Friday, December 9, 2011

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

The current background of this blog, courtesy of The Cutest Blog on the Block, is themed after a partridge in a pear tree. The Twelve Days of Christmas is the theme to my second book, Courtly Scandals. I spent quite a bit of time researching the history of the song and how the usage and meanings changed over the years. Courtly Scandals is set over the twelve days of Christmas in 1572-73 at Whitehall Palace in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

My area of focus for my History BA in college was the Elizabethan Renaissance and the Reformation. After college I continued academic reading for personal enjoyment. I applied this information during my participation in Renaissance faire (I treated it as a living history experience - it's the teacher in me). It is unfortunate that I can no longer cite my sources at the drop of the hat. They all blur. But in all, my knowledge of the social history of the era is better than your average bear's.

In my writing, I make adaptations in order to make the history relatable. Little things. What we spell 'partridge' used to be spelled 'parteridge.' I thought that was a reasonable sacrifice of historical accuracy in order not to annoy the reader, but other than very minor details my history is solid. My first manuscript was requested by an editor at Avon who asked me to make changes and resubmit. I had written all the dialogue in a BBC version of old English (thee, thou, hadst, etc... reasonably understandable to the modern ear). She said it hurt the flow and made it difficult to relate to the character. I changed it - I wasn't sacrificing history, I was choosing my writing style. And she was right. "Say you want me" is much sexier than "Sayest thou doest want me."

I write this because I got (dun dun dun!) another rejection. As rejections go, this was great. It was a thoughtful review that showed me the editor had actually read my ms. She had some input on the story inconsistencies which I will address. The biggest irk, aside from being rejected, is that she questioned my history. She also said the speech read too modern. MAN! There is no winning!

Anyway, it's back to the starting block. I need to finish up Courtly Abandon then rework my query for Courtly Scandals. I will take a break from history for a bit and write my contemporary paranormal, I think, after this. My passion is the historical, but maybe it's time that I start listening to the rejections that have told me that the Elizabethan era is more suited to historical fiction than historical romance.

3 comments:

Roland D. Yeomans said...

A personalized rejection says that the editor or agent sees promise in you and wants to be kept on your list. In a bitter way, good news.

I just dropped by to say thanks for having always been my friend in my blog days, Roland

Erin Kane Spock said...

I had a blogging burn out a while back. It's been hard to get back in the swing of it. Last time I visited your site I hardly recognized it (eyes aside). I have a lot of catching up to do.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I've missed you. And it is easy to have blog burn-out. Sometimes it seems that we novice authors are pushing a stalled car uphill, doesn't it? Roland

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