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Friday, July 25, 2008


Get your editing hats on!

Okay, here's the thing. I'm currently editing my second book, and I'd like to ask you all to help.

The book has a fantastical premise, and what I've learned is that, if you make one of those up, people tend to start joining in. They say, 'But what if this? What about when that happens?' And, the quirks of people's brains being an almost limitless resource and me being only one person, chances are there's a limit to how many of these questions I'll anticipate. Obviously, the more I anticipate now, the better, because by the time the book's printed and on the shelves, and somebody comes along and says, 'But hang on, what about such-and-such?', it's too late to do anything about it.

So, I'm going to tell you the premise of the book, and I want you to quibble with it. Ask me what happens under any circumstances. Point out inconsistencies. Spot potential problems. Weigh in. Get creative. Pick nits. There are no quibbles too stupid, no questions too small. Let's play.

I'll then review all your points as I'm going through the redraft, and hopefully turn out a book at the other end that answers all these questions, or at least, all the ones I can reasonably address.


Here are the ground rules, including a few legal disclaimers, as I'm sure most of you are normal nice people but you never know when the odd unreasonable bod is going to crop up.

1. I'm not gonna answer the questions on the website; if you want to know the answers, you'll have to buy the book.

2. I may not address everything; if it seems like the disruption to the book outweighs the benefits of answering the benefits of answering a question, I may regretfully have to ignore it. Don't take this personally.

3. I'll deal with your questions as I see fit; if you don't like my solutions, sorry, but that's my call.

4. The book remains entirely my copyright and intellectual property. If you make a suggestion and I am inspired by it or include it any way, that in no way entitles you to any right/s in the book, any right to control what's done with your suggestion, or any money made by me or my publishers or licensees in relation to the book at any point.

5. The copyright in the book remains mine. If the questions get you thinking and you feel the urge to write something of your own inspired by this, knock yourself out, but there's a difference between influence and plagiarism, and the latter is not okay.

6. By posting on this site, you irrevocably agree to these above conditions.

(Hopefully none of this really needs saying, but just in case anyone feels litigious later, it's best to clarify everything now.)


So, having got that out of the way, here's the premise:

In the ninth century, the deepsmen invaded the canals of Venice and laid siege to the city. Out of the water walked Angelica, half-landsman, half-deepsman, a two-tailed woman capable of walking on the land and swimming in the sea, and speaking the languages of both peoples. Angelica brokered a peace and forged an alliance between the landsmen and the deepsmen, and made Venice so strong that, centuries later, any nation with a sea border and a navy still needs for its ruler one of Angelica's descendants: a hybrid king, able to communicate both with the people of the sea and the land. Without them, no nation can protect its navy, and becomes too vulnerable to invasion by sea.

The penalties for any landsman who breeds with a deepswoman are severe, and any 'bastard' child found - any hybrid not directly descended from the princes - is destroyed by the state. Having a king's body but not a king's family, bastards pose too strong a threat to the succession: bastards in the past have raised armies and usurped kings. But now the royal house of England is failing, weakened desperately by inbreeding, and when a bastard boy is abandoned on an English shore and taken in by landsman, a secret conflict begins...

So, what are the problems with that premise? Come one, hit me.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Gardening Mikalogue

Mika: Oh noes! End of the world as we know it! Has to climb tree!

Kit: Mika, sweetie, what's the matter?

Mika: Has to run across garden! Wait, maybe it be better up tree!

Kit: Mika, are you bothered by us digging up the garden?

Mika: Earth moves! Kit digs. Hey, diggin, there be a thought. Mika will dig hole and have a pee.

Kit: You know, sweetie, if you could just dig consistently, you could have that big bush up that's giving me such a backache.

Mika: Oh, a spade! What to do? Maybe run in this direction!

Kit: Honey, it's okay, you know, we're just relandscaping the garden. You kept falling into the pond and getting all stinky. Look, there's a picture of you above. We had to wash you in the sink, remember?

Mika: Mika is kind and forgiving. Had agreed not to mention that disagreeable incident.

Kit: Well, that's very lovely of you, darling.

Mika: Mika is kind and lovin. Oh look, a jumpin frog thing! Enjoy your last moments, froggie, for nemesis sneaks up upon you ... Hey, it jumped! Cool! Mika will catch and kill cool toy.

Kit: Oh sweetie, don't do that. We need to rehome them in the park. Frogs are suffering in urban environments, you know.

Mika: Cool toys not suffer. Is for playin. Is jump for Mika! Hey, Kit put Mika down!

Kit: I've got to keep you away from the frogs, baby.

Mika: You is making Mika suffer!

Kit: I don't mean to, baby. But I've got a sore back and I can't keep crouching over you.

Mika: Gardenin is hard on everyone. Why not stop and come pet Mika instead? Look, rolls on stack of slabs, lookin all pretty...

Kit: You know, sweetie, you sometimes have a point.


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