Saturday, February 12, 2011

Vindication for Vacation!

"Shackled" is written in the past - and by past, I don't mean past tense, I mean 14-17 hundreds (year) past. As a writer, I have to be conscious of the fact that my character, born in 1474 (or whenever) isn't going to say, "I need a Kleenex." or "I wish I had that on tape." or even, "Google it." Those things just don't fit in with the timeline of the story. Putting in an out-of-century expletive or expression makes the fantasy world you're building really crumble away.

Every last one of my beta readers has griped about when my characters say something like, "You must needs have it done!" or "He must needs listen to that advice." They tell me, "Say he must do it, or he needs listen!" Or even, "If you take the s off needs it might be okay, but I still think it's wrong..."

I have read many classical works in my time. I'm not saying my friends and beta readers (and fiance) are less well-read or up-in-the-know, but I can't explain to them that "must needs" is a correct phrase. I've been tearing my hair out trying to decide - do I change it and lose atmosphere, or keep it because I know it's correct? (even though everyone griped about it!!) Even my grammar Nazi got on my case about it. Head... plus... desk...

The whoop I let out yesterday shook the walls of my house. I was reading "The Scarlet Letter", a particular favorite of mine, when I came upon this passage:

Then touching the shoulder of a townsman who stood near to him, he addressed him in a formal and courteous manner:
"I pray you, good Sir," said he, "who is this woman?--and wherefore is she here set up to public shame?"
"You must needs be a stranger in this region, friend," answered the townsman, looking curiously at the questioner and his savage companion, "else you would surely have heard of Mistress Hester Prynne and her evil doing. (/end)

Let me gloat a little bit. Oh yeah, do the cabbage patch, swing that booty, uh, uh, uh, alright, oh yeah! (This sort of celebration doesn't transfer to text well.)

So, I am satisfied and IT WILL STAY (even though I am 95% sure some reviewer will complain about it.) But in the end, it's my story, my voice, and CORRECT!!!

I've finished 18/48 rewrites so far. If I did 8 a day starting today, I'd be done for release Wednesday. It's a tall order and I'm not going to push for time and lose quality. It's funny how doing 8 sounded so easy in my head :P Some of them I can do in about 45 minutes, but the two chapters I've done today took me a combined 3+ hours. They were important chapters written in bare bones and needed to be polished. I want my product to be the best it can be! :D


  1. Loved the happy dance! Your blog is one of the more interesting ones because your personality is so well portrayed in your posts.

    Looks like you are right on track. That would be tricky. Do you publish something that forgives peoples' ignorance, but you know more people will enjoy, or something that stays true to what you know is right?

    I guess it depends on what your goal is. Most people unaware of that age will be annoyed by the wording and you could lose sells. However, it doesn't seem like you would prefer the money over correctness, so for you, correctness it shall be ;)

    Angeline Kace

  2. My beta readers are reading more to make sure I don't have plot holes and for grammar. I don't necessarily think their taste in literature mirrors mine. People who I imagine reading my book will read things in a similar vein, of a similar time. I guess I suppose my readers will know the difference?

    Maybe I'm just being obnoxious and doing what I want to do. Self-pubbing AHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!