Amanda Cherry: Five Things I Learned Writing The Dragon Stone Conspiracy

Tell your story. Change the world.

When the Fäe go to war with a Nazi cult, one female will protect humanitys future.

As World War II raves, accidental never-ceasing Pepper Elizabeth Jones is on the run from government representatives on both sides of the Atlantic. Concealed in neutral Ireland, she is summoned to fulfill with a strange general, The Righ, who tasks her to conserve magic itself from the Nazis. Now, she should race versus the clock to stop an evil routine and avoid the Nazis from getting a world-shattering supernatural power.

This book is part of the Strowlers Shared Cinematic Universe, a collaborative international story that anyone can join.

PREPCRASTINATION IS POWERFUL

My first book was a modern dream set in an imaginary city. Making things up is, as it turns out, one of the chief skills involved in being a writer. And, I came to discover, I am really quite great at making things up.

Making things up is so satisfying. And simple! And amazing!

And did I discuss easy?

And as though that wasnt a great adequate line to be strolling, I found pretty early on in my composing procedure that I had bought myself a ticket on the evolution-of-language-train.

In getting RITES & & DESIRES revised and all set for primetime I learned everything about my dependency to “that”– which is a thing I continue to work on. However while resolving modifications on THE DRAGON STONE CONSPIRACY I discovered that isnt my only word issue.

I wished to get * so * defensive. I wanted to yell and shout and stomp my foot and discuss in the biggest of information not just that the individual was wrong however also how much and how come. Nevertheless, authors throwing temper tantrums in the basic instructions of their editors (specifically when those editors werent the source of the upseting comments) is normally discredited.

There we stood: a character who, without malice, would not have understood much better and an author who does know better however isnt sure how to go about making this operate in a manner in which neither pulls the reader out of the world of the story nor puts a slur in my book.

I am a history geek, and I desired a precise book! I wanted all google-able real-world things to be as real as genuine can be. This was both for my own edification and also to keep the vultures of popular review platforms from screaming awful things in my general direction.

Among the important things I gained from my very first book was how dealing with an editor occurs– the procedures and power balance and all that jazz. For me, a huge part of learning to work with an editor was learning when to accept their suggestion and when to shake my head and state STET. For those of y all not familiar with the term (as I was just one book ago), thats a word authors use when we choose not to accept the editors variation of something and rather want to leave the words the method we had them in the first place.

***.

And this, my good friends, was 100% a job for history-nerdery. Putting those old fanfic muscles to good usage, I dove deep into Things I Learned in College and found simply the best historic moment to make use of for my functions (insert wicked laugh here). I got rid of Himmler and I did it with a real-world factor. Go me.

There is at least as much NOPE in the 1940s as there is terrific- and finding out which parts of 1943 to keep and which to toss was an experience I wasnt mindful I was signing up for. I desired to stimulate the age with enough delight to keep the reader happy to be there, but also with adequate dread to remind y all that the stakes are serious.

The desire to make the historic truth as accurate as possible led me down such research study bunny holes as maps of the pre-WWII Berlin subway (which I discovered!) & & the cost of bus fare from Donegal to Dublin in 1943 (which I did not find). There were days I spent a lot time trying to figure out what vehicle to place on a roadway, how far X was from Y, or whether there would have been streetlights someplace that I hardly got any words on the page at all.

You understand how, when youre writing a fanfic and you require to shoehorn this really extreme discussion in between your favorite pair into the cut in between scenes in the film? It resembled that, just with Nazis.

Those individuals are called Editors and in my case they do the extremely brave thing of turning my long rambles of storytelling into something people are prepared to buy and check out. Its neat!

Learning to parcel out the more peculiar words in my vocabulary has actually been an useful tool as far as making my work more friendly, but I still like my strange darlings and will not be offering them up entirely whenever quickly.

When you compose a book is that youre not in fact done writing it when you believe youre done writing it, one of the things that occurs. Other individuals get to tell you features of what you composed and how you composed it and after that you have to compose more things in your book (or take some things out of your book– ugh.) based on what those other individuals state.

Yes, I needed to do the research study, however I also had to do the writing. Since even the best-researched books patently refuse to write themselves.

Fedoras. Triumph rolls. Benny Goodman. Yes. Yes. Yes. Provide me the music and the dancing and the clothing and slang words like “Murgatroyd,” and Casablanca on the marquee at the Bijou. All of it.

Yeah, no.

Ok. Not all of it. Because things were taking place worldwide of my book that are better left in the past.

Amanda Cherry is an author/actor who still cant think individuals will pay her to compose books. In her spare time, Amanda volunteers as an announcer and referee for Flat Track Roller Derby.

If youre the kind of reader who likes to Google what else was happening on the very specific dates offered for the events of a piece of historical fiction, I see you, and you will not be mad about this one.

With THE DRAGON STONE CONSPIRACY, there were far more fingers in the pie than there were with RITES & & DESIRES (a thing to be expected with a bigger IP, no worries) and some of those fingers were over-stretchy and truly long. And one of them simply … didnt like the way I compose. Like … not at all.

In order to make this work, I needed to ground the experience in real historic time and location.

So, theres research, and then theres reality, and then theres point of view. And when discussing history, specifically the ugly parts, stabilizing those things can be um … well … tough.

Unless you do not care about precision (but, then, why are you writing historical urban dream when you might rather be composing just-regular-fantasy and saving yourself a lot of problem: see above re: making things up).

WHERE ITS BETTER NOT TO BE ACCURATE.

Excellent times!

WORD RATIONING.

It is not simple. It is, rather truthfully, the opposite of easy. Unless you do not care about accuracy (however, then, why are you writing historic city dream when you could rather be composing just-regular-fantasy and conserving yourself a lot of difficulty: see above re: making things up).

I compose books, and often other things (like guest blog posts) as my job. All of these things, books and otherwise, are comprised of words. Words are the tools of my trade the like wrenches and hammers are the tools of a mechanics trade. And I love words– I always have.

Too much of a commonplace word is something. But several instances of a beloved-but-uncommon word suffices to be disruptive. So Im told.

Starting with time.

Amanda Cherry: Website.

I have a specific affinity for oddball words (see above re: snollygoster) and I wouldnt be myself if I didnt utilize my preferred words in my writing. Words are good, and we ought to utilize them!

The Dragon Stone Conspiracy: Amazon|Bookshop.

AND WHERE HISTORY IS HELPFUL.

Dangit.

When I was in 2nd grade, we were doing a phonics work out where we were each appointed a letter of the alphabet and charged with going to the chalkboard (yes, Im showing my age here, however whatever) and making a note of a word beginning with our letter. I got the letter “T”. I then proceeded to that chalk board and proudly wrote “totalitarianism” for my whole class to read.

I compose books, and in some cases other things (like visitor blog posts) as my job. When I was in 2nd grade, we were doing a phonics work out where we were each designated a letter of the alphabet and tasked with going to the chalkboard (yes, Im showing my age here, but whatever) and writing down a word beginning with our letter.

Sometimes history provides you just what you require– you just have to trouble to go and look for it.

There become part of the past the majority of us discover sentimental and wonderful. Just look around at the Rockabilly motion and youll see what Im discussing.

These deep dives into time and location are a few of the very best procrastination techniques I have ever stumbled upon. I suggest: massive looking into is a super-easy way to avoid having to do any real writing while still feeling all, “Whee! Look at me! I am Very Much on job!”. Y all: ITS A TRAP.

My instructor called my parents.

HOW TO USE “STET” WHEN I MEAN “STFU”.

STET is great. As an early-career author, it was sort of empowering to defend my writing, my voice, and my choices. Self esteem not really being the most significant thing for many of us writer-types (particularly those of us who are new to business), it was uncomfortable, however gratifying, to utilize all caps and require my words be appreciated.

Going through and reacting to those notes type of sucked. Ok, no– it didnt kind of suck, it sucked bigtime.

Since, in the end, its about the readers experience, and since we do not reside in 1943, Im not confined to the vocabulary of the age.

Writing around your lead characters bias, specifically those borne of the time in which they live, double specifically when theyre your sole POV character is a whole ball of wax. With the aid of my editors and the support of awesome pals with Romani heritage, we made it work.

Its now fighting “snollygoster” for the title of my Very Favorite English word (although its technically Latin, so I suppose its actually combating “Post hoc ergo Propter hoc” to be my favorite Latin).

Finding out how to be period-immersive while leaving harmful language was a lesson Im delighted I learned, however it didnt come simple.

This book is about some imaginary magic in a genuine place. Real people rub shoulders with fictional ones, and my adventuring lead character goes back and forth in between actual historic places and the world of the fantastic.

It was also way more expert than a few of the other words I may have selected.

I have now learned to read my own work with a critical eye for overuse of words that arent part of daily speech for individuals who are not me.

When this book could potentially happen was the very first problem I needed to solve. I had restrictions on all sides, both in-universe and real-world. Cant be before THIS cant be after THAT, and I require to get this person out of the method.

I am now enabled only one “mishmash” per manuscript. One “slapdash”. One “broken-down”. And I only get a “snollygoster” every other book. Its a hard-knock life, y all. It is what it is.

Jim Crow, Eugenics, that time Hitler was Look Magazines Man of the year.

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The only word Pepper would have understood to describe this character is thought about a slur these days; y all understand the “G” word. Im not gon na write it here any more than I did in the book.

Or maybe you will, but a minimum of youll understand I did my homework.

One of the things that occurs when you compose a book is that youre not really done composing it when you believe youre done writing it. For those of y all unknown with the term (as I was just one book ago), thats a word writers use when we select not to accept the editors version of something and rather desire to leave the words the way we had them in the very first location.

Fortunately, the market has talented me the stunning tool which is STET. And kid did I utilize it.

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