Friday, July 24, 2009

Virtual Vicarious Vacation Friday: Warwick Castle

Juggling three writing projects may not be good for my sanity. There's the previous project, that I'm wrapping up. There's the current one I'm rewriting. And there's the future one I'm researching and brainstorming and that is really taking over my brain. Yesterday, I read straight through the previous project. I think it's important to try to read a book the way a reader would because you catch a lot more things than you do when it's weeks or even months between the time you wrote the first chapter and the time you wrote the last one. For instance, you're more conscious of words or phrases you use repeatedly. Or you might find that you used the exact same paragraph twice after you cut it from earlier in the book and then moved it to another scene, then used it again in a later scene. Not that I might have done something like that. It's also good to get a look at the book as a whole rather than as units from a day's work. Aside from a few wording and repeated paragraph issues, I think I still like this one. I have a page of notes of little things to check or tinker with, then it rests again for a couple of weeks, and then I give it one last read out loud to catch any subconscious errors that might have slipped between the cracks. And then I'll be down to two projects, until my agent gives me revision notes on this one.

I know I have a ton of reader e-mail to deal with, but that gets kind of draining since they all seem to be asking the same questions, and repeating that particular answer over and over again makes me want to crawl into a hole. No, there is no book five on the horizon because my publisher doesn't want it. No, book four is not being translated into Dutch because the publisher doesn't want it. I have no idea about book four in German because they haven't committed one way or another. I guess it starts to feel like the book version of, "Why aren't you married yet?" I have to remind myself that it's because they care, not because they're trying to make me feel bad. I will say that, in case anyone's reading this, it might be more effective to be addressing these questions to the respective publishers. That way they'll be forced to realize that there is a demand.

But enough about that. Let's take another virtual vicarious vacation! We're still in England, on that same trip from October 2000, and in fact these photos are from the day after last week's photos. I took a day trip from Oxford up to Warwick to see the castle. Yeah, this is a pretty touristy castle that's now owned by the people who run Madame Toussad's, which means that parts of the castle are set up as a wax museum so you can see how people lived there at various points in history, complete with music and sound effects. But the castle itself is truly magnificent, and it's on gorgeous grounds. Apparently I got really lucky because normally it's swarming with tourists, and it was practically deserted the day I was there. I only ran into other people a couple of times (and once it was a couple from Texas I'd met before, which was kind of freaky). I spent the whole day there, just wandering, and it was one of those nearly perfect days.

So here are a few views of the castle, and these are some of the photos I've had enlarged and framed and that hang on the staircase wall. First, the side view of the castle, taken from a bridge over the River Avon.

Then there's the approach to the castle.

And then the view from the top of the highest tower (I'm not great with heights, so that one was a bit scary until I got used to being up there).

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