Loch Ness Ahoy!

Had a couple of good writing days these past few days (and I’m hoping like hell I don’t jinx myself by saying that). After a somewhat slow start (the muse struggled a little to get into the flow of the story again), the Loch Ness monster book is beginning to chug along quite nicely. Once again, the muse took it off in an unexpected direction, and the hero has proven a little more willing to cross the line than I thought he would be, but that’s all good for the story. Besides, discovering new and unexpected stuff about your characters and plot is all part of the fun of writing. I’m now thinking that maybe–just maybe–this might need two books to get through the entire plot (I don’t plot in the traditional sense–I just have a vague trail of ideas sorta linking together and burbling away inside my brain somewhere), but I won’t be sure until I get further into the book. Right now, I’ve actually finished the third chapter (after writing 12 pages in two days, which I’m extremely happy with), and I’m going to review it then choof it off to Miriam for an opinion. Depending on what she says, I’ll either work on this full time, and do the fifth Riley book when the muse is bored, or swap them around and just do the Loch Ness book when the muse is bored. Either way, I’d like to eventually finish it–it has a good ‘feel’ to it :)

Dear Texast...

The above chap (at least, I’m presuming it a chap. If it’s a gal, I apologise) left a comment in my ‘off topic, but writing related’ blog defending the rights of translaters to get as much money as authors. And he explained why he thought this was reasonable. I was going to reply in the comments section, but thought, what the heck, I’ll post it here, because I feel strongly enough about it to do so.

so, here goes:

Dear Texast,

If writing was just about sitting there, blithly typing 60 words a minute, 3600 words a day, then every man, woman and their dog who thinks they have a novel in them would probably be published right now (btw, I don’t know many authors who type at that speed. I certainly don’t.)

Translating is a skill, yes, and it’s certainly one that not everyone can do. Or do well. There’s some mighty bad translations out there that prove that. But translation is about translating words and concepts: writing is about ideas, structure, and the craft of words–and putting them all to make a decent, readable book. One is interpretation, the other is creation. There’s no comparison between the two.

In the words of Anna Jacobs, “a translator doesn’t invent the story, he doesn’t spend hours–days, weeks–agonising over characterization and markets, he doesn’t spend months trying to sell it, he doesn’t do the PR, he doesn’t respond to readers, he doesn’t give talks, he doesn’t do the long hours of research, he doesn’t read other books in the genre to make sure of not repeating a story line. Nor does he go for months and months without a pay check coming in to write the story. ‘

And for my part, I’d just like to add that translators also don’t have to wait the two years it usually takes for author royalties to start reaching the author.

Translators get paid by publishers to perform a task–translate the book. We’re talking about a book that has been written, published and sold elsewhere. The translator had no involvement in the creation process, the selling processes, or the production process. Why then, should they be entitled to a percentage of the royalties–at the cost of the people who created it and produced it? I know some authors who get as little as 2% for translation rights. Translaters want to get paid to do their job and get royalties on top of that as well? For what? Transforming words from one language to another? How does that entitle them to part of the ‘creation’ fee? They’re translating–interpreting what is already written. They are not starting from scratch.

As for this–“Without the damn translator, the authors wouldn’t have their words translated in the first place so they could tap into other markets, and then where would they be?”

truth is, they’d probably not be a whole lot worse off. As I mentioned earlier, translated books are generally sold elsewhere first, and make the bulk of their money in their main markets.

Translations, however, can be taken off shore and done. And there’s already several German companies considering doing just that. Authors may lose out on German sales over this–but translators stand to lose a whole lot more–like their job–if the market goes off shore thanks to this money grab. Sorry, I’m all for skilled workers being well paid to do their job–but this goes beyond that. This is a grab for rights to which they have no right.

ding dong, the witch is dead

and the novel is FINISHED!!!!!

yay!!!!

(picture me running around in circles, waving my arms crazily and screaming at the top of my lungs, and you’ve pretty much got the right picture. Though if you add the piddler running around behind me, yipping at my heels, it’d probably be more accurate :D )

Yes, the muse decided to play the game yesterday, and we finished the final ten pages. It didn’t exactly end how I thought it would end–and I actually had tears in my eyes when I wrote some of it (tho that might just be hormones rather than good writing ;)–but it’s finished, and I can now let it sit for a while, while the muse moves on.

Of course, the way I finished it now means I’m going to have to rework the start I had for book five, but that’s not really a major hassle. Most of it will still work, I just need to work in Riley’s ‘break’ at the beginning of it. Yep, that’s a spoiler, and no, I ain’t going to explain it :D

So, I can now move on to writing my Loch Ness book. I’m actually excited about writing this one–so much so that I dreamed about the thing last night (always a sign the muse is feeling good about something.) Anyway, I’m planning to finish the third chapter, and choof it off to Miriam (agent extraordinaire) for an opinion. As much as I want to write this one, I’m not sure whether I should, or whether I’m simply better off concentrating on my Riley books. After all, they have sold, and Bantam may want more, and I’ve learned the hard way it’s better to be several books ahead. The last thing I need is a repeat of the problems I had with Penumbra.

one down, one to go

the muse got its collective act together yesterday (very reluctantly, I might add), and not only did we complete our allotted ten pages, but we finished the fight scene between Gautier and Riley. I don’t think I’ve ever written a tougher scene, even though it was just a fight scene. I mean, geez, I’ve written a thousand of them over the years, so it really shouldn’t have been a problem. But no, I was all worried about doing it justice, and that just stopped the words from flowing like they usually did. I’m actually still not sure that I did do the scene justice, but at least I now have words down on page. As the old saying goes, words are fixable. A blank page is not :)

One thing I am happy about is the way the scene ended. I think it was appropriate, considering what has gone on during the book and the warnings Gautier was given. And any more than that I can’t say, because I’ll be stepping into spoiler territory–and this book isn’t even on the publishing horizon yet! :D

Anyway, I’ve hit 402 pages completed, and I’m now on the final scene. This is the wrap-up scene, but it’s also a scene where Riley makes some tough decisions–decisions that’ll affect her emotional future. And, hopefully, tie neatly in with my plans for the fifth book. :)

books, movies, and..oh..writing

well, my writing has fallen somewhat into a hole again. I tell you, getting up at four in the morning to take the piddler outside is not making my muse a happy gal. I wrote two pages on Thurday, a whole eight on Friday and, because I was feeling guilty, decided I’d better write on the weekend (my ‘official’ days off). But I didn’t write anything yesterday. So, I’ve crawled up to 392 pages completed, and while I’ve been slack, at least I’m still on target for finishing this book at the end of the week. I think my biggest problem (aside from the piddler piddling everywhere) is the fact that the scene I still have to write is the big fight scene between Gautier and Riley. As I mentioned before, I’ve been working up to this for three books, so it needs to be good. Part of me is worried that I just won’t be able to do it justice. Of course, not getting words down on the page is probably worse, because I can’t fix something that is not there. Hopefully, I’ll work through my stage fright sometime today, and get the damn thing written.

Onto something more exciting–my hardcovers arrived in the mail today! They look absolutely smashing. Just love the cover, love the feel of them, love the smell of them…what, you don’t sniff new books? You don’t know what you’re missing out on! :D

In movie news, Pete and I trundled off to see King Kong yesterday (yes, yes, it’s one of the reasons I didn’t write :) How good was that monkey? Man, those eyes were just incrediable You could just see all sorts of emotion and life in the monkeys eyes, and you (well, I ) totally believed them. Now, Jack Black was another matter. I like JB as an actor, but he just seemed off in this one. More cartoonish than believable. Totally didn’t have a problem with the length of the movie, though I will say it’s not a movie I’ll watch over and over again. (unlike LOTR). Oh, and for those who know my penchant for crying at movies….it was a three tissue deal. Yep, it’s a bad one.

Oh, and channel 10 here in Oz is finally showing the TV series Supernatural. I’m loving the look of this already. It’s seems to be a mix of x-files and buffy (both shows I adored) and though it’s aimed primarily at the teenage market, there’s enough creepiness and humour to satisfy most adults. (well, this adult loved it. Interestingly, even Pete enjoyed it, and he’s not one to watch those sort of shows, generally). And for those who like a little bit of eye candy with their scary viewing, can I just say that the older brother–Dean–is particularily fine :D If you didn’t catch this last night, Ten are reshowing the first episode on Wednesday night. Catch it if you missed it, because while the first one is good, word is that it gets a whole lot better over the coming weeks.