Whew.The Coronation of the High Hierophant,
a Fifth Doctor & Nyssa novella I started hashing out in summer 2015, is DONE. 51,261 words. I'm going to let it percolate until the end of the week before posting the final chapter, because I polish and buff prose for days. But it's ready to go, and I'm proud to have conquered it despite some nasty stretches of health problems over the past few years.
This was one of those stories that grabs you and demands to be written. For once, I put in months of research and development before writing any scenes.
Not just because I had a trans character, and I needed to be damned careful when writing a queer experience quite different from my own. (I'm bi.) I hope I didn't screw up too badly, although I know I was steering perilously close to several clichés. Ironically, that happened in the course of subverting certain het, "princess falls in love with prince charming," love triangle, and damsel-in-distress clichés.
Not just because my background in classical studies means I can't be satisfied with a generic setting. I must
build a fully-realized world and culture. Which meant delving into primary sources on the court of Louis XIV and his Regent mother Queen Anne, and researching the early history of ballet, none of which I knew anything about beyond the Big Finish audio The Church and the Crown
(that's what set me off on this time period).
It was mostly because I wanted to learn a better approach to writing, after thinking of myself as a writer for 30 years yet failing to finish a novel save the dreck I wrote as a teen! I usually write seat-of-the-pants, craft the ending scene and then the beginning, and trust the characters to find their way from point A to B. That worked with stories up to about 20,000 words. I've even written one (Master's Thesis
, a Fifth Doctor/Turlough/Tegan/older!Nyssa novella) that clocked in over 40,000. But I needed a more integrated, organized method.
This time, I bought a book called Story Engineering
and followed its guidelines and structured approach. It's the difference between writing a sonnet and winging it with free verse. The result isn't perfect, but it's better than anything else I've written so far.
There were a couple classic Who-related themes I wanted to tackle beyond the "Cinderella subverted" backbone, which is why I had to write this as fanfic instead of publishing it as original SF.( Read more... )