Posts Tagged ‘Glamour in Glass’

Glamour in Glass: Writing Chapter 6

Chapter 6 was a seriously fun chapter to write.  Why? Because I’m dealing with the part of my world that is entirely made up and the one that excites me most.  Jane visits a school for glamour — which is my magic system.  The thing that often  bugs me about other worlds is that magic seems to have come to a standstill, without anyone inventing new spells.  There’s a big tome and it contains every spell ever known.  In this scene, Jane gets to see a new, experimental use of glamour.

The fun, and also hard part, was to write the explanation of how the glamour worked in such a way as to make it logical within the structure of the world.  I really want the readers to be able to follow way things are done so that the progression of new glamours makes sense.  The tricky thing is that this means that I have to really, really know the deep structure of the whole system.

For instance, it’s an almost entirely illusionary form of magic, but as you’ll see in this first bit of Chapter 6, which is spoiler free, I do allow heating and cooling.

The school that Chastain operated was beyond Jane’s imagining in scale and concept. Seven young men and two young ladies studied with him learning far more than the basic elements of glamour which the young ladies of England were required to know as part of the womanly arts. Aspects of glamour such as the principal of temperature displacement, which Jane had struggled to acquire through books and experimentation, these fortunate few were learning the way another student might learn the catechism, as if it were a simple, solved and knowable problem.

The tricky thing about allowing heating and cooling is that it could open up a can of worms. If it were an easy thing, fire would never have been invented as anything but a natural phenomenon.  Yeah.  That would have changed the entire world.  No fire, means no ready access to charcoal. Means no matches. Means… you get the idea.

I didn’t want to shift the world of the story that far from our world so I needed to put some serious constraints on what the glamour can do.  Heat and cool, yes. But it takes an enormous amount of energy, which means they can only shift temperature a few degrees, and needs to be managed constantly.  This is consistent with both the real world and the magic world.


  • It takes less energy to produce light than it does to start a fire, here, so there’s it makes sense that the same would be true with glamour.
  • In the real world, a thermostat adjusts a furnace or a.c. to maintain a constant temperature in a room, so it’s reasonable to think that you would need to constantly adjust the folds of glamour to keep the temperature level.
  • In the world of glamour I set up that visual glamours become frayed and faded over time.  In the real world, heat is hard on materials, so extrapolating that the folds for heat would degrade faster than visual ones makes sense to me.

But really, all I’m doing is looking at the effect I need and then working backwards to make sure that the foundation under it is supporting that goal.  Most of it is still just smoke and mirrors, like any magic.

I always welcome readers as I’m working, so if you’d like to offer comments as I go along, drop me a line and I’ll give you the password.

Writing Glamour in Glass: Chapter Four

While looking up a detail about period pianos for Chapter Four of Glamour in Glass, I chanced across a comparison of a 19th century piano and a modern piano both playing the same piece, which was eye-opening in terms of the difference in sound. There’s no reason to convey that in the novel, but it’s still an exciting thing to recognize.

Battersea BridgeWhen writing a historical novel there’s a lot of time spent researching the odd bits of details. I tend to write things like, “He declined the opportunity to accompany her saying that he wanted to paint [bridge] and catch the morning light.” Later, I go back, search for the brackets and do spot research to fill in the gaps. In this case, it’s the Battersea Bridge.

Sometimes the detail is a word like “limelight.” If I have doubt, and I did, that the word is in use in 1815, I mark it with brackets rather than stopping the flow of writing. Later, I check the etymology to see if I can use it.

I can’t. Limelights don’t get invented until 1826.

Writing Chapter 3 of Glamour in Glass

Writing Chapter 3 went fairly smoothly, but when I got to Chapter 5 I realized that I’d made a geography error in Chapter 4. To fix that involved going back and laying in some small details in the first two chapters and rewriting the last two pages of Chapter 3 in order to lead in correctly to Chapter 4.

I’ll be able to keep the emotional throughline of Chapter 4, but have to move it to a different location.  Now, I could wait and just make a note that I’m going to fix that, but it’s almost as easy to do the shift now.  Sometimes I do that, just make a note [move this to rose garden] and keep writing as if it’s already there.

In this case, the change of location is also going to change the reactions of some of the characters so I’d rather fix it now becuase the potential for it to cause other changes is large enough that I’ll save effort by doing it now.

I’ve got this puppetry workshop I do in elementary schools where we adapt “The Three Little Pigs” Each group of kids gets to do their own production and make changes to the basic story. The one big rule of adaptation is, “If you change one thing, it changes everything else.”

True in puppet shows. True in SF worldbuilding. True in moving scenic locations.

Here’s a snippet of Chapter 3

Jane nodded, as she followed his train of thought. “The twist of the glamour creates, in essence, two layers of fabric that keep the interior from being either a mirror or a dark sphere. And you think a jacquard would enhance the effect?”

Writing Chapter 2 of Glamour in Glass

I got sort of crazy amounts of writing done over the weekend, considering that I was at a con.  Chapter 1 had given me fits, because I had some historical figures on stage.  I’d hit a roadblock because I felt like I hadn’t done enough research, so I went off, did that and came back.

But! I was still stuck.  I looked at the scene again.  The historical figures weren’t the problem at all! It was just dull. I backed up and asked myself the usual helpful question, “What does Jane want?” and then thought about ways to deny her that.  Things went much better after that.

In fact, I’ve been writing almost a chapter a day.

Here’s a snippet from the beginning of Chapter 2 of Glamour in Glass.

Jane’s discomfiture was not due to any unkindness on the part of Lord Lumley, on the contrary, it was his very solicitousness that caused her some tiny distress. He was everything that is agreeable in a dinner conversationalist, witty without being cruel, knowledgeable without being showy, and gracious in when to listen.

Glamour in Glass

I just finished Chapter 1 of Glamour in Glass and am starting to dive into Chapter 2. With Shades of Milk and Honey, I posted the first three chapters in the clear as I wrote them and then password protected the rest.  All you get today is the first line. Why? Because the third line has an immediate spoiler for Shades.

There are few things in this world which can simultaneously delight and dismay in the same manner as a formal dinner party.

BUT because I loved having you read along as I wrote Shades, I’ll be putting up the chapters in password protected posts. (With editorial permission)

Want the password? All you have to do is contact me. If you remember the password for Shades of Milk and Honey, include that and my email will autorespond with the Glamour in Glass password.

Outlining Glamour in Glass

Friday, I turned in the full outline for Glamour in Glass, the sequel to Shades of Milk and Honey. I wrote it differently than I’ve done the outlines for the other novels, which tended to be linear.

This time, I set down the scenes/chapters that I knew had to be there — about fifteen — and then filled in the spaces around them with the pieces that I needed in order to get from point to point.  Actually, I think I’ve done that unconciously before in that I’d add things to outlines after I started writing.  I expect some flexing will happen with this one too, but it feels more solid than other outlines have.

It might also be a product of writing an outline to make sense to someone besides me.  For myself, I only need the line, “Interesting scene with local characters,” to remind myself that for pacing I’ll need a comic scene in a certain place. But it’s  almost meaningless to someone else so I fleshed those out.

Granted, one chapter summary does consist of a single word and an exclamation point, but, you know, there still have to be some details I get to discover as I’m writing it.