No writers’ group at school…

Published September 12, 2014 by Iphis of Scyros

None I could find, anyway.  There was something that looked like it might have been one, but it was only for MFA students in English, and it looked to be more of a lectures-by-visiting-novelists than support-your-fellow-writers type of a thing.  Looked around at my regional NaNo board, and didn’t see anything, either.  (Well, that only makes sense, considering it’s September.)

I guess I need to talk to someone in the English department — I think they share the office with us in History, but I’m not even sure of that — and see if there’s a bulletin board I can leave a message on or something.  Because I really want to get some feedback on my novel before I self-publish it, but I have no one to turn to.

At this point, I’m just as worried about the length as I am about the content.  I thought splitting it into two pieces was good enough, length-wise, but I wasn’t counting on my copious Author’s Notes and the all-important Index to Characters, Place Names and Patronymics.  (I feel like I’ve written that sentence before…)  I’ve finished splitting and re-formatting what was supposed to be part one now, and it’s still like 112k long.  That’s ridiculously long.  It’d be a lot shorter if I cut off the Author’s Notes, but…ugh.  I just don’t know what to do.  Because my goal was to write a novel about the Trojan War that was entirely accurate, but of course it’s impossible to be 100% accurate in anything, so I needed to have those notes to point out my inaccuracies and thus not add to the problem, but they make it so long that I’d have to chop it up into three pieces instead of two, and…

Admittedly, my inaccuracies are not the same ones that I’ve found so annoying in every other context.  But…well, actually, it’s the variant versions I’m really worried about.  I don’t always follow the most familiar path, y’know?  So there are things in there that people would likely look at and go “that’s wrong!” when actually it’s not, it’s just not the version they’re used to.

For example, in my novel, Aphrodite is the daughter of Zeus and Dione, rather than having risen fully grown out of the ocean.  Because I’m following the version in the Iliad, not the version in Hesiod.  But the Hesiodic version is the one everyone knows.  And if I had had reason to specify — though I turned out not to — she would not be married to Hephaistos, because in the Iliad he was married to Charis, and I prefer that over the Odyssey‘s version.

And my Thetis tried to make Achilles immortal by smearing him with ambrosia and putting him in the flames on the hearth, not by dipping him in the River Styx.  Because the fire version is the older one.  (Though even older still is not to have her make any such attempt.  There’s nothing like that in the Iliad.)  Also, it’s an easier version to work into my story.  But mostly because it’s older.

So for stuff like that, the Author’s Notes are useful to say “no, I’m not wrong!”  Though I have no idea how many people would read them even if I did leave them there when I published.  For that matter, I have no idea how many people (if any!) would read my book at all.  I don’t know how popular the Trojan War is with the average reading public.

Hmm, looking at my paragraph above about accuracy vs inaccuracy, I suddenly feel like I’ve become both sides of the objective/subjective debate we’ve been talking about in class.  That’s a weird feeling, to say the least.

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