Plot is a literary convention. Story is a force of nature.
-- Teresa Nielsen Hayden
What the former Tor managing editor (now consulting editor) and Making Light blogger says about plot surely applies with even greater force to genre. At least in the familiar sense of 'the genres' in the the book trade, which I have argued are all somewhat arbitrary subgenres of Romance.
As the title suggests, however, this post is about that much more primal literary force, story. To make one long story short, I have been offered a book contract.
The other and more relevant story, Catherine of Lyonesse, is quite a bit longer - 135,000 words (prior to whatever editing will be called for), somewhere around 300-400 pages of the old fashioned physical book it will be. (There will no doubt be an ebook version, too - ebooks have more or less taken the place of the old mass-market paperbacks of yore.)
No need to click over to Amazon.com just yet - getting the contract is only the start of the process. And the pace of the book industry tends to be ... stately.
It will be published as a YA historical fantasy novel by David Fickling Books, perhaps best known in the SF/F 'verse for Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, The Golden Compass et seq. And because the publisher is British, the final version will presumably have colourful spelling and the like.
(And I shall be paid in pounds sterling, which gives me good personal reasons to be annoyed with the Tories, who are fully living up to Walter Bagehot's celebrated description of them as the Stupid Party. And also annoyed with the LibDems, whom an Anglican God evidently created to demonstrate the utter uselessness of third parties. But I digress ...)
The eponymous protagonist, Catherine de Guienne, is a teenage girl, a fact of which she is blissfully unaware, the concept of 'teenager' not yet existing in her Renaissance-esque world. She is also a royal heiress, a fact of which she is all too acutely aware: Its consequences can sometimes be gratifying, but are all too often alarming.
The basic argument for hereditary monarchy is that it averts succession crises. As the recently reported discovery of Richard III's body under a parking lot demonstrates, it has not always been effective in this regard. When the 'apparent' successor is (what we would call) a teenage girl, the succession can be ... problematic. And there are other complications, such as being raised in a foreign court.
There are no space battles. (On a happier note there are no vampires, sparkly or otherwise.) The original draft did have a couple of early 16th century sea battles, which alas ended up on the cutting room floor.
All of which is to say that the book has pretty much nothing to do with the topics I have usually discussed here. Story, as said, is a force of nature, which brushed aside with cool indifference any impulse on my part to write about something else.
Also, I have been holding out on you, my readers, as the book went from wishful thinking to theoretical possibility to impending reality: My agent advised me against a premature announcement. Which explains, whether or not it justifies, my more sporadic posting over the last year. Blogs, like sharks, need to keep moving, but a lot of the topics I most wanted to talk about would make no sense out of context.
I do not intend to wrench Rocketpunk Manifesto entirely away from its existing course, or turn it into a blog about the book. (At some point I will likely as not spin off a Catherine of Lyonesse blog.) But I will certainly re-broaden the scope to more nearly match the topic range asserted at the top of this page, and explore the host of ways in which the book has more in common with space travel than might be obvious at a first glance.
This earlier post offers one example.
As does this one, which includes a snippet from the draft version.
Which is enough for now. Of course I am chuffed, and chuffed people often make themselves boring. I will try to refrain, but make no promises.
The image of the Royal Arms of Lyonesse was created by me - I got the heraldic lions and other detailing from somewhere, but alas I don't recall where.