I’m still doing housekeeping–only thing I’m good for after working on Booklife, and will post a few things of possible interest before Victoria starts guest blogging on the first….
â€¢ To tell the story of a dysfunctional family, especially a brother and sister who try to survive in the world, who want to escape death.
â€¢ Love is selfless.
â€¢ Death is just a blip.
â€¢ Obsession can be noble.
â€¢ â€œFamilyâ€ can mean many different things.
â€¢ Sirin and Sybel may need to be more integral to the scenes/novel. This may only mean adding a scene or two. (Duncan can and should comment on Sybel, Sirin, etc. To flesh out Janiceâ€™s descriptions; if Duncanâ€™s descriptions are more definitive, Sirin indicates in his endnote that he removed Janiceâ€™s descriptionâ€”only rarely, though.)
â€¢ Bonmot must better permeate the novel, perhaps from near the beginning. Perhaps he is an expert on Zamilon?
â€¢ Need full physical descriptions of Sirin, Sybel, and Janice herself.
â€¢ Lack of scenes and using half-scene like People’s Republic of Antarctica may at times distract from reader interest. Layer in more scene and half-scene.
â€¢ The way in which Mary damaged Duncan must be clearâ€”if it is primarily personal, thatâ€™s fine, but readers will expect it to also refute his booksâ€”there must be quotes repudiating. Use Duncanâ€™s journal entries, plus Maryâ€™s journal. (â€œAt base, it was very simple: Mary refused to believe the evidence of her eyes. All the restâ€”all the hundreds of thousands of words she wroteâ€”just formed a more complete barrier against that fact.â€)
â€¢ The Early History should be in the Appendix? Or just the inscription?
â€¢ Need to set out the parameters of Ambergris early onâ€”street names, sections, etc., in that first part. There’s got to be a first “reveal” of the city.
â€¢ More effectively use Duncanâ€™s parentheticals to flesh out underdeveloped sections (or eliminate). Sirin should say â€œDuncan appears to have been reluctant to edit his sisterâ€™s words, although in perhaps half a dozen instances he has done so.â€ Give examples?
â€¢ Decide if Edward should reappear later in the story. (Was Edward Duncanâ€™s spy?)
â€¢ More explanation for why the Kalif might try to interveneâ€”prior history.
â€¢ We never see any more of the city than described in previous Ambergris stories.
â€¢ Describe the party in the abandoned churchâ€”this is the party that screws with her head, where she realizes how meaningless it is. She talks to Sybel at the very least at that party. Plus whatever man sheâ€™s sleeping with at the time. A conversation between the three of them. A visceral experience. â€œIt meant nothing. None of it meant anything at all. Nothing.â€
â€¢ A lot more about Ambergris up front. â€œAmbergris was a mystery to us. A city founded by a whaler despot, a long line of Cappans.â€
â€¢ What is Janiceâ€™s writing background?
â€¢ Differences in Mary when met at the bottom of the stairs as opposed to when she was younger (i.e., Mary has become more like Janice).
â€¢ Ghost in phrases from the Jewish prayer book once Janice has become more religious.
â€¢ Itâ€™s the chronology of the events; put the events down in different order, with pros and cons mentioned.
â€¢ Is there still an underlying sweetness to Janice?
â€¢ What is Sirinâ€™s role later on? Just her editor? Or her lover, too?
â€¢ Is Janice also pissed about Mary being with Sirin?
â€¢ â€œNo one making it outâ€ should be a refrain throughout the novel.
â€¢ Janice broods over Bonmotâ€™s death.
â€¢ Missing scenesâ€”Sirin with Sabon, seen by Janice; more on war?
â€¢ Need a better idea upfront of who Tonsure wasâ€”perhaps that was their fatherâ€™s primary research topic?
â€¢ Do they see Sirin during the war?
â€¢ Excerpt Mary from Early History.