this is Camp Nano it doesn't matter.  And I'm not writing as much as I should, but I'm writing more than I would have if I hadn't done Camp Nano at all, so I can't complain.

Name your three main characters. Oh, I have to give away the secret?  Well, okay. 
The book is told from the point of view of Lord Hastings, whose first name is Edward. (But I do not say Lord Edward Hastings.  NEVER Lord Edward.)
Then there is the main character, Madeleine de la Trenelle, who goes by aliases half the time so her name doesn't matter.  And then...
(drumroll please)
There is Sir Percy Blakeney.
No comment.

Give a basic summary of the plot line. Sort of like a back cover blurb.
I am very hesitant about giving away the plot.  It's MY plot, thank-you-very-much, and if you want to know what it is you will have to read the book and watch it upfold step-by-step.  But The Frenchwoman (excuse me, Maria, that is not the title) is the first of my novels to have a real Theme, which I am unashamedly proud of. 

And the tumbrils rattled along slowly, sent by the leaders of the Republic One and Indivisible for Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood or Death.  Finding Liberty impossible, equality unpleasant, and brotherhood unattainable, the leaders of this glorious revolution had settled upon Death.
Is there true liberty, equality, and brotherhood anywhere?  How will it be found and what will be the cost?

There.  That is the setting and the theme, in come my characters and you are free to guess what happens. 

And then there are the twin theme/inspiration texts.  The first one was what first inspired the plot, the second one is what I learned from the book, or learned when I was writing it and unconsciously drifted into the story.

“It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.  On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Which character is your favorite so far?
(Sir P. B. is out of the question.  He's Baroness O's character, not mine) I truly admire Madeleine.  And I really sympathize with her too, but I don't really know her.  I'd have to say Hastings.  He's just so sweet and likeable.

Do you believe in assigned word counts and deadlines, or just writing whenever you feel like it?
I assign the word counts and deadlines and I write whenever I feel like.  Not that that works. :(

What's your book's theme song?
The Impossible Dream comes to mind, and not just for Sir Percy and Lord Hastings.  In this case I'd apply it most to my Frenchwoman. (who I can't bear to call Madeleine)

What inspired you to write this?
I was vacuuming some Saturday afternoon and I was very, very bored.  To pass the time I got into a daydream of being some mysterious Frenchwoman who met ultra-heroic and super-amazing Sir Percy Blakeney.  But I couldn't have Sir Percy and me together without falling in love with him.  Since, of course, there's Marguerite, I changed my daydream to have an ultra-heroic and super-amazing member of the League instead.  And as the main character gradually became less and less like me, the daydream morphed into a story.

Have ever read or seen Les Mis?
Nope, not yet.  With the advice of my parents, who think I should wait a while before jumping headfirst into Victor Hugo (and who probably think I will start a Les Mis fansite - they know me too well,) I'm leaving it alone for now.  I like it already, though, and will probably save the beginning date of my grand and glorious fanship for my birthday, in a few months.

What author has inspired you the most?
For this?  Definately Baroness Orczy.  Her plots, her characters, her descriptions...  But occaisonally I disagree with her in the matter of writing, when I deliberately tweak the plot or theme to say, "This is what I think, Baroness.  And I often agree with you, but not always."

Friday, June 1, 2012

All writing is propaganda, in one form or another.

There!  That grabbed your attention, didn’t it?  It is a truth that should be universally acknowledged that the first post on a new blog should be very attention-grabbing indeed.

Perhaps you were wondering about the quote I used for my blog name and have on my header.  I think I can safely say that the majority of us (fortunately) do not think it is their business to tangle with people’s emotions.
“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” - James A. Michener
But (and here I come back to my title), writing makes you feel.  When you read a good book, in a sense, your emotions get tangled into it.  You laugh at a witty response, squeal at a delightful scene, cry at the tragic parts (oh, poor Sydney Carton…), and fall in love with all the characters.

But the thing about writing a good book is that in a sense (and if you cultivate a certain amount of brilliance), you can decide what you want your readers to feel.  You can decide the circumstances of the tragic part to make your reader’s feelings just a little different.  A book written well can stick new thoughts into a person and make them learn.  It can even give them a completely new worldview.

Obviously, as authors we have a big responsibility.  To a certain extent we can make them feel differently, think differently… even change their lives.
How are we making them feel?  What are we making them think?  Will their lives be changed in a good way by our writing?
You might think, “I don’t try to manipulate my readers’ feelings or change their minds.  It’s just a story.”

A story is a story, but all stories have some kind of worldview put into them.  What you really think will show up on the page.  Simple bits of the plot will reveal where your values lie and simple details in the tragic parts will really show what you feel.  And, if you’re a good author, your reader might feel the same way.  If they’re good readers, they’ll see from your writings what your values are; what you think and feel.

*raises glass filled with fruit juice*
Here’s to a beautiful lifetime of reading for all the readers and an inspiring lifetime of writing for all the writers!  And may we never stop striving for excellence in our writing.