Archive for the ‘Marie Brennan’ Category

Annotations for The Liar’s Knot!

Marie Brennan

Happy anniversary of the release of The Liar’s Knot! In an ideal world, you all would be about to receive your copies of Labyrinth’s Heart; alas, you must wait some time longer. But we are doing second-round revisions right now, so you can trust it is on its way, just as fast as we can make it go.

To tide you over, and to celebrate the anniversary of the second book, we’ve posted our annotations! If you missed the ones for The Mask of Mirrors, these are a selection of the comments Alyc and I leave for each other in the margins of the Google doc as we write — not all of them, because many are boring things that say stuff like “check this” and “replace once we have something better,” but the ones you all might find entertaining. Spoiler warning, naturally: don’t go read the annotations if you haven’t yet read the book! (I mean, you can, if you don’t mind spoilers. But also the comments may not be as amusing without more context.)

And if you need more — and haven’t seen it already — check out the deleted scene we posted from The Liar’s Knot! There will be more of those to come . . .

SFWA Silent Auction is underway!

Marie Brennan

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association is running a silent auction, and I’m in it! Prizes on offer are a package deal of a signed copy of The Mask of Mirrors and five Rook and Rose-themed tea samples, and a virtual kaffeeklatsch for which the seats are being auctioned separately: one, two, three, four. Bid on one of those + the first package, and you could potentially sip delicious book-themed tea while we chat! Or if those aren’t your cuppa (sorry not sorry), there are oodles of other great things on offer at the auction site. But you only have a few days, so bid fast!

If you’re wondering what the money will be used for, SFWA does a great deal to assist people in the field, from the Emergency Medical Fund to the Legal Fund to scholarships for marginalized creators to attend events like the Nebulas Conference. Over the course of my career, SFWA has managed to reinvent itself as a much stronger advocate within SF/F publishing — the closest thing we have to a union, and very much needed, as things like #DisneyMustPay continue to show.

Truly, The Face of Stars is the card of good luck

Marie Brennan

Alyc and I have netted a STARRED review from Booklist for The Mask of Mirrors! The choice quote:

“For those who like their revenge plots served with the intrigue of The Goblin Emperor, the colonial conflict of The City of Brass, the panache of Swordspoint, and the richly detailed settings of Guy Gavriel Kay.”

. . . yeah, I’m basically rolling around in that like catnip.

The book comes out January 19th, which feels like it’s foreeeeeeeeeever from now. You can pre-order it here!

This post originally appeared on SwanTower.com.

Songs in 5?

Marie Brennan

I need recs for INSTRUMENTAL music (no lyrics, or at least not in English) written in some form of quintuple meter: 5/4, 5/8, something more arcane, whatever. Songs which are only partially in such a meter are acceptable, though, y’know, not some complicated jazzy thing where it’s like a measure here and three measures there and so forth; I’d like it to be recognizably quintuple without following along on the score to see where it changes.

This post originally appeared on SwanTower.com.

Rook and Rose Book 2, Chapter 25 – FINIT

Marie Brennan

We are done!

With some twists we didn’t quite expect, all the way up to the very end. (Well, some of them were twists we knew would happen eventually; we just figured that would be third-book stuff.) It is always a good sign when we make ourselves bust out laughing — even if sometimes we’re laughing at what we’re putting our poor, long-suffering characters through.

And now? We flop.

Word count: 198,268
Authorial sadism: There were consequences to that trick.
Authorial amusement: Does somebody have a sweetheart?
BLR quotient: This is the middle book of a trilogy, so it ends on a darker note than before. Rhetoric is staging a defensive action against blood, but some slips through the cracks anyway. Love will hold the line, though.

This post originally appeared on SwanTower.com.

Rook and Rose Book 2, Chapter 24

Marie Brennan

One! Chapter! Left!

True to previously-established form, we wrote this one in a single day — though it was a bit less heavy lifting this time, because the chapter wound up running short. By which I mean it’s just under 6K, and will probably tip over that line once we add in some more detail we rushed past in our initial race to get to the exciting bits. I recognize that this is not a “short” chapter by most people’s standards, but ours are mostly in the 7500-8500 range, so this is noticeably below.

Which is fine. The thrilling climax would not be made more thrilling by the addition of padding. And since we’ve spent this whole book trying to make sure things don’t balloon up above the range we’re supposed to keep to, this just means we’ve bought ourselves more breathing room to add in all the descriptive stuff we’ve been short-changing throughout (not on purpose, just mostly because it’s a sequel and we forget we need to re-establish things).

So all that’s left is the denouement. And a couple of earlier bits we need to polish up, so we can truly feel like we’ve got a finished draft when it’s done.

Word count: ~190,000
Authorial sadism: A chance to solve a problem forever . . .
Authorial amusement: A fistful of charms, and someone being puzzled by their own hesitation.
BLR quotient: Oh so much blood. But not nearly as much as there could have been, if the characters were just a little harder-hearted.

This post originally appeared on SwanTower.com.

Rook and Rose Book 2, Chapter 23

Marie Brennan

So close to the end!

The progress blog I didn’t post because we wound up utterly reworking our plans for what lay ahead talked about the idea of playing with both repetition and change over the course of a series: doing the same thing again in order to leverage the echo, tracing a different path through the same beat, or shaking things up completely. That’s coming back a bit here, because the climax of the first book and the climax of the second have a certain element in common — so how can we keep it from feeling stale?

Part of the answer is to change the on-ramp. The Mask of Mirrors goes careening into its climactic bit with only a brief lull between a Big Thing and the grand finale; this one takes a slower and more deliberate approach. The characters see what lies ahead rather than running face-first into it, and that means they have time to plan (which is what they’re doing in this chapter). Of course their plans won’t go off like they intend — it would be boring if they did — but the time has come for them to be less reactive, more proactive. And that will also set us up nicely for whatever it is we do at the end of the third book. The specifics of which are very much TBD, of course, but we know the gist of it, and I think it will make for a nice third variant on the pattern.

Heh, pattern. Which is a kind of important thing in this setting.

Two chapters to go!

Word count: ~184,000
Authorial sadism: Not everybody made that promise.
Authorial amusement: Cavalry to the . . . rescue?
BLR quotient: I think rhetoric, since a whole lot of this hinges on doing some metaphysical math.

This post originally appeared on SwanTower.com.

Rook and Rose Book 2, Chapter 22

Marie Brennan

As I mentioned before, Chapter 22 was almost done by the time I reported on 21, so here, have another one!

This is basically our last bit of fun, in the sense of having some scenes where our characters get to deal with smaller problems in a more lighthearted way. In fact, what we originally conceived of as being some kind of caper wound up instead being two characters literally toasting each other with wine glasses while they watch a small farce play out: we could have made it something more involved and energetic, but the ironic effect of dialing it back makes for a fun change of pace.

With all the rearrangement and changes of plan we’ve done, this chapter also wound up having a plot beat that was originally in Chapter 18, now stripped of half the characters who used to be there, moved to a new location, and simplified. As much as it sucks to scrap two thousand words and replace them, I think this version is much better — even if I spent way too much time thinking about methods of execution only to have the scene not even reference that aspect. Oh well, waste not, want not; maybe in the third book we’ll have some reason to refer to the idea I came up with, which is horrifically gory and also culturally appropriate.

Or, y’know, in a future series. Because yes, we’re already tossing ideas around for doing more in this setting, if we get the chance. We’ve spent so much time building up a rich world for this story to take place in; it would be downright thrifty of us to re-use it for another plot.

Word count: ~176,000
Authorial sadism: It’s a surprisingly non-sadistic chapter! I guess we pummeled our characters’ hearts so much last chapter, they needed a quick breather.
Authorial amusement: Too many to count. The wine glasses, the reaction to a name, someone putting her foot down, a gibbering fanboy moment, “go ahead and finish your breakfast.”
BLR quotient: Rhetoric makes a strong comeback.

This post originally appeared on SwanTower.com.

Rook and Rose Book 2, Chapter 21

Marie Brennan

I’ve been so busy writing, I’ve forgotten to report!

We’re in the home stretch now, the fifth part of a five-part book. It would feel more like the home stretch if we didn’t keep retooling our plans; the Chapter 21 we wrote is neither the original Chapter 21 we had planned, nor quite the Chapter 21 we replaced the original plan with (though the second redesign was more about changing the sequence of stuff so that its context was different, rather than swapping it out wholesale). We’ve got so many threads we’re trying to pull together now, and we have to balance the demands of exposition against emotional weight and still try to have some kind of action going on.

But that’s my thoughts being colored a bit by the fact that we’re almost done with Chapter 22 and have actually started 23 (because linearity, what is that?). 21 is really more of the feelingz wrecking ball hitting the characters from several directions at once, not all of thos good. They finally know, in full surround-sound smell-o-vision technicolor glory, just how much danger they’re in. And they’re not getting out of the woods this book; following the grand tradition of sonata structure, this movement is the one in a minor key. Final resolution will have to wait for the next volume.

Word count: ~168,000 (we also added in the earlier scenes we needed)
Authorial sadism: The worst thing is when you start to doubt your own mind.
Authorial amusement: Look, you can’t set up a character to be afraid of X and NOT inflict X on them eventually.
BLR quotient: What if the love is actually just more blood?

This post originally appeared on SwanTower.com.