Clearing out the attics

I can’t edit these books any more.

That feels really weird, because since about 2007 when the first draft was finished, they’ve been edited a lot. The scene with Innes and Tzenni at the bath house was written very late, replacing a scene which really wasn’t working at all involving Majed: there used to be a prologue featuring Lucastine, Catha and the Swarm, which I ditched because I didn’t want people identifying with Lucastine and then becoming very reasonably irate when in the next chapter she was dead: and for some time I stuck to the idea that Kjarten and Sorszenna should have a romantic subplot, which foundered on them being Kjarten and Sorszenna.

But now they’re out there and I can’t edit them any more, and whilst that feels deeply weird, it also feels like I’ve cleared a lot of lumber out of the rooms in my head and can now see my way clear to the window and get the door open without knocking a pile of books over.

Talking of Sorszenna, I always cringe a bit when an author says firmly that such-and-such a character is played by such-and-such an actor, because quite often it’s an actor I would never have thought of or actively dislike. So I’m not going to do any kind of definitive ‘this is who I would cast as X’ list, though you’re welcome to do as you like in the comments. I did borrow Sorszenna’s hair, though, with permission, from a very glamorous and charming friend of mine, who is built a bit like Sorszenna but is nothing like her in character. 🙂

6 thoughts on “Clearing out the attics

    1. Yes, and it made it a lot clearer what the Swarm was. I might put a ‘missing scenes’ post up at some point – there was a bit with Ligeia arguing with Mukhtar Prime, too, that I cut because it wasn’t actually advancing the story.

  1. I’d be interested to read the missing prologue but I can see why you took it out – I still rant about the fact that Stephen Hunt introduces the head of the Court of the Air in one scene in the so-named book and then she never appears again despite there now being 3 books in the series! At least Lucastine features indirectly though.

    Also, I am almost finished THW (it is fab BTW) and The Boy has now finished TMM and also thoroughly enjoyed it. I shall prod him into writing a review on Lulu for you.

    1. I think I remember seeing a review of The Court Of The Air a while back and thinking that it sounded a bit like the Joan Aiken counterfactual books, which I love. Would you recommend it?

      Lucastine had a lot of good qualities, but I think she woke up one morning when Catha was about eighteen and realised that she had a choice of (a) leaving the Spire in the hands of the Order of the Neither, (b) leaving it to whoever grabbed the reins of power while Tzenni was busy doing something else, or (c) trusting that Catha wouldn’t be assassinated the moment Lucastine was out of the picture. And went for option (d).

      1. The Court of the Air is mad but enjoyably so, IMHO, but it is more a setting book than a character one so I’m not sure if you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. The world building is a crazy mish-mash of originial and twisted (mostly an utterly fantastical version of English civil war era) history, with mutants and steam punk robots thrown in for good measure. And it does read rather like he had 300 ideas and had to pack them all into one book incase he never got another published, leaving the characterisation a bit lacking in comparison with the setting and plot. The later two books are less frantic and better on the character-front I think, but they are quite strongly influenced by 500 leagues under the sea and War of the Worlds, respectively, so they may possibly set off the same alarm bells as Jasper Fforde does for you, although his characters are nowhere near as cardboard as Thursday Next, even in the first book.
        So, a cautious recommendation 😉

        Put like that, I’m not sure I can fault Lucastin’s logic! Also, I finished THW last night – fab, shall go and review it for you now!

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