1. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402

    Lew's Progress Journal

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by Lew, Jan 20, 2016.

    Finished first draft of "The Eagle and the Dragon: A Novel of Rome and China" last fall. Completed three personal edits, currently 250K words/830 pages. 25 beta readers loved it and two professional editors liked what they saw. Professional editors reviewed synopses, first four chapters plus synopses of remaining 76 chapters. Paid pro made very good recommendations this week, about half already incorporated, mostly easy changes. She loved initial and accidental meeting with pirate in Alexandria bar. I think I will have her do the full Monty ($$$!). POV for one chapter, and make Ch 2 (Tribune's detachment brief with his legion commander) less tautological, drop some more narrative. She likes "voice" of MC, though she has only seen him a few times.

    Got a cover layout, and had a native speaker sanity check the writing on the banner (traditional Chinese script), without knowing what I intended it to say: "West (ern) Harmony" so good to go with that, graphic artist making it pretty.
     
    kateamedeo and KhalieLa like this.
  2. KhalieLa
    Offline

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    390
    Location:
    United States
    Hope all goes well for you.
    I still don't have a decent title, let alone reason to worry about cover art yet. . . Someday . . .
     
  3. kateamedeo
    Offline

    kateamedeo Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    Messages:
    148
    Likes Received:
    80
    Location:
    Cornwall, UK
    Congrats on your progress! :) Will you share the cover design?
     
  4. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    Tonight, kateamedeo! It is a rough draft, so not pretty yet, someone else is taking care of that.

    Background is a period map of the known world @100AD. I originally used Ptolemy's which doesn't quite look right... I am going to substitute Pliny's which is more accurate and recognizable. On the map is their sea route. On the left is the Eagle standard of the 12th Fulminata (Lightning Bolt) Legion, from which my two soldiers were detached to go on the expedition to China. On the right is a staff with entwining dragon at the top, yellow vertical banner with Chinese traditional characters "Western Harmony" which figures in the story as the banner of the Gan Ying expedition to Rome. The latter is historically correct, though the banner is fictional.
     
  5. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    Attached.... just a rough sketch of where I want to go.
     

    Attached Files:

    KhalieLa likes this.
  6. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    Edited 10 of 80 chapters in Rev 3. Since I had two Gaius', the officer and his cousin the Senator, I changed the latter's name to Aulus. Previously, I had to be careful how people referred to him, either not using his name at all (hey you with no name), cousin (Gaius Lucullus only), Senator (way too formal after their jailbreak), or Gaius Aemilius (also too formal and wordy), and always speech-tagged him by his last name Galba (inappropriate for the era). Now he is Senator Aulus Aemilius Galba (very formal in the Senate) Senator Aulus Aemilius (a little less formal in the Senate, after introduction), Aulus Aemilius (formal) or just Aulus (close friends, which they all become). On occasion, "Galba" when, after jailbreak, being trained by the centurion for fighting: "Galba, hold that god-cursed sword like you intend to kill someone with it!" Speech tag is Aulus.

    1st chapter was changed from straight narration to interior dialogue by Senator Galba, hoping that the emperor would introduce the funding request to build his ships, because he had already mortgaged his flagship to reserve space in Myos Hormos shipyard for ships' construction, non-refundable. Adds a little tension, while he observes what I previously described.

    He now has reason to visit his flagship the Aeneas in Alexandria 2 years later in subsequent chapter. Besides showing her off to his companions (not the ship they will travel in), there are issues on mortgage paperwork.

    Myos Hormos was previously dead chapter, miserable accommodations and hot weather, nothing else happened, candidate for deletion. Instead rewritten extensively: nice accommodations appropriate for a Senator compliments of two female shipping magnates, the Aeliae Isidora and Olympias (actual historical people, women who were among the wealthiest shipowners and Indian Ocean merchants in MH), recovering from Isidora the lien on Aeneas. Olympias had wintered over in India to set up warehouse, as had the Senator earlier, to buy goods in off-season while cheap and store them until shipping season opened: "She is off stealing one of your very good ideas, Aulus Aemilius!". It was their shipyard that he had contracted to build the ships Europa, Asia and Africa, now in final staging of fitting out, explaining how that happened without him having to be on site for several years. A chance to demonstrate that women in the first century could rise to positions of power in business, important to how my fictional women develop. A little fiction in how the two might have come by the business, as nobody seems to know: the two take their debut on the historical stage in a brief temple inscription, not further explained, and subsequently disappear. The name Aelia Isidora reappears on a Christian tomb in catacombs in St Agnes in Rome sometime later, the same person or different? Maybe another story there.

    Pirate Ibrahim receives letter somewhere south of there, alerting him of Roman navy triremes escorting the convoy as far as Socotra, forcing change of plans (old, no change). Added to this chapter his growing distrust of his partner Hasdrubal, the Senator's shipping master, and the possibility that he could be double crossed. Needs contingency plan (not yet figured out), which is well-covered later when executed. Now we know when it started, and what he feared might come of the double cross: Hasdrubal would go for all three ships, and get rid of Ibrahim.
     
  7. KhalieLa
    Offline

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    390
    Location:
    United States
    Sounds like you've been busy.
     
  8. furzepig
    Offline

    furzepig Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2016
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    I really like the premise of this story. :) My ancient history knowledge is near non-existent, so I don't know if Rome ever actually did contact China (I'm thinking that was Marco Polo later . . .) but it would be fascinating to watch those two cultures interact.

    Sounds like you have a lot of characters . . . which one is your MC?
     
  9. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    Couple of hours a night, KhalieLa... damn day job!

    Actually, furzepig, there was a lot of contact between Rome and China. This story is centered around a fictional Roman response to the real Gan Ying expedition to Rome in 97AD. Most historians believe Gan Ying didn't arrive in Rome, but was detoured by the Parthians to go by sea around Arabia, clearly the wrong direction. I had them be picked in Eudaemon Arabia (Aden) and shipped off to Rome to meet with Trajan, so this might be a bit of alternative history. Gan Ying's report on Rome indicated that "Da Qin emperors were selected by merit," and in fact Trajan was the only emperor ever so selected, by the Senate to replace the incompetent Nerva. He also described their cities, roads and rule of law very favorably. So I hang my hat on his report. His report also noted that "the Anxi Parthians did not want the Da Qin Romans to have direct contact with China," and that is one of the central sources of conflict in this book. The Romans also had a mission to China in 166AD that actually sought their alliance against Parthia, but an ensuing global plague, perhaps smallpox, collapsed the whole globalized world of the time and nothing came of it. Thereafter global trade fell far off. Han China, Bactria and Parthia collapsed, followed a few centuries later by Rome. Then the rise of Islam and the Dark Ages left Europe cut off from far Asia until Marco Polo

    Rome did about $400M in oceanic trade with China in the 1st century, mostly via India, importing silk, artwork and Chinese iron which was considered superior, according to Pliny.

    Roman maps correctly located key places on the Chinese border, such as Kashgar (Kasi), and the "Stone Towers" of Strabo is probably the Irkeshtam Pass into Kyrgyzstan 70 miles from there, easy entry across the Pamirs at 12K feet, then along the Alay Valley @7K ft to Bagram (then the Bactrian summer capital, now the Afghan airbase), AKA then as "Alexandria on the Caucasus" My guys take that route back traveling with a caravan. Fun with those! How did a first century caravan work? How did they handle security for their valuable cargos? Did they take "passengers," and if so why? What kind of people ran them?

    You could travel from the Atlantic coast of Spain to the Pacific coast of China overland and never be outside of four very wealthy civilizations, Rome, Parthia, Bactria (Central Asia centered on Afghanistan) and China. Parthian, Aramaic and Greek languages would get you through Bactria, but you should be picking up some Bactrian (ancestor to Tajik/Dari/Pashto/Urdu, related to Parthian) by then as Greek will fade out going around the Tarim Basin/Taklamakan, then you will need Chinese.

    Yeah, most people didn't know the 1st century was as globalized as it was.

    There are four MCs, Senator Aulus Aemilius Galba leading the expedition, Ibrahim the Arab pirate who hijacks one of Galba's ships, then forms an unlikely alliance with the two Roman soldiers Gaius Lucullus and Antonius Aristides on board (the Senator is on another ship, elsewhere as this taking place). In China he winds up rescuing Galba's entire party when Parthian intrigue gets them condemned to death in Luoyang. He helps them escape overland back to Rome, becoming the hero who eventually dies gallantly. Antonius is a centurion, who undergoes a lot of changes in his attitudes toward women, eventually marrying Marcia Lucia, Chinese name Si Huar, the Chinese translator of Roman ancestry and female major character, who changes more than all others put together. And a lot of others, including characters tied to specific areas, who play brief but significant and interesting roles.

    I define my MCs as those who undergo some significant change, and these all do, big time. Gaius Lucullus, the senior officer that I thought would be my MC begins as confident, good leader, close friends to the centurion, devoted to his people and to his wife and children whom he seldom sees, competent, efficient, likable... but that is how he exits the story, so no change. Galba? He begins as a likable, wealthy, portly 50 year old Senator, a shipping magnate in the Eastern Med/Indian Ocean trade, a deal-maker, risk-taker... he comes back 50 pounds lighter, tough, muscular, has had his life on the line a couple of times, and killed several people in close combat. Somewhere in Central Asia, money and power ceased to have the same meaning for him.

    Its a 15,000 mile tour through a fascinating world!
     
    KhalieLa likes this.
  10. furzepig
    Offline

    furzepig Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2016
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Wow, I had no idea about any of that! I'm a history geek myself, but I focus on a much later period. How long do you think your book will be, or are you going to make a series of it?
     
  11. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    It is 250K words @ 800 pages right now, in 3rd revision. Essentially complete, nothing coming out. But if necessary I will break it into two baooks after the jailbreak in Luoyang, as they are trying to head back to Rome "Which way?" "West." "How far?" "Don't know but expect it will take a while." words to that effect, potential ending for book 1. I have a had a lot of fun with this.
     
    KhalieLa likes this.
  12. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    Update. After minor editing some chapters, recast the chapter of the ship recovering from a violent storm.

    Background before the rewrite, the ship was hijacked, the Roman soldiers overpowered and chained in the hold. The centurion suffered a head injury from a sling stone and was out 36 hours, but hard-headed enough to avoid any residual injury now except a huge goose egg and splitting headache. As the storm is building, the pirate frees the Romans, saying even they don't deserve to drown chained in a hold... but he will throw them overboard if they cause problems. Still ruthless, but first glimmer that humanity lurks beneath. In course of storm, pirate establishes himself as superior seaman, guiding ship skillfully through each wave, but then swept overboard, clinging to sea anchor tether. Antonius the centurion rescues him, feeling he may be bastard, but he wants him at the helm if they want to see morning. Pirate grateful.

    Next chapter previously was narrative discussion of damage to ship next day and repairs in progress. Changed it to what Antonius does/sees.

    Ist para opens like Antonius is torturing some sailor, pulling leg while making bones grind again while man screams. Ignores it, doing what he has to do. 2nd para he is setting broken leg, engages the bones, slaps the lad on the chest, promises he will be chasing ladies before he knows it, tells helpers to splint like others. Centurion is also field medic, capsularius; he's done this before. Next patient? Quartermaster says no more. Can't remember name of quartermaster, too tired, headache too bad to care. Wanders off to galley to see if food available yet, not eaten in a day, then find somewhere to sleep. Storm has subsided, sunny day with restless swells, gusty wind, ship riding on sea anchors, bare poles. Shouts, hammering, banging as sailors repair damage. Steering oars smashed, unshipped on deck, carpenters inspecting. Gaping holes in siderails patched with rope, sails all over the deck to dry/be repaired, sailmakers at work. Passes hold where they were confined, five or six feet deep with water, glad the pirate released them, they really would have drowned. Crew is working reciprocating seesaw pumps to empty forward/aft holds, water gushing overside through leather hoses with each stroke. Leather sea anchors (about 100 gallons capacity) used as buckets on cargo hoists to help dewater holds. Galley is serving yesterday's waterlogged bread, ten sodden drowned goats, laid out for cleaning. Looks like goat for breakfast, lunch and dinner next several days. Fire lit for evening meal is promising.

    Same as what was described before, but more personal, more emotions, than third person seat of God description.
     
  13. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    Engaged my paid editor! Now... can I take the criticism?????
     
    KhalieLa likes this.
  14. MsParrish
    Offline

    MsParrish New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Home state of Charles Schulz
    I hope this went well for you.
     
  15. MsParrish
    Offline

    MsParrish New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Home state of Charles Schulz
    Beware: The bulk of paid editors are charlatans, looking to make a buck off the desperate.
     
  16. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    Used a cheap synopsis edit to see what I was getting first. Liked what she suggested, so engaged for full edit.
     
  17. KhalieLa
    Offline

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    390
    Location:
    United States
    I love hearing from you. It reminds me there is hope!
    Keep us posted on how the process goes. I'm going to try to find a copy editor as well so I'm interested in learning from your experience~
     
  18. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    Per MsParrish, copy editors can be expansive and of varying reliability. I first paid for a synopsis edit, which is the first 40 pages, plus synopses of the remaining chapters, about 2 chapters per page. This gave her an idea what sort of shape the work was in, and gave me a feel for how much value she would add to the work. I was pleased, so I commit to a full edit is not cheap. But at least I feel that I will get my money's worth, and if I publish this year, it is tax-deductible.

    And I love hearing from you also!
     
  19. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    FINISHED REV 3! Gave to copy editor. Down to 242K words and 805 pages, without changing much. Now it's Miller time (except I drink Baltika)
     
    KhalieLa likes this.
  20. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    Got a great review from a beta reader who not only gave enthusiastic comments, but also good recommendations for areas needing fixing. Gestating, and will take my time implementing, but we will definitely take her comments aboard. Bactria took up 27K words, more than 10% of the story, so my wife might have been right, I was fighting finishing the story!
     
    KhalieLa likes this.
  21. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    Waiting for my editor to finish her ministrations, due 1 April.

    Working on website, hope to have it on line this week. Had some inordinate trouble with a low-level graphic issue, but it is solved now. Last remaining thing is to do is set up a contact page. I think I want to have a registration button, that will allow people to leave e-mails for notification when "The Eagle and the Dragon" is published. I can promise them a signed copy!

    Waiting for other TACAMO "True Believers" to submit their chapters for that WIP. Like herding cats! There will be a community reunion in Hawaii in September, and I was hoping that I would have a draft by then, but response has been slow!!!

    Started "The Flood," the next historical fiction WIP, a story that ties together a fictional Black Sea civilization flooded out when the Bosporus opened 7500 years ago. Ties together the biblical flood and Garden of Eden with Atlantis, and the spread of the three main Eurasian language families. After all, they had several thousand years from the end of the Ice Age till the flood. Could they have reached the level of Greece and Rome? Right now, they are concerned about the increasingly deteriorating Firmament above the city of Shem.

    Got a good review on "Come, Follow Me," a short story about a visit Jesus made with Pilate on the day of His resurrection. I wonder what they would have talked about? He liked it a lot, so I think I will maybe stick my toe in the self-publishing field with that one. It's about 30 pages. Any suggestions?

    And today I have 16 days left with my day job. Going part time (<23 hrs/week) cuz I want to keep my finger in the TACAMO engineering pie, but after a half century it is time to stand down from navy work.
     
    KhalieLa likes this.
  22. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    And oh, yes, my wife began her WIP, about 20 pages into a fantasy about packs of shape-shifting wolves living among humans... Interesting twist, her female protagonist narrates in the first person when she is in her wolf persona, but third limited when human. It is interesting to watch this work. Conflicts emerging!
     
    Catrin Lewis likes this.
  23. KhalieLa
    Offline

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    390
    Location:
    United States
    You've been incredibly busy and I'll admit to being a little jealous. I often think work is horribly inconvenient and gets in the way of my writing.
     
  24. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    My website is up!

    Please visit https://www.lewis-mcintyre.com and like my stuff!
     
  25. Lew
    Offline

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    402
    Make that http:\\www.lewis-mcintyre.com. The secure https will generate certificate errors that you have to bull your way through.
     

Share This Page