I’m afraid she did exactly what I feared. Much to my grief, the good lady editor said my book was unworthy. And she begged me not to take steps toward self-publishing, like finding someone to design a cover for it.
‘It’s far too long. The plot is all over the place. Most of the action happens off stage. It doesn’t resonate with a young adult readership. And it’s too preachy.’
I was devastated.
One point she made, which others have also mentioned, was that Cerbonius‘s archaic speech didn’t work. I had given him that antiquated argot because I wanted him to come over as old and provincial. But if it didn’t work, it needed to be changed, I told myself. It needed to be translated from English into English. Continue reading “Translating English into English”
I’ve come to a juicy episode, part of chapter 6. And the strange thing is that I feel deep emotion for the character I’m creating. The chapter introduces a runaway slave, whom Silvanus finds in the woods. Listen to the story and let me know what you think…
“Aren’t you afraid of Jupiter and Mars and all the others? Do you pray to that god of yours?”
“Well, yes, but I don’t really know much about him.” I notice tears forming in his eyes and his voice begins to tremble. “My Mother used to talk a lot about him. Before they… killed her.” Continue reading “Pillage and Rape”
Slowly – ever so slowly – we trudge on up the steep hillside, from terrace to dilapidated terrace, all of us heavily laden, dripping with sweat. Crispus is no problem; he’s a follower. But it seems Hercules doesn’t like going just with me, without Dad to lead him. Perhaps he’s right to object. Why did Dad send me anyway? It’s a man’s job. And me all alone! It’s not fair of him, giving me such a difficult task at my age. Usually, we’ve been away for about two weeks; can I cope that long alone? What if something goes wrong? I might break a leg. Or get lost. Or robbed. Why didn’t I take Caesar along to protect us? And now Hercules is being awkward. “Come on, keep going! You had a drink five minutes ago.” I think he hates me. But sometimes I think nobody really loves me.
On reading through a first draft of chapter 3 of Aquila, a friend commented: “Style seems to be a mixture of the detail of Umberto Eco and the harmless teenage adventures of Enid Blyton…” Is that a compliment?