Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Old Flame

I've just finished a story for my WIP (see right) which is set in, ahem, pre-revolutionary America. I had a lovely time researching it: Wikipedia of course(All Hail Wikipedia!), but I also re-read the early chapters of Bill Bryson's Made in America and Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown and read for the first time Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - which believe me is not much like the film. Plus books on costume and tree magic and a set of postcards I bought at Plimoth Plantation * some years ago.

I was much vexed over the question of vocabulary to start with - do I use American words/spellings (which the copyeditor will instantly switch back to the British versions)? How do I cope with the fact that my male narrator is of Dutch stock? Would the local priest be a Reverend, a Pastor or a Preacher? Is the mountain ash known as a rowan over there too? Are there rooks in New England? Oh the perils of writing about an unfamiliar time and place...

(The answer to the last question is No, by the way, but there are flocking crows that can be ominous in the same way.)

All this paled as I was struck by the horrible thought: Will sex-with-the-devil be considered too uncomfortable a subject for US erotica readers? For about an hour I was in the grip of visions of my editor refusing to publish anything so contentious.

Then Mr Asbless said, "Like The Witches of Eastwick, you mean?" And suddenly everything was okay. I never thought I'd say it, but Thank Goodness for Jack Nicholson.

* NB: "Plymouth" the original English port is pronounced "Plimuth", while "Plimoth" the Amercian historical site is pronounced "PLYmouth". The English Language is a strange beast.

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