Thursday, June 09, 2011

Revisions and Life

Now I'm freezing. WTF, Minnesota! Is this the welcome home I get?

Actually, it's perfect. Thank you. I'm enough of a Minnesotan that I'd much rather have cold than hot.

I'm starting _official_ revisions for ALMOST EVERYTHING (aka Ana #3) today. Official in this context means in accordance with the editorial letter sent by Penguin. Along with a letter I get an electronic copy of my manuscript with my editor's comments sprinkled throughout. This is a nice chance from the editorial letters back "in the day" when I got an eleven (or longer) page email with things like, "on page 127, in the sentence that begins 'blah, blah...' please add more information about your economic system" or whatever. I like the new system because there's a lot less hunting and pecking AND my editor will spontaneously also add a comment that says, "Ooh, love this!" or "Great line!" which I almost never saw before because of the effort it took to single those out.

This time I'm struggling a bit because a point I wanted to make about marriage isn't working for my editor. I had written a betrothal between two guy vampires that ends in a very cold, politically arranged marriage. This isn't a gay marriage, because these guys barely know each other. Love isn't a factor, as, I had wanted it pointed out, it rarely was before the modern era. The marriage in my novel was depicted very much as an exchange of property between two kings. Or rather, more accurately, the offer of a military captain's "hand in marriage" in exchange for a peace treaty. The sort of thing that, you know, happened all the time in the past (and probably still happens all around the world today), except with a gender blindness in this case because there's no need for heirs as the two parties are immortal vampires.

I think the problem is that this is a very ALIEN concept to modern readers. It also is really, really hard for romantic readers to even imagine the hero (who has been a love interest for our heroine) agreeing to a loveless union of any sort, even though I tried throughout the manuscript to hammer on his overactive sense of duty and loyal commitment to his king and kingdom.

So I may end up calling their arrangement something other than marriage. Of course, this is going to retrospectively shed some interesting light on the situation Ana thought she was in with the guy _she_ was previously betrothed to (since a futher entanglement is, of course, that this is book #3 and I can hardly go back and search and replace the word "betrothed" in books that have already come out.) It may be kind of interesting to write that scene where she discovers that "betrothal" means something else entirely to vampires and it wasn't nearly as romantic as she thought. Although, she became betrothed under unusual circumstances and I could probably write in a retrofit to explain why her's *is* that romantic and why this other one is not.

It's messy to say the least, and it kind of bums me out because I kind of enjoyed the simplicity of history -- that is to say, I liked the challenge I posed to modern readers having to deal with this cold, ugly marriage that is at the root of what marriage STILL is -- exchange of property and contractual obligations.

Ah well. That was probably too complicated for a teen novel anyway. (WINKING! Yes, I read the WSJ article and I totally agree with Jackie Kessler in this matter.)

Of course, it may just be that I didn't make my point clear enough, which is what my editor is LIKELY complaining about more than anything.

In a few minutes, I need to save my progress and get my haircut. It's gotten incredibly shaggy.