#amwritinghistoricalfiction: p. 101

A conversation between the Archbishop of Madrid and Matias, the MC of self’s (set in the 18th century) novel, Blue Water, Distant Shores:

“Are there testimonies of his cruelty?”

“There are,” says the Archbishop. “And yet, without the cruelty of Juan de Salcedo, none of this would have been possible.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: The English Arrive on Isla del Fuego

p. 243 of self’s novel-in-progress:

An English officer stands on the beach, waiting at attention. Matias gapes.

“England has attacked Spain, sir,” the man announces. “We have 5,000 soldiers in Manila. Colonel Chisholm.”

#amwriting: 18th Century What-Not

The following is an excerpt from an Archbishop ‘s conversation with self’s main character Matias, who is being assigned to one of Spain’s farthest colonies, the Philippines:

“There are a handful of civil servants married to native women who have taken to land management. I would not go so far as to call their efforts industrious. They are respectable but not artistic. It would be tedious to describe them.”

Whenever self re-reads this passage, she just has to go

lol

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

So Long, NaNoWriMo2017, #stillwriting

Today self spent the whole day writing. Well, she spent all of yesterday writing as well. And the day before that. And the day before that. And . . .

Actually, the only times she hasn’t been writing in November are when she’s been on an airport or an airplane (pretty often, actually, in November, and lest she forget to mention — Aer Lingus sent her from Dublin to Cork, in a three-hour taxi ride because of a cancelled flight from Heathrow, on Nov. 2)

She did not, of course, do 50k words. But she never expected to anyway.

What she has as of today are 282 pages of a novel-in-progress, and she knows pretty much how she wants it to end.

She even thought of a cool-sounding title for her manuscript, a few days ago:

Blue Water, Distant Shores

Sooo fan-ta-ma-tas-tic. She got the idea yesterday. She likes to think she wouldn’t have gotten there if she hadn’t spent so much time working up to 282 pages. Two years ago, this idea was 60 pages which she forced up to 80 pages so she could go to Banff Writers Studio. And she’s had such problems with confidence (because it’s 18th century, and she’s never written a novel before, and she set it in Spain, which she’s only been to once in her whole life). But, slow and steady, and BIG BIG thanks to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig for giving her that space and that peace and that determination to finish her book.

And she is so happy right now. Incredible.

Stay tuned.

 

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: Hope to Get to 266 pp. Today

Spent five hours writing this morning. Produced seven pages.

That is blisteringly slow.

Setting: 18th century Spain

Dorotea bites her lip and shakes her head. “Many have given their lives in the service of the faith. And you wish to be in their company. I know your ambition. It was ever large.”

Self sincerely  hopes that dialogue sounds 18th century enough.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Self’s Main Character Reads Don Quijote

Self is just one page shy of her quota for the day!

The following conversation takes place on p. 64 of her novel-in-progress:

“You call it courage to bear ridicule?”

“Indeed I do. To bear ridicule without feeling bitterness is very hard.”

“And how does the knight fare? What is his fate?”

“His fate is to be misunderstood, his entire life.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Battle in Robert Harris: p. 248 of Conspirata (Or, If You’re in the UK, Lustrum)

Cicero’s great enemy is Catilina. Catilina is dispatched, as self knew he would be (She’s read about Catilina’s dispatching in both SPQR and Tom Holland’s Rubicon). But, as Harris writes a few pages earlier, No victories in politics are permanent (This is a paraphrase; self has little time to be hunting up the exact page, as the day is almost done and she hasn’t met her day’s writing quota).

Still, Harris manages to make Catilina’s defeat exciting:

  • It was a terrible carnage and Catilina was in the thick of it all day. Not one of his lieutenants surrendered. They fought with the ferocious abandon of men with nothing to lose. Only when Petreius sent in a crack praetorian cohort did the rebel army finally collapse. Every one of Catilina’s followers, including Manlius, died where he stood; afterwards their wounds were found to be entirely in the front and none in the back.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Reading List (No Joyce! Or Swift!): Historical Fiction

Near Temple Bar, Dublin

Near Temple Bar, Dublin

Self rode around Dublin on the Hop On-Hop Off double-decker bus today (the weather was gorgeous!).  Self met two fellow Americans who, it turns out, hail from Daly City, California!  She stayed on that bus for about two hours.  Her thoughts began to revolve around UK-centric historical fiction she has read and enjoyed.

Naturally, she loves Catherine Dunne (especially Another Kind of Life) and Sarah Waters (especially Fingersmith and The Night Watch), but here are some others that sprang to mind:

Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott:  Set at the time of the Norman Conquest (plus self remembers it was made into a pretty fab BBC mini-series, with Ciaran Hinds playing villain)

The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy (Surely that’s a pseudonym?  This was the novel self voraciously read and re-read, summers in Bacolod)

The Eagle of the Ninth, by Rosemary Sutcliff (Did anyone see Channing in the film adaptation?  So gorgeous, even when wearing Roman toga)

From Hell, by Alan Moore (The first book self bought on this trip; she spent a gorgeous April afternoon reading it in Russell Square, and then had to mail it home because it was too heavy to lug to Ireland)

One of self’s all-time favorites is Sebastian Barry’s anguished novel of World War I, A Long, Long Way.

And she knows a writer who is addicted to Nora Roberts.

Today self bought a wee pocketbook from the National Gallery of Art:  The Happy Prince & Other Stories by Oscar Wilde.  Oh, she cried already after reading the title story.  It was just so — poignant.  The swallow and the Prince, each dying of neglect, but united by generosity of spirit (Clearly, self adores angst!)

Now to read the next story, “The Nightingale and the Rose.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

 

Best of Self’s Reading List 2013

It is a little early to be making “Best of 2013” lists.

But self looooves lists.  Loves, loves, loves them.  Her whole life is made up of lists.

Self will make it a point to keep this list short.  She’ll narrow her 2013 reading list to the 5 books she most enjoyed reading.  And here they are:

  • Don Quijote, by Miguel de Cervantes, the translation by Burton Raffel
  • Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson
  • Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Leopard, by Giuseppe di Lampedusa
  • Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel

None of these are recently published.  But a large part of self’s reading consists of delayed gratification.  She knows she wants to read a particular book, but it takes her years — years — to get to.  She only hopes she lives long enough to read every book that’s now on her current reading list.

Stay tuned.

Reading, Third Thursday of August (2013): “The Music Child” by Krip Yuson

Self is 3/5 of the way through Wolf Hall!  With any luck, she’ll finish in a week or so.  She hates to rush, but the book is overdue:  she’s already renewed it the maximum two times (six weeks)

She’s begun “The Music Child,” by Krip Yuson, in The Best Philippine Short Stories of the Twentieth Century.  The beginning is very enthralling.  It’s taken her 10 years to get to this point of the anthology because she’s lingered over each story.  She would really like to thank Isagani Cruz for the masterful job he’s done, assembling these.

Krip’s story is by no means a new story: she first read it about 20 years ago.  But reading it this evening, the writing seems very fresh.  Even more fresh is the fact that this is the first Filipino short story she’s read that’s narrated by an American:

I was in Southern Philippines for a follow-up story on muro-ami fishing, having already sent a report on the Manila end of the ecologically ruinous operations.

I had interviewed the big bosses of the Frebel Fishing Corporation, as well as a few legislators involved in a committee on natural resources.  Easy enough to get into these high offices when one represents Western media.

It was a dying issue as far as the local papers went.  Officials had upheld the ban on boy divers pounding the reefs with iron balls to drive fish into giant nets.  All that the greedy operators could do was take it on the chin and shrug.

But for the Examiner back home, the triumph of environmental concern would always rate a banner story in the features section.  So had my editor assured me as soon as I faxed Part One of the series.

Ecology couldn’t die as a cause in the world’s leading democracy.  And where better to flush out tales of horror than in Third World enclaves run by petty politicians?

Cebu City was a smaller Manila, just as dense, dustier, hotter, more humid, except at the seafront where I found the usual spot of calm amid the chaos, by sitting over cold San Miguel beer in a small restaurant.

Self finds herself thoroughly engrossed by the voice.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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