Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Trials and Tribulations of an Aussie writing English in American.

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HELP! As many of you know, I’m an Aussie, and Aussie English is closer to English English than American English – To complicate things, my mother was brought up both in England and Canada, so some American-Canadian-English terms and spelling have snuck into my usage/abusage – It seemed kind of natural, given that the majority of my readers are American, to write in American (it seemed easy, too, I just changed my spellchecker to USA English as well as going with what I “knew”) Anyway, there are plenty of American books in Australia, so we’re laid back with the language whichever way it comes.

In my first two books, I’ve written “grey” rather than “gray” (I thought “gray” was English English). To me, it’s “grey” (I like “grey”), but now I understand that “gray” is the correct American term.

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A thread that doesn’t fit – Uh-oh.

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This is where putting your work aside for a time really helps – Reading through my manuscript to date (book three in The Khekarian Series – The Bastard Line), somewhere after page 40, I came across one thread that just seemed out of place – nothing seemed really “wrong” with it, it carried information necessary to the plot and future events, the writing itself was fine and it was not one of the earlier problem areas – I read on, having marked the place for further consideration.

Then the next segment in that thread didn’t sit right, either, and nor did the one after that, so clearly something was out of whack with that particular thread.

It took me a little while to work out what the problem was and why it didn’t sit right. I realized that the book up to that point had been concerned with the present, which is necessary of course, as a whole lot of stuff is happening there, but I also realized that the problem was that references to the past had been more focused on the distant past and not the recent past. I had referred to Sturn’s time away in exile, which leads in importance when it comes to his homecoming, but I had skipped over most of his recent traumatic events.

As the recent events (book two – The King’s Sacrifice) will have repercussions, these cannot be ignored, so the “fault” turned out to be not in those non-fitting segments of thread, but in my lack of setting up the background earlier, against which these thread segments would make sense.

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Missed yesterday, but moving forward anyhow.

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Sorry, everyone – Things are not quite right yet and I slept through much of yesterday (I don’t have my voice fully back, yet, either), although I am off the meds and breathing okay – That aside, I have started reading through what manuscript I have in order to pick up the threads and work out what direction I need to go in – so, I’m underway and finally moving forward.

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I don’t do green-messaging and I don’t do human-hatred.

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Science fiction often shows a gloomy future world, a miserable place of political oppression and the downfall of democracy and freedom – kind of like the present push to deindustrialize our world and put us back to hunter-gatherer existence, only without fire and not allowed to eat meat – Frankly, I’m sick of the human-hatred that goes on in the name of environmentalism, and I’m sick of the destruction done to our planet by people who hate people and who would rather dig up entire forests and ship it as woodchips across the world to burn than burn the black stuff that comes out of the ground, you know, the stuff that isn’t an ecosystem – I’m also tired of seeing science fiction used to promote the idea that the human animal is some kind of an abomination on the world – So let me be perfectly clear – I write science fiction about HEALTHY WORLDS and PEOPLE WITHOUT GUILT, I don’t deliver green messages and I don’t do human-hatred.

Yes, there is still a challenge my characters have to face in my books, a threat of typical galactic proportion, but then that’s rather expected in sci-fi, yet people are people and planets are lush and thick with wildlife, most of which are uninhabited – just like our world actually is, if only people would pull their heads out of the cities and realize that urbanization isn’t the only thing out there.

I’ve lived in raw nature. I spent five years in the subtropics of Australia on a wilderness block with no house, no water on tap, no sewage or electricity mains. And I mean I LIVED there. I didn’t have a job to escape to every day, my job was the land, getting water, organizing power and dealing with wildlife that tried to take over our camp at every opportunity. And no, I was not part of a commune, nor was I one of those eco-loonies who call themselves Green, or worse, a Watermelon (Green on the outside and Red inside). It was just Greg and I living a dream.

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Okay – A little bit hard.

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Moving and shuffling thread segments – yesterday I dug out what I needed to in eight segments totaling ten pages – so far so good – I did not shuffle and replace them, though, they can just sit out until ready and go into the appropriate place then.

What I really need to do now is read through what I have and see how I can close up any gaps left by Va’el shifting along a bit.

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First day back and Zzzzzzz… (But my mind is on Va’el).

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Yep, I confess, I slept through most of it – I showed willing, though, and started off at my desk waiting for inspiration to strike – well, not so much inspiration as energy, since thoroughly poisoning myself with food additives over the Christmas holidays, I’ve had zilch energy, but at least I’m back on my feet and I can cross the room without needing a rest for it – That was for those who haven’t been following recently, so, enough of the sick talk, let me tell you instead what I need to do today, manuscript-wise, without giving anything away.

There are a couple of events that play out through the plot of the book I am working on, and I recently reversed the order of their commencement. I also write in threads, usually weaving three at a time together so that readers follow a handful of perspectives at any one time. It is one of these threads that I need to unpick and rearrange.

The result will be a faster beginning and the sooner onset of the first “event”.

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Up and… kinda crawling… but at least I don’t have my slippers on back-to-front.

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Vast improvement – yesterday was the last day I got out of bed only to sit and recover from getting out of bed (yes it was that bad) I’m now playing it super-safe and will no doubt get healthier as a result – I’ve gone back a century or more on diet – Yep, that’s it, food-wise, I’m following my great-grandmother’s ways – if I have to chop it, wash it or peel it, it’s probably okay – all packets, all instant and all food additives are OUT, as are breads and other starches.

It was a massive blow-out on tolerance and I still don’t fully understand it. I identified the initial culprits, suffered for an entire week wheezing and hacking, then had one bowl of one-pan dinner (which didn’t have those additives) and that threw me back under the bus. I’ve been tiptoeing ever since, surviving on water, a single coffee, a piece of capsicum or cheese and decongestant. That’s it. Even the wine is gone.  😦

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