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Writing a Trilogy – Communication

In Isabella’s time communication was by messenger and letters, written on parchment and vellum and the seals were all important. She treasured hers as Queen of England. Actually a gold matrix that is still in the archives in Angoulême. The seal is the wax impression. Interestingly the wax was often green not red. The matrix was kept in an embroidered pouch, and this one is from 1280 and belonged to Edward 1st, her grandson.

1280 Seal Bag

And manuscripts often had to be repaired by a method almost like crude and stout darning.

Medieval manuscript repair


And a manuscript today, for we still use that word, even though it is created with a keyboard on a PC and can be sent as an attachment with an email, a manuscript today has to be repaired, not to have literal holes mended, but to be proof read, copy edited and sometimes there is a structural edit too. For something as long as a trilogy the latter becomes important.


Checking proofs

A structural edit can help the writer with the overarching story, can see where plot has become confused, where a character’s development has fallen by the wayside, or in my case where I neatly tied up each chapter, leaving no real reason to read on. Once this had been pointed out to me I had the best writing time of all, scouring the chapters and finding ways of making the story zip along, with cliff hangers to tempt on the reader. And it seems to have worked; readers have told me that Part 2 and 3 are very exciting, almost like a thriller, that they couldn’t put it down.

I did not set out to write a trilogy, I always knew there would be a Part 2 but I wrote and wrote and wrote and the pages grew. A few squeaks from the publisher about how it would be too big and unwieldy to produce. Could I cut it in half, make it into two books? What! Cut my baby in half? But then I found I could, and a friend who was reading the raw manuscript came to the same conclusion as I did about where it could be divided. So with some new chapters added at the end of what was now Part 2 and at the beginning of what was now Part 3, a trilogy was born. And I love it! The three covers together look just right and the story is full of all the historical events and facts I wanted to bring in, plus all the domestic details of life in 13th century France and England. Costume, food, childbirth and betrothals. For the larger events there were sieges and sea voyages, military campaigns, plots and spies.

Ex Pat Radio interview with @LaineEleslaine on @TheArtsShow1 now available on Podcast … where Erica talks about the final part of her Tangled Queen trilogy and so much more besides! #ExPatRadio #TangledQueen #TheArtsShow #HistoricalFiction.

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