Cheeseburger Gothic

First draft complete

Posted November 10 by John Birmingham

Just dropped the epilogue onto the end of the beta.

I'm very happy with this book.

13 Responses to ‘First draft complete’

DarrenBloomfield would have you know...

Posted November 10
So you should be, JB. So you should.

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Dave C puts forth...

Posted November 10
To my mind, I could sense your enthusiasm with the story and characters. I REALLY enjoyed this book, John! Ridonkulously good even!

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DarrenBloomfield puts forth...

Posted November 10
All his Janissaries would agree

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Ian Goulbourne swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 11
A jolly good read (said Chumley) and I agree.

Is it just me, or is the whole Beta editing process much easier. Way less typos in this book than previous books
I suppose as a stand alone book that there is no baggage to bring along from previous books in the series and that JB just needs to be true to this one book alone.
Having said that, I do enjoy the comments from the other Beta readers/reviewers. It does add another dimension to the book. The 'Easter eggs' are also fun.

Dropbox paper is much better than Google docs, but I look forward to the next update when I will be able to do a search so I can quickly get to my last editing pause.

A Girl in Time would make a good tv series!

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted November 11
One difference with editing this, I let everyone make the minor subedits themselves. So you saw a fewer comments pointing out missing punctation or spelling errors and so on.
I also learned from Stalin's Hammer to do better inventory control. That's why Smith and Smith alone has the weapons, and not many of them.
As for the larger question, I did put a lot of time into prepping for this book. It was plotted out scene by scene. That probably cuts back on the edits necessary.

insomniac would have you know...

Posted November 11
I too am finding fewer typos overall but more punctuation errors than usual.
No baggage also helps, both from a prior book sense and from easier inventory control because you left something behind.
Dropbox is ok to use, everywhere except in Android where I struggle to get a cursor.
But yeah, it's a good read (so far cos I ain't finished)

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insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted November 11
Is there an actual epilogue cos I can't see it ... there's no heading but I think I saw it earlier?

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 11
I changed the name to chapter 38

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 11
oh i see

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Guy ducks in to say...

Posted November 12
I am a reader, and reviewer of your work on Amazon...how can I get this version of the new book? Do I have to wait much?

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Turlogh Dubh O'Brien ducks in to say...

Posted November 12
If WW 3.1 is only as half as good as this, you will have some very happy readers.

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Ceramic puts forth...

Posted November 14
This book sounds interesting.
Aleays available to be a beta reader in future :-)

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted November 16
Ceramic, you need to email me via the email addy for jbismymasternow and let me know.

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Alphas, your beta is good to go

Posted November 9 into Writing by John Birmingham

Just loaded ACT 3.

I'm writing the epilogue today, and maybe tomorrow, but there's a complete story arc ready to go now.

Enjoy.

You can search the document for ACT 3 or for Chapter 26 to take you to the start.

7 Responses to ‘Alphas, your beta is good to go’

Surtac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 9
Sir! Yes sir!

Will get to it this evening after work.

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insomniac reckons...

Posted November 9
Do we have a time limit?

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted November 9
Early next week it goes to the production edit.

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Yank across the sea is gonna tell you...

Posted November 9
Are you going to make any adjustments to AoT if Trump gets elected since in the novels Clinton was president in their future timeline?

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted November 9
Well, it is an alternate history.

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Dave C is gonna tell you...

Posted November 9
Clinton hadn't quite been confirmed in the book though, had she? It was just assumed that Clinton would win. Sound familiar? Kinda liked it better as fiction.

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DaveC reckons...

Posted November 9
AoT... D'Oh! Lost in the quantum foam.

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So no, not tonight, Betas

Posted November 4 by John Birmingham

I'm close, but I'm still writing the big pay off scenes. Probably two chapters worth, and I've hit that time of the day when I go from being a writer to being a suburban schmuck who has to chase around after the kids and get the house in order for the weekend.

I could upload 90% of Act 3, but that would be cruel to everyone who's been reading and commenting.

Better to get it finished and then file the lot.

Sorry.

4 Responses to ‘So no, not tonight, Betas’

insomniac puts forth...

Posted November 4
I'll be on a flight to Perth anyway, off to see the little human.

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jl would have you know...

Posted November 5
All good things are worth the wait. No sweat, JB.

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AuntyLou is gonna tell you...

Posted November 5
I'm on holidays at Brunswick Heads so take your time! I was stressing magnificently about letting down my Lord & Master because of borked interwebs so whenever the final act drops will be good with me. Excited for the next bit. During the wait...????????????????????????????

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Rhino reckons...

Posted November 9
Having no children, I feel completely confident in my ability to offer advice.

1. I'm sure that house has a nice walk in closet. Bait it with games and snacks. Lure children. Lock doors. Back to writing.

2. Hire help to take care of mundane tasks such as feeding, bathing, clothing, rearing of children. In their spare time they can be re-tasked to clean house, maintain lawns, etc.

I'm glad that I was able to help and feel really good about this conversation.

Please get back to work.

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The end is nigh

Posted November 3 into Writing by John Birmingham

I'm about to delete a chapter that I spent most of yesterday writing. A chapter I was pretty pleased with too. It's unavoidable. Having intricately plotted out the final act of A Girl in Time, I was walking my dog this morning when I realised there was a simpler, more elegant way of bringing all of the story threads together. I hate that.
It's taken me an hour this morning, of muttering under my breath, stalking around the house, cursing myself, but I finally got to a point where I can do what needs to be done.
Delete the chapter, and rewrite it to set up the simpler, more elegant finale.
As much as it will hurt cutting out those 3000 words, it'll save me somewhere between eight and ten thousand words by the time I'm done. I originally planned for this book to top out at 90K. It was heading towards 100,000 as of yesterday.
Hopefully, this means I'll have Act 3 ready for beta late on Friday.

12 Responses to ‘The end is nigh’

Murphy_of_Missouri has opinions thus...

Posted November 3
Save the material. Might be useful for recycle later.

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insomniac asserts...

Posted November 3
Serendipity is a wonderful thing

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Dave W has opinions thus...

Posted November 3
Could be a good deleted-scenes or alternative ending easter egg on the DVD extras.

Murphy_of_Missouri mumbles...

Posted November 3
There is a lot of that laying around, Dave.

Dave W mumbles...

Posted November 3
The Director's Cut, double dvd special edition?

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 3
On a purely selfish note: Friday is perfect for me. Driving the fam up your way(ish) to Southport to see in laws for a couple of days. Never has there been better timing :)

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BostonJoe mumbles...

Posted November 3
I second the deleted scenes idea.

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w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 3
Once again, the 'in the moment' zen of a canine brings clarity. Don't forget to mention your dog on the acknowledgements page.

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WarDog mumbles...

Posted November 3
I often have the same experience when coding.

A good step away from the project (or a night of sleep/alcohol) and the fresh perspective turns mountains into gold plated molehills.

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Rhino is gonna tell you...

Posted November 4
Elegant Ending = Introduction of The Rhino. I figured as much.

Can't wait to see this ... very curious as to where this is going.

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DarrenBloomfield swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 4
Put it up, put it up, PUT. IT. UUUUUUUUPPPPP!!!!

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Gutz ducks in to say...

Posted November 12
I just hope that walking your sometime disappearing dog has not given you pause on how you treat your disappearing characters. lest a large portion of the narrative given to never to be seen again instruments of assistance. Bruce from unit 38 ' i am sure he was here with my Fifi.!, wont our children be gorgeous!! ' all that superfluous rubbish can become cannon fodder Wendy!!

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A note about cussing

Posted October 31 by John Birmingham

Those involved in beta reading A Girl in Time will have seen that Act 2, told from Marshal Smith's point of view, uses the old 19th century device for dealing with coarse language.

It f------g blanks it out.

It only ever f------g does that when we're in Smith's PoV.

With Cady, it's clusterfuckturduckens all the way down.

I'm still in two minds about this. I really like it as a device for colouring Smith's character. But I'm not sure whether it's too much.

I'm happy to take feedback.

(Alphas, try to avoid spoilers if replying here.)

29 Responses to ‘A note about cussing’

Dave W puts forth...

Posted October 31
Wouldn't a character who is prudish enough to warrant hyphening out be more likely to just 'gosh' 'heck' and 'jeepers' their language?

Rmitch0118 ducks in to say...

Posted October 31
My granddad used to say "gol darned" and "dad gum". Not sure if it is Victorian, but it is definitely redneck.

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insomniac would have you know...

Posted October 31
I think having Cady's cussing blanked out helps highlight the actual cussing Smith does later so it should stay.
My issue is with the dashes. I know what you said before about 2 for 4 & 3 for 6 but all I see in the above are 6 dashes plus the two letters in what is a seven letter word which makes it look strange.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted October 31
fu'k it

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Murphy_of_Missouri puts forth...

Posted October 31
Either use the word, or don't. Don't blank it out.

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DaveC mutters...

Posted October 31
Tricky. I like the idea, and it doesn't 'not' work. But it does look a bit odd.

So how would Smith interpret this in his head? Possible substitution?

Not even f------g close! That was a bull---- interference call at the end.

Might become;

Not even effing close! That was a bullspit interference call at the end.

Or some such contrivance?

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Lulu ducks in to say...

Posted October 31
There is also some expressive & colourful genuine Victorian cursing.

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Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted October 31
Damn your eyes!
I've just read a few Flashman books and there is a fair bit of Victorian cursing in them.

Alister Taylor mutters...

Posted November 2
One of the Flashman books uses the same device as Marshal Smith, as its conceit is that the memoirs are edited before MacDonald Fraser gets to them by Flashman's sister-in-law.

I think it is 'Flashman and the Angel of the Lord"

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DarrenBloomfield is gonna tell you...

Posted October 31
It sort of works it took me a little while, but then I figured out that was what you were doing. I vote that you keep it, or as others suggest, you substitute less offensive cuss words. My 5yos current favourites would suggest "what the chicken!?" Or my personal favourite "shut the front door!!".

More seriously, the other thing I humbly suggest might work for smooth running reading flow, might be to gradually change the language of Smith more broadly - start with the full on vernacular of his time, then blend it down to modern. Well still know he's speaking his language, but we'll read itas ours .

I may be being as clear as mud.

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jason has opinions thus...

Posted October 31
Might sound a little stupid but I prefer real words. When I see all the blanks or dashes it reminds me I am reading a book and not just lost in the story. I can forgive bad language or slightly uncharacteristic words as they probably won't drag me back to reality whereas the f-----g dashes surely would.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 31
Yeah, this is my MAJOR worry. That a simple typographical effect breaks the suspension of disbelief. And yet, W's point below is also valid.

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 31
I loved the thing Pratchett did with Mr. Tulip, but it's so strikingly singular you couldn't really just copy it.

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w from brisbane mutters...

Posted October 31
I like the dashes. Fits in with the character and the tone. Also, possibly broadens the appeal.

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Brother PorkChop swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 31
If its true to the character, use it.
My Grandfather was a fan of "bally" I knew he was truly pissed off if that came out.

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ronS mumbles...

Posted October 31
don't delete the letters but go with what would have been the swearing more likely used then - it will be understood as you intend

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Vovchara puts forth...

Posted November 1
as long as it's "in character" I don't care about cussing. I would even go so far as saying, JB without cussing is not JB at all :P

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Turlogh Dubh O'Brien ducks in to say...

Posted November 1
It took me a second to get used to it, but I think it works. Smith isn't substituting words and letters, he's trying to "block" out the foul language.

insomniac puts forth...

Posted November 1
It's his pov so this is what he's experiencing rather than him retelling what he heard

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Rhino swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 1
Don't like it. He tells her he doesn't like it. If this were his diary, OK, I could see it. But it isn't ... just his POV. So, it happens, he hears it, so, the words, as spoken, should be there - because they are what caused his reaction to begin with. Since it is his POV the key is his reaction and what he says to Cady about it. To do otherwise is a writing affectation that takes me out of the story.

If you wanted to show how he self censors in his own mind then maybe doing something like putting profanity in parentheses every time he thinks about what she says ... or some twist on that device ... (profanity), (lord's name in vain), (Profane Rant), etc., might work.

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JBtoo has opinions thus...

Posted November 1
I really hate blanking, it's visually awkward and literarily (!) coy. Either swear or don't swear, but don't pretend you're not swearing when you are.

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted November 1
Yeah, it looks like the nays have it.

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jl mutters...

Posted November 1
My two bits- leave the swearing as Cady does it. Smith is hearing the words, and he doesn't like it. Don't need the blanks.

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WarDog asserts...

Posted November 1
I like Rhino's suggestion. Subsititute (in brackets) Smith's parsing of it.

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DaveC asserts...

Posted November 1
Best reason to substitute - what the hell would the narrator say on the audio book? (Re-read For whom the bell tolls a while back - the whole way through, characters were telling each other to go obscenity themselves...)

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted November 1
Good point.

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Kristophr puts forth...

Posted November 2
Or just have him self censor his own narrative without directly quoting:

Cady narration: "Fuck you!"

Smith narration: Cady yells a foul curse.

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted November 3
I've been something very much like that so far. But when narrating in Smith's PoV it was getting awkward.

insomniac puts forth...

Posted November 3
If you watched Hard Quiz last night the ABC bleeped the 'fuck' Tom Gleeson said but missed the follow up 'pun', 'c--tstomer'

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Girl in Time, Act 2 beta is available

Posted October 26 into Writing by John Birmingham

I planned to hit Act 3 around the 60,000 word mark, but in the way of these things, it took me until 70,000 to get there.
Worth it, though.
Anybody who's reading the beta will see the change in perspective immediately. I shifted Point of View from Cady to Smith, partly to hide some of the narrative scaffolding away where nobody could see it, and partly because I wanted to spend a bit of time inside the head of my other protagonist.
Smith has a very different perspective, and a pleasingly arcane way of expressing himself.
It's now going to take me a day or or to get out of the habit of thinking like him.
Thanks to everybody who's been reading along and offering edits and suggestions. The manuscript is really tightening up. I found myself having to take a break from checking the edits yesterday because I was starting to enjoy reading the text too much.
Always a good sign.
I have the last Act sketched out, not blocked out scene by scene. The next couple of days will go towards that. I hope to have the final Act ready for beta by November 4.

10 Responses to ‘Girl in Time, Act 2 beta is available’

Steve puts forth...

Posted October 26
Not related to AGiT, but thought you would be interested in the following

I was watching a new NBC series called "Timeless", as a result of some WWII time travel, the heroes get back to their present and find out about an Ian Fleming book that was not in the original timeline.

The name of the book is "Weapons of Choice", clearly one of the writers is a fan.

Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted October 26
Hah, that is pretty cool.


John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted October 26
I am officially chuffed.

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w from brisbane reckons...

Posted October 26
I guess your family worked out you were deep into character POV when you said tea was going to be ribeye, soda biscuits and grits.

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted October 26
Amazing effort.

I was listing to the 'No such thing as a fish' podcast and did you know at a gala held in Agatha Christie's honor when asked how she was able to churn out so many books, Christie once called herself “a sausage machine, a perfect sausage machine.”

For many years she was on a tight schedule of two books per year, including one that was always released right before the holiday season, which was marketed as “Christie for Christmas.” Except one particularly prodigious year when she wrote four novels, a collection of short stories and two plays.

Don't know what made me think of that.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon has opinions thus...

Posted October 27
the school boy in me sniggers at her comparison

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DarrenBloomfield asserts...

Posted October 27
It's a thing of beauty. I'm finding it really hard to stop reading it for pleasure and fulfilling my beta function.

Also a good sign.

Can't wait for the "who will play Them in the movie version?" Thread.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted October 27
I'm having great fun writing it.

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Don Bagert is gonna tell you...

Posted October 29
LOL, I went to correct a typo in your post, before remembering that I'm not reading the beta ;-)

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted October 29
This made me chuckle.

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