ellenkushner: (Default)
To my amis français & Francophone friends: My short story "'A Wild and a Wicked Youth'" is being translated by the inestimable Patrick Marcel for wonderful André-François Ruaud's  periodical book/magazine, *Fiction.* The title is a quote from a traditional English ballad (as sung by Waterson:Carthy) - a "Criminal's Last Good Night" genre piece.

Is there any French equivalent that we can use for the title in French?
For those interested in reading below the fold, here's my original intro:
    'This story came to me in a flash in the darkness of a Waterson/Carthy concert last year, when the English folk artists let fly with their awesome rendition of the traditional outlaw ballad, "Newry Town" (also known as "The Newry Highwayman"): A young man, clearly a nice boy, "turns out to be a roving blade" and comes to a bad end while his mother cries, and everyone agrees, "There goes a wild and a wicked youth."
  'While the song's plotline does not really match my story's, it got me on the right path. I'd been wanting for a long time to write about the early life of Richard St. Vier, the gifted swordsman in my first novel, Swordspoint: a Melodrama of Manners. I've always known who Richard's mother was, and how he learned to fight; but it occurred to me that nobody else did, and it was time to get it down on paper.'

The lyrics & background to the song are here.

My original posts about the short story are here.

I've also posted this query on my Facebook page.
ellenkushner: (Spanish Swordspoint)
Wahoo! Just got galley pages from Jonathan Strahan for "'A Wild & a Wicked Youth,'" my "St Vier's boyhood" story which appeared in April/May 2009 Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and has been chosen by Jonathan for his The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 4 from Night Shade Books in March. Gotta say I'm in damned good company - look at that ToC!

Anyhow, I am very grateful to this LJ, where I posted the errata from the F&SF edition - since that's what Night Shade set the type from, the corrections are the same, making my work that little bit easier.

Now, I suppose, I should read the entire thing through again, just in case I find any other infelicities. I really don't want to - there's bound to be a comma I want to change, or a word I don't like anymore - I'm such a fussbudget . . . I changed a couple dozen things just between the time Gordon bought it and when it was printed in F&SF. Where will it all end?!
ellenkushner: (Default)
So has everyone received her copy of the April/May F&SF (containing the new Riverside story, "'A Wild and a Wicked Youth'") in the mail, or trotted down to the newsstand for it?

Good!

Then this seems like a good place to note one little correction: on the magazine's p. 121, 3rd line (1st line of 1st full paragraph)*:

Crispin's father was Lord Trevelyan, and had a seat in Council of Lords
should read
Crispin's father was Lord Trevelyan, and had a seat on the Council of Lords

Please note it in your copy of the magazine.

"How could this happen?!" you ask. I went into my e-files to look. If you're interested in process, read on:
Read more... )

One little letter, easily missed by both of us! But since I invented the particular usages of my city (e.g., it's "Lord Michael Godwin" until he's the head of the family; then he's "Michael, Lord Godwin;" she's "the Duchess Tremontaine" not "of Tremontaine" etc.), I feel I must strive for consistency.

And if you tell me that's not actually how I use it in the books, I'll go and --
I'll go and change it.

*ADDED: Another typo, 2 lines down in the same paragraph:

Every Quarter Day, Trevelyn's steward brought Richard's mother the money
CHANGE TO
Every Quarter Day,Trevelyan's steward brought Richard's mother the money

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] yaoi_in_exile for catching this one!
ellenkushner: (Default)
A gold doubloon to [livejournal.com profile] cerulean_sky, the first to sight the April/May edition of Fantasy & Science Fiction at her local newstand! I've actually had my copy for several weeks, but was waiting 'til I knew it had gone out to the general public before announcing that
MY NEW "RIVERSIDE" STORY IS NOW OUT!

It's called "'A Wild and a Wicked Youth'" and the double-quotes are because it's a line from a song*. I sent F&SF editor Gordon Van Gelder my background notes, and to my delight he printed them intact as the intro to the story in the magazine. Here they are for you now:

This story came to me in a flash in the darkness of a Waterson/Carthy concert last year, when the English folk artists let fly with their awesome rendition of the traditional outlaw ballad, "Newry Town" (also known as "The Newry Highwayman"): A young man, clearly a nice boy, "turns out to be a roving blade" and comes to a bad end while his mother cries, and everyone agrees, "There goes a wild and a wicked youth."

While the song's plotline does not really match my story's, it got me on the right path. I'd been wanting for a long time to write about the early life of Richard St. Vier, the gifted swordsman in my first novel, Swordspoint: a Melodrama of Manners. I've always known who Richard's mother was, and how he learned to fight; but it occurred to me that nobody else did, and it was time to get it down on paper.


(*The song is recorded on Waterson/Carthy's album "Fishes & Fine Yellow Sand." Here are the complete lyrics, plus notes.)

Here's my original post about the story, including links to my "process" notes for writing it, and the story's opening lines.

Here are reviews of the issue & the stories therein. The third one has a quote from my story. I have to say it was just a piece of connective material, to move from one scene to the next - but it always pays to make them more poetical.
ellenkushner: (TPOTS SmallBeerPress (Clouet))
“He’s dead, mother.”

“Who’s dead, Richard?”

His mother did not look up from rolling out her pastry. They lived in the country; things died. And her son did not seem particularly upset. But then, he seldom did. She was raising him not to be afraid of anything if she could help it.

“The man in the orchard.”

Octavia St Vier carefully put down her rolling pin, wiped her hands on her apron, and tucked up her skirts. . . . .


So begins "'A Wild and a Wicked Youth,'" the novelette I wrote last winter (whose progress I so lovingly and educationally charted in these pages). It will be published in the April/May issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, edited by Gordon Van Gelder.

Want to make sure you don't miss it? or need a fabulous last-minute gift for someone who loves to read? Why not subscribe to a year's worth of F&SF? We do, and I find something to love in every issue. Lisa Goldstein's story this summer blew me away, and I'm becoming a fan of Albert Cowdrey - not to mention the endless pleasure of Liz Hand's book reviews . . . .

Gordon tells me "anyone who subscribes between now and Jan. 6 will find that their subscription starts with the preceding issue (March 2009). If someone subscribes between Jan. 7 and Feb. 16, their first issue will be the one with your story." So he's offering a special gift rate for subscriptions here. If you put my name in the comments field, I get some kind of biscuit. (I don't see why you can't send a gift to yourself - or to your avatar at the same address.)

The story is, indeed, about the childhood & youth of Richard St Vier, a character from my novel Swordspoint. I've waited long enough to tell it; sorry you have to wait a few extra months to read it!
ellenkushner: (Simon van Alphen by Nicolaes Maes)
And I finished the first draft of the story on Tuesday night (around 1:30 am), after we got back from seeing Oroonoko (and interesting collaboration between 17c novelist Aphra Behn & contemporary Nigerian playwright Biyi Bandele, which [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman has already written up). I don't always have that kind of energy after a long day & evening out, but I'd been working so steadily on it I didn't want to lose the momentum - and besides, I knew I wouldn't really have any writing time for the next 5 days, and it was so close I could taste it.

Since these entries are partly to document my Process - one of them, anyway; I'm not all that consistent, and am interested in getting down a record of this one - here goes. Read more... )Hope your own creative efforts are flourishing - and if they're not, that you're goofing off in exactly the right ways to prime the pump.
ellenkushner: (Default)
The Story (from my 1/26 post) progresseth; it's turning up longer than I thought it would be. To clue you further in to my Process, here are some of the thoughts that ran relentless through my mind that first night, in between bursts of colorable sentences:

where am I going to sell this? nobody's writing stuff like this.
what if it's too old-fashioned? what if it 's not old-fashioned enough?
is this stupid? does this make any sense?
(repeat ad nauseam or until all creative activity comes to a standstill)

Since these are pretty much the same thoughts I had when I was writing Swordspoint 20+ years ago - and pretty much everything else I've published in between - I quashed them as boldly as I could -- trying to bear in mind what my glorious friend Isabel told me last week (at my beloved Tea & Sympathy, where we'd gone to thrash out the meaning of life) when I expressed similar sentiments :

Listen to the voices.

Tell the story.


Good advice. And so I try.

writing

Jan. 26th, 2008 11:15 am
ellenkushner: (Default)
Finally got the bit back between my teeth and wrote pages and pages and pages of a short story last night (by hand, in a notebook, sitting in the brown leather chair by my study window) - fueled (as I need to eat about every 2 hours or I get cranky and/or vague) by leftover Chinese food and later by chocolate almonds; stopped only by physical weariness and a sore hand. It's hilarious: it was coming to me so fast that I wrote scenes out of order as they sparked (making notes to myself for where they should actually go), using 2 different pens: my eternal favorite, the Rotring ArtPen (extrafine nib on this one, but my handwriting is so very dire that I need a fountain pen to slow me down enough to make it legible - but I press so hard that I ruin the nibs of finer ink pens, so no Mont Blanc for me - hey, what do we call such pens in the US? It can't be just an Ink Pen cause that would include ballpoints etc... In France it's a Stylo, right? I mean, a Fountain Pen implies a fillable fountain - which my Rotrings have, me being too cheap to approve of buying disposable plastic cartridges - but if it has a cartridge is it a Cartridge Pen? Is there a generic name for things with metal tips that need to be filled with ink?), filled with an ink by J. Herbin with the delicious appellation of "Lie de Thé" - it's really closer to green than brown, which bothered me at first - like, you know when you buy cheap black pants but after you wash them a few times they turn out to be kind of dark dark blue? - , but hey, it's such a cunning little bottle - alternating with one of the "uni-ball Signo"s we buy by the fistful in Japan - this one, maroon.

As for the story itself, I'm not being coy - or rather, I suppose I am, but I'm not taking malicious delight in it; it's just not good to talk about it until it is conclusively finished. I did finally end up reading most of what I had so far to Delia (after I wrote a scene that surprised me and that I like so much I wanted to try it out), and she laughed a lot and turned rather pink with pleasure (I hope), which was a good sign both that it's working and that I felt I have enough that it's got its own specific gravity and won't be blown off-track by someone else's reaction. Also, I've always read my stuff aloud when I could - dating from my days in Jr High School when my friends claimed they couldn't read my writing - it helps me hear the pacing and what's working.

It's something I started months ago - jotted down some notes & lines of dialogue during a Waterson/Carthy concert (blogged here, I believe) as they sang "Newry Highwayman" and I got a flash of something. I've been poking at it sporadically ever since - a line here, a scene there (and desperate search for inspiration online one night, only to find that everybody and their sister has recorded NH except W/C) - while also putting myself through sloggy overdue rewrites of the Witches of Lublin radio script from MFSM, and bouncing back and forth between sketches for other stories that I hope will similarly take off soon . . . . And indeed, I meant to work on something else last night, some that is actually due somewhere - but when these lightning visions come, practically playing the movie for you as you frantically try to get it all down - and it doesn't happen often - you're a fool if you let it go by.

People ask me about my writing habits? There they are.

This week, anyway.
ellenkushner: (TPOTS SmallBeerPress (Clouet))
they're on a small US tour (NY state & Vermont) right now - see their website for gig details (remembering that, under the Brit system, 05/03/07 translates as March 5)!

Martin Carthy's music, and the Watersons, were a HUGE HUGE I mean would probably not have written it without them Huge influence on my Thomas the Rhymer and Delia's Through a Brazen Mirror. If you've never heard trad British ballads - or if you love them very much - don't miss them. Plus, they've got charisma to burn. (Oh, and the title -and epigraph - of TPOTS comes from the song "The Dominion of the Sword" - one of my original preferences for a title, btw! - on Carthy's album Right of Passage.) If you can't go, buy albums!

We will be at Symphony Space tom'w night, R Orch row E.

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