Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gainful Employment

Hi, team. I haven't posted in nearly ten days because, if ya please, I've gotten a job. Of course, knowing me, you could guess that it's not an ordinary job.

It fell out thusly: I was singing for the monthly Phoenix-area filksing at Mark Horning's place, and one of the guests turned out to be Christina Paige, a filker buddy who's now working for a local publishing company. When I mentioned my tale of job-hunting to her, she offered me something interesting; her publishing company, Fireship Press, specializes in nautical fiction and non-fiction, and was planning to re-issue an old classic novel called "Bride of Glory", the story of Emma Hamilton, notorious mistress of Lord Nelson. The publishing company wanted a sequel, but the author was long dead. So, how would I like to write that sequel?

What, a writing-on-demand job, me? Heheheheheh. When the dust had settled, I had a promise of an advance before I'd written even a word. I also had a copy of the original novel sent to my document files, the advance, the promise of help with the historical research and a few other perks (including a fifth of excellent plum wine). So, it's hi-ho, hi-ho, off to work I go.

I've spent the last week and more plowing my way through "Bride of Glory", and it's been heavy going. The plot is rambling, as the lady's life was, the historical detail is abundant and fascinating, and the writing is lamentably clunky. I don't have to worry about writing better than this author; I could do that in my sleep. I'm a little better than halfway through the book now, and hope to have it finished by the end of next week. The plot will be easy enough: just following Emma Hamilton's actual life story, as written up on Wikipedia. The hard part will be filling in all the fascinating little minutiae of early 19th century history -- and Christina has offered to do the research on that. There's nothing to it but to do it. It's simply taking time and labor, like all jobs.

I could certainly do worse. Come to think of it, I have done worse; I used to work for Welfare, and after a few months of that (ask me sometime, or listen to my song "The Paper Sea") I would gladly have taken a job as a garbage-hauler. A commissioned-writing job is a snap after that.

So, patience. I promise, I'll post here every chance I get; just don't be surprised if I'm a little slower at it than usual. Oh, and if anyone's interested, Fireship Press does indeed have a website. Anyone who's interested in naval history, or fiction thereabout, could do a lot worse than look there. Enjoy!

--Leslie <;)))>< )O(


Tucci said...

Though I've been a reader and re-reader of the Hornblower stories, I don't know enough about the age of fighting sail to do any kind of writing in that genre.

I can speak to the history, strategy, and tactics of military operations in that era, and to some extent the logistics, but the details necessary to secure verisimilitude in a work of fiction I simply do not got. Certainly not enough to satisfy a reader who does understand sailing vessels in the centuries before we started maundering about Flettner rotors.

Is this work you're extending to be classifiable as a "bodice-ripper," and are you free to introduce subsidiary characters and sub-plots that might carry your readers into the Mediterranean countryside here and there?

Aya Katz said...

Congratulations! Nice work if you can get it. ;->

Leslie Fish said...

Hi, Tuc! I suspect there'll be more accounts of sea-battles (Emma's story continues long after Nelson's death) seen/heard of at a distance, since the story will focus on Emma. Still, I just may call on you for help.

Yes, basically this is a historical bodice-ripper, but I have to stick very close to the known facts. Of course, where the facts aren't known, I'm free to invent. *Snicker*

Hi, Aya! Yes, there are write-for-hire jobs findable on the 'net, but this is far and away the best offer I've seen. I'm also, still, trying to get agents interested in my already-written fantasy-romance. Cross fingers!

Also, have you noticed that the YouTube website is so heavy with traffic that it's often impossible to get anything to download from there? It seems that most of the traffic is on the political videos -- particularly the complaints about Obama's policies and the accounts of the Tea Party. Wheee! The Chinese Curse has descended; we're living in interesting times.

More later. Best,

--Leslie <;)))>< )O(

Alicia said...

Totally didn't realize that 'The Paper Sea' was based on your experience working for the Welfare office.. I should've though, bureaucracy is always a nightmare no matter which side of the desk you're on.