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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Crash Course in “Make Write Good”

June 29th, 2010 at 22:42

I’m at that stage of editing when you grasp desperately at everything to help you in the Herculean task of Make Book Better. I inhaled Ellen Kushner’s The Privilege of the Sword specifically to kick the ‘write good sentences’ part of my brain into gear, and found myself startled at just how good a book it was to inspire me to work on The Creature Court – far above my own skills, but sharing many similar themes and elements, enough to spur me on. Now I’m reading the Demon’s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan, simply because it turned up – I have been waiting for this book since the second I read the last page of The Demon’s Lexicon – only to realise, hang on, this is a second book! I am reading an awesome first chapter of a second book, and doesn’t it just show exactly how such a thing ought to be achieved?

I want to drench myself in 1920’s novels with lots of dialogue, and clever, witty court fantasy, and maybe a bit of Austen or Galsworthy just to be on the safe side, and then there’s the music, only the right kind of music, and maybe I should be immersing myself in vintage art… but I only have nine days. There are limits – muses should be carefully applied, not stacked on like the toppings at a pancake buffet.

Is there such a thing as a pancake buffet? There so should be.

All this is just one big distraction from the fact that there isn’t enough time in the day. I was working flat out from lunchtime until it was time to pick up the baby from daycare, and still came close to being one chapter short for the day. Sure, I wrote a new chapter that deeply excites me but – why are the days so short? Why?

Still, I plug on, making my characters hurt more and fancy each other more and dress prettier and possibly talk in longer sentences.

One week to go.

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