Inverarity (inverarity) wrote,

AQATSA: Author rambling and a sneak peek (at the cover)

rambly rambly rambly... yes I'm still reading books (I'm not even sure how many of the people who track my LJ now are reading it for my book reviews and how many are reading it for my fan fiction stuff) and Audible is running another $4.95 sale so I just downloaded a bunch more books I probably wouldn't read in print, but I am a bit behind in my reading. (I have a couple of books on my TBR list before I get to The Wise Man's Fear.)

Anyway, below the cut is meandering rambly author tl;dr and a book cover!

On writing teenagers

Teenagers are harder to write than younger children, because they're starting to have adult thoughts and feelings, but they're still children in a lot of ways. With teenagers, everything is ANGST! and DRAMA! and SRS BZNSS! × 10, which is realistic, but can be annoying to read. Compounding this for Alexandra, of course, is that she's not just acting like her personal issues are life and death -- some of her personal issues are life and death. But I am still not always sure if I correctly capture the maturity level of that age. For example, there is a particular point in this book where she pretty much flips out, followed by her embarking upon her latest Really Bad Idea. If she were a few years older, even she would know that this is a Really Bad Idea. But she's an angsty adolescent stew of resentment and stubbornness. It doesn't make her stupid, but it does seriously impair her judgment. Will it work? Will you believe "Yeah, a fourteen-year-old might do that"? Or will it come off as plot-induced stupidity?

I have always tried to write Alexandra as a smart girl who does reckless, unthinking things. I am not always sure how she comes across to other people, but I know that I do not always convey exactly the image I have of her to readers. This is, of course, true of every author. (Most of these authors probably think of their protagonists as smart, feisty, independent heroines.) I know when reading reviews and comments that most readers (at least, the ones who like Alexandra) have a picture of her that is generally as I see her, but I also know that some traits I think Alexandra has, others don't see, and sometimes they see her in a way that's completely different than how I do. For example, I'm not sure how many people realize how smart Alexandra is -- not in terms of common sense or wisdom, which she definitely lacks at times, but she has both those "very good instincts" that Rowling credited Harry with, and just plain book-smarts. She's a reader, and when she bothers to study, she learns just fine. Anna may be the bookworm, but Anna is not Hermione to Alexandra's Harry. (Anna is very smart, too, but Alexandra doesn't need her to solve intellectual problems for her.) Likewise, I've seen Alexandra accused of lacking any morals and not caring about her friends at all. Even in book one, I don't think that was true.

Of course, it's my fault, not the reader's fault, if my writing doesn't represent Alexandra the way I see her.


One of the things I like about contemporary science fiction and fantasy is when there is a strong sense of verisimilitude; the people, places, and events seem real, partly by the inclusion of actual people, places, and events. This can be overdone, such as when there's too much dropping of brand names. I am not always sure how much of the "real" world I want to insert into AQ. Rowling used a lot of allusions, but few actual names or places, other than London and King's Cross. I feel like putting too many recognizable names into the story might change the tone in a way I don't like.

I've mostly used substitutions more than real names. Chicago and San Francisco, of course, are real; Larkin Mills is not. It's obvious what football team David's father plays for, though I haven't actually named the team. (OTOH, I did refer to the Chicago Cubs by name in AQATTC.) I've been using a combination of real and made-up names as I patchily map out the Confederation.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted Alexandra's little adventure via plane/train/or automobile to have that verisimilitude, so someone won't say, "Hey, Alexandra's fourteen, they wouldn't let her hop onto an out-of-state bus!"

So once she gets out of Chicago, she will visit some places that are real and some that are not so real (though in many cases, the substitutions will be obvious.)

It's still full of SUUUUUUUCCK!

I will not go back and rewrite.
I will not go back and rewrite.
I will not go back and rewrite.
I will not go back and rewrite.
I will not go back and rewrite.
I will not go back and rewrite.

I've actually been more or less managing at least 1000 words per day lately. Current word count: 166,551, halfway through Chapter 27.

Shall we start a betting pool on the final word count? I think it's almost certain AQATSA will wind up being the longest AQ novel yet. (Sigh.)

I'm going to take a Wild-Ass Guess that it will wind up being in the neighborhood of 260,000 words, and I will finish my first draft in July. That's a WAG, not a promise!

No More Shitty Poser Art

Actually, I'll probably still do shitty Poser art. But I think I have found the artist to do my cover.

This is a rough layout of what the cover looks like in my mind. Obviously, this is just a crude cut-and-paste job in Photoshop. I am going to give this or something like it to the artist (along with much more detailed verbal specifications, of course) to use as a reference. Just as I may not always communicate exactly what is in my head in my writing, I have very specific images of scenes and characters in my head, and I don't have the artistic talent to depict them. I can only hope I have the ability to describe them well enough to an artist to come close to representing what's in my head.


Tags: alexandra quick, aqatsa

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