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Ms. Haeger writes historical fiction.
2/9/98 6:58:56 PM Opening "Chat Log 2/9/98"
Sushiwritr: Tonight we'll be hosting historical fiction author Diane Haeger. She sould be arriving soon.
DarylR4596: Wow, great timing, Paul. :D
Valatin: A log of tonight's chat will be uplaoded to the file libraries.
Sushiwritr: Ah! Even as I speak. :-)
Valatin: Then the mystery folk will scoot. Night all :>
Sushiwritr: Ben, I emailed you a proposed "greeting."
Sushiwritr: Anyone who wishes, plese do stick around!!!
FalcnEdie: how's that?
Sushiwritr: I've been IMed!
DLHaeger: Paul, maybe it'll just be you and me this evening. :)
FalcnEdie: I'm ready :-)
Sushiwritr: Our crowd tends to trickle in over the first few minutes . . .
Sushiwritr: Sarah is here!
DLHaeger: Just a bit of levity. :)
FalcnEdie: I'm here! I'm here! <waving arms enthusiastically>
TatumVe: hello hello
DLHaeger: Evening, Edie. Or do you prefer Falcn? <g>
Sushiwritr: Shall we begin?
Sushiwritr: <--I'm Paul, he's Ben.
FalcnEdie: Ben :-) thanks
FalcnEdie: I'm undercover
FalcnEdie: that's why the Groucho mask
Sushiwritr: I'm running the Log for posterity.
Sushiwritr: Well, *I* have a question or two.
FalcnEdie: Posterity is late again, huh?
DLHaeger: Since I'm here. :)
Sushiwritr: Perhaps I'll delegate myself to start things rolling, eh?
DLHaeger: Go right ahead Paul.
AnacondaOz: Hi there
Sushiwritr: In "Pieces of April" you use a lot of Scottish brogue.
Sushiwritr: (Hi Judy!)
Sushiwritr: We've had tremendous arguments about "writing" accents.
DLHaeger: Irish brogue, Scottish burr. But, yes, I did.
DLHaeger: How so?
Sushiwritr: How to you do this and maintain readability?
FalcnEdie: hi Judy :-)
Sushiwritr: Where IS everyone???
FalcnEdie: Hi Sarah :-)
Sushiwritr: Not even many surfers tonite.
TatumVe: Hey Ben
Sushiwritr: How to you do this and maintain readability?
DLHaeger: I'm not sure I know what you mean. My characters don't use it exclusively...
DLHaeger: But in the case of Pieces of April where part is set in Scotland and the other part in the..
Sushiwritr: Some of our members have used, we decided, an excess of jargon, slang, etc.
DLHaeger: U.S. I wanted readrs to be very clear on who was speaking and to "see" how it would...
DLHaeger: sound, if that makes sense.
Sushiwritr: Yes, and you did it well. :-)
Sushiwritr: But accents, if written literally, can be very dense.
DLHaeger: I agree. And so my goal was not to be terribly literal but to give the...
DLHaeger: reader the sense that they were hearing Scottish people speak, not Americans.
Sushiwritr: Thanks. (Hello Matt, Donna. Questions?)
DLHaeger: Without a bit of the burr, I don't feel the sensation of "being" in Scotland as you read...
DLHaeger: would have been there.
Mstrebe: (nope.) (is this a whisper?)
Sushiwritr: Aye, me lassie.
DLHaeger: Most mail I've gotten has indicated that people didn't feel I hit them over the head with it
DRLIVES: Hi, have we discussed research...sorry that I'm late, but I'd like to know how Diane does
DLHaeger: Hi DR. Well, it depends whether I'm doing a historical or a contemporary really.
Sushiwritr: Donna, ga.
DLHaeger: But with few exceptions, the first thing that works for me, is that I really...
DRLIVES: How are they different in the method?
DLHaeger: must go to the locations in which I set the story.
DLHaeger: Well, research for an historical, especially my based-in-fact novels (my 1st 2)...
DLHaeger: required a huge amount of historical knowledge, costume, music...
DLHaeger: etc. They also took me a lot longer.
DLHaeger: For the contemporaries, I still visit the country, work on dialogue, as we were just ...
DLHaeger: discussing, etc... but the lengths to which I need to go are not quite as great nor...
DLHaeger: as time consuming.
DLHaeger: DR, was there some particular aspect of research you were wondering about?
DRLIVES: do you worry about putting in too much background information, and how do you keep it all
DLHaeger: For the historicals, you mean?
DRLIVES: yes, although both, could be a problem
DLHaeger: That was always a challenge and I usually over wrote. LOL
DRLIVES: and then the pruning shears?
DLHaeger: Courtesan, my 1st novel was bought at 1,200 pages! Simon&Schuster
AnacondaOz: it must take ages
DLHaeger: then asked *me* to cut up the baby I'd spent 4 years creating!
AnacondaOz: (Hi people)
Sushiwritr: <--wow, had heard first novels could never be so long!
DRLIVES: and your enthusiasm stayed fresh?
DLHaeger: Oz, I think I'm a bit better at it now, but in the beginning it was really hard.
DLHaeger: I took editors at their word to just tell the story until I was finished. LOL
DLHaeger: Not the way I approach the task nowadays!
DLHaeger: DR, if the story is compelling enough, and I really get into the characters, yes, then...
DLHaeger: the enthusiasm is there.
FalcnEdie: have you ever had historical research create a serious kink in your story line?
AnacondaOz: good question
FalcnEdie: I mean, in the original concept versus the end result
DLHaeger: Sure. Absolutely. In Courtesan the "hero" as they call it dies in the end.
DLHaeger: Not great for historical romance. Nor was the fact that at one
DLHaeger: point he also fathered a child by another woman, who was not my heroine.
DLHaeger: Getting around 2 hurdles like that, and still making you cheer for him and them...
Sushiwritr: Readers would scream at "fudging," I suppose.
DLHaeger: felt like a huge challenge.
DLHaeger: Well, you know, I just told the story in that one. I didn't know enough to fudge, to be...
DLHaeger: honest with you. I was just totally driven to tell the true French
DLHaeger: story to an American audience. Fortunately for me, S&S liked it as it was.
DLHaeger: Plus, there are always readers who write and correct you, so you're right about that!
Sushiwritr: (Guys, don't make Donna ask *all* the questions!)
DRLIVES: I can imagine!
FalcnEdie: gotta love those who pay attention
DLHaeger: Or curse them! LOL
DLHaeger: Just kidding!
Sushiwritr: Judy, GA
AnacondaOz: You said that you want the readers to cheer for the hero/heroine....is this always on your
AnacondaOz: mind as you write?
DLHaeger: I think, yes. But not in the way a romance writer is constrained by it.
DLHaeger: I want readers to love my characters. To care about them.
DLHaeger: But because I don't write straight romance anymore, I don't need
DLHaeger: to write only about white knights and damsels in distress.
DLHaeger: I like people with flaws.
AnacondaOz: So, making people love the flaws is a challenge?
DLHaeger: Not love the flaws, but feel compelled by the characters who have them.
DLHaeger: Want to know them.
Mstrebe: Making people love the people in spite of the flaws would be the challenge, I think.
DLHaeger: I didn't enjoy writing about perfect people who always end up blissfully happy.
AnacondaOz: no, that would be a drag
FalcnEdie: how about history taking you someplace more intersting than the original idea?
FalcnEdie: for instance, once when I was introducing an alcoholic (1700) I discovered it was not at all
FalcnEdie: thought of or treated as today
FalcnEdie: not entire story, just a scene or situation
DLHaeger: Ms, I try not to make the flaws so awful that you would have to love them in spite of them.
DLHaeger: I just think flawed people are more interesting most of the time.
Sushiwritr: Typo, GA
Typosarus: What is the one major difference in what you write now and your first book?
DLHaeger: My first book was a sweeping historical saga based on a true story...
DLHaeger: I am now under contract to write shorter contemporary fiction with a bit of mystery.
DLHaeger: So that's a pretty major difference.
Typosarus: Thank you, yes it is very different. GA
DLHaeger: And takes a *lot* less time!
DLHaeger: 9 months instead of 4 years, to be exact!
Sushiwritr: DR, GA
DRLIVES: Why did you make the switch? Is that part of what you said in your bio on keeping up with
DRLIVES: the times? GA
DLHaeger: Yes, I think so. Courtesan was a very difficult sell even 5 yrs ago...
DLHaeger: It was long, set in France (not a favorite country editorially)...
DLHaeger: and as I said earlier, the hero dies in the end.
DLHaeger: But more than that, contemporaries have proven much more bankable.
Sushiwritr: Sushi, GA ;-)
DLHaeger: I mean from the publishing aspect!
Sushiwritr: The question that's always asked: do you use an Agent? Did you get one first?
DLHaeger: Although, actually, if it takes me less time and I sell more books.. LOL
DLHaeger: Yes. Absolutely...
DLHaeger: I know the debate. People ask me all the time if I really think they are ...
DLHaeger: necessary. My answer after being involved in this for a while now is...
DLHaeger: that sometimes they are a necessary evil...
Sushiwritr: <-- seeking Agent as we speak. :-)
DLHaeger: You pay them a percentage right off the top, but a good agent simply...
DLHaeger: has contacts that most of us don't.
Sushiwritr: Gusto, GA
DLHaeger: They can also be a good line of editorial help too, if you get one who does that.
Gusto2writ: some agents charge 10% others 15,
Gusto2writ: what do you think is fair?/
DLHaeger: Most NY agencies I know of charge 15%. That's pretty standard.
DLHaeger: It hurts to pay it, to be honest with you, but as I said before...
DLHaeger: the contacts they have, and the knowledge of what your book is worth...
DLHaeger: is in my opinion worth the investment.
Sushiwritr: Let's give Rp a first shot: Rp GA
Rpanthr: where can someone just starting find an honest agent
DLHaeger: It can also cut your time in an editor's to-be-read pile, in half or better.
DLHaeger: Hmm. That is tough. My first one was not, so I understand the concern...
DLHaeger: I think the best thing to do, literally, is to ask around.
DLHaeger: Listen in on these sorts of conversations, ask published authors who their agents are...
Rpanthr: and if you dont know who to ask?
DLHaeger: Also, in The Writer's Market, they often list the clients particular houses...
DLHaeger: represent. I wouldn't imagine really successful authors would..
Sushiwritr: (I'm combing the Writer's Digest listings. )
DLHaeger: stay with anyone other than a really reputable agent.
Sushiwritr: DR, GA
DRLIVES: Rpanthr asked my question. Am I asking too many questions, Paul? ;-]
DLHaeger: Paul, that's what I did in the beginning, honestly.
DLHaeger: And there's a risk involved.
DLHaeger: But I also signed a short contract at first.
Sushiwritr: Good idea. Donna, yer doing great. Typo, GA
Typosarus: Given free rein (and a healthy advance) where would you begin to write an original story?
Typosarus: Character? plot? setting?
DLHaeger: Wow! If I knew that!!! LOL...
DLHaeger: Well, Scotland and Britain are still huge sellers...
Typosarus: So setting is the biggest consideration?
DLHaeger: As to character, plot and setting, I wouldn't want to go giving any million selling ideas...
DLHaeger: away, just in case!
DLHaeger: I will say that suspense and mystery are supposedly really the...
DLHaeger: "sure thing", as they say, if it's well written and compelling.
Sushiwritr: ? and GA to me:
Sushiwritr: You began "April" with a NT Bible quote.
Sushiwritr: I'd think that would make an east coast publisher leery.
DLHaeger: LOL... Why is that?
Sushiwritr: Not being "pc" and all that . . .
Sushiwritr: Heck, schools are about to celebrate "Special Persons Day" this weekend.
DLHaeger: Well, what can I say? Not HarperCollins, apparently! <g>
Sushiwritr: Amen to them, then. ;-)
DLHaeger: That's funny, Paul! Actually, I know what you mean. But in the...
DLHaeger: case of that particular novel, so much is tied up in religious faith...
DLHaeger: and, if you'll pardon the word, "sin" that it just seemed to fit.
Sushiwritr: Comes with the package, then.
DLHaeger: I think so, yes.
Sushiwritr: I note many more Catholics than others, in the role.
DLHaeger: I don't always use quotes.
Sushiwritr: I wonder why that is?
DLHaeger: But sometimes they just seem to want to be there.
DLHaeger: "In the role"?
Sushiwritr: Of a religious character.
Sushiwritr: Many Priests, few pastors.
Sushiwritr: (Ditto for TV)
DLHaeger: Well, let's face it, Catholics are the only ones not allowed to marry or be sexual beings.
Mstrebe: (got to bail--great discussion. Thanks Ms. Haeger.)
DLHaeger: That in itself creates the conflicts in many instances.
Sushiwritr: Makes for story tension, then?
DLHaeger: Night Mstrebe! :)
Typosarus: (It's the easily recognized collar)
DLHaeger: It's probably the easiest form of it, yes.
DLHaeger: And I think the collar is kind of another taboo past which we don't tread...
Sushiwritr: DR, GA
DRLIVES: When you first start out, do you know the end of the story?
DLHaeger: It probably wouldn't have has much punch if the hero had been a Presbyterian minister, able
DLHaeger: to marry.
DRLIVES: How far do you get into a detailed plot line?
DLHaeger: DR, not always, actually. That's a great question...
DLHaeger: Because often there is a point for me when the characters take...
DLHaeger: over their own story, if they're full enough that is, and sometimes...
DLHaeger: the end I envisioned for them is not the one they want. I don't know...
DLHaeger: how much sense that makes, but it does happen to a lot of authors.
DLHaeger: DR, I'm pretty detailed, actually. But the finished product is rarely close to what I began.
DRLIVES: oh good! that happens to me, too.
DLHaeger: There are other authors I know who stay with it all the way, and that works for them.
DLHaeger: DR, I actually think it's the more common scenario, really.
DLHaeger: Because there's so much creativity involved, I don't think I'd want to stick to a format...
DLHaeger: that closely.
Sushiwritr: Whoops! DR got bumped. Ana, GA
DLHaeger: Oh, dear. :(
AnacondaOz: Do you enjoy writing?
DLHaeger: It'd be a pretty thankless job a lot of the time if I didn't! LOL
DLHaeger: Seriously, I do enjoy making a story from nothing, creating people, etc...
DLHaeger: Once it's finished anyway. Earlier on, it can really torment an author.
AnacondaOz: So, if writing is your career, is it a thankless job sometimes?
Sushiwritr: (Dr's back.)
DLHaeger: It can feel like it at 4am, sure.
DLHaeger: And if you write 1 book a year, there's 1 month of notoriety, and 11
AnacondaOz: Everything takes application.
DLHaeger: months of discipline, research and a lot of solitude to pull it off.
Imaginit1: What are the titles of some of the books that you have written?GA
DLHaeger: And it can be difficult sometimes. Especially if you're at a stage in the work...
DLHaeger: where you feel it isn't working, or you just aren't getting it.
DLHaeger: I have 4 novels published: Courtesan, The Return, Angel Bride...
DLHaeger: Pieces of April. And on June 5th, Beyond The Glen will be released.
DLHaeger: Thanks for asking, by the way! :)
DLHaeger: Paul, for you, that's a bit more Scottish burr coming in June! <g>
DLHaeger: Hopefully it won't seem like *too* much!
Sushiwritr: We have an anonymous question for you.
Sushiwritr: How shall I put it?
DLHaeger: Hmm. Those can be dangerous! :)
Sushiwritr: Have you quit your day job?
DLHaeger: Yes, actually, I've been fairly fortunate with my writing and it has been my...
DLHaeger: full time job since Courtesan was published.
Sushiwritr: ::turning green with envy:::
DLHaeger: Well thanks. But that's why talking with folks like you is so much fun...
DLHaeger: because as I said earlier, even though I've done well with it, it's a fairly...
Sushiwritr: Yup, the hour has already wheeled by, and it's late,
DLHaeger: solitary profession most of the time.
Sushiwritr: for those who are stuck Back East.
Sushiwritr: Typo, GA, quick!
Typosarus: Hundreds write few are published What made the difference for you?
DLHaeger: That's easy. Having a story I felt absolutely driven to tell.
DLHaeger: I was possessed by it for four years.
Sushiwritr: I know the feeling.
DLHaeger: Thankfully, I guess, it showed in the writing.
DLHaeger: I'd love to hear about it sometime Paul!
Sushiwritr: Do you have time for Ima's ?
FalcnEdie: hmmm I've got just four years into mine now
DLHaeger: And please feel free to e-mail me if anyone here didn't feel comfortable...
DLHaeger: asking questions out loud.
Sushiwritr: Ima, GA
FalcnEdie: 700 pages
DLHaeger: I answer all of them. It takes me a while sometimes, but I do.
Imaginit1: Which one(drove you)?
DLHaeger: Hey, see Ben! That's a good sign! LOL
FalcnEdie: LOL that's what I was thinking :-)
DLHaeger: Imag, the only one not still in print, funny enough! Courtesan.
Sushiwritr: Imagine's will have to have the final Q, unless DLH can stay on.
DLHaeger: S&S has kept all my others in print since then.
DRLIVES: DL... you're welcome to join us anytime. Enjoyed your insights.
DLHaeger: DR, well thank you! That's a great compliment! :)
DRLIVES: mean it!
Imaginit1: When was it published?
DLHaeger: Several folks on Bookaccino (my other haunt!) have gotten it in used book stores.
Sushiwritr: Well, the hour is up.
Sushiwritr: We're the last group of the day,
DLHaeger: Thanks Paul and everyone for having me!
Sushiwritr: so don't feel you have to run away.
Sushiwritr: Anyone who's interested in our group, please email me.
Sushiwritr: Thanks much, Diane!
AnacondaOz: Thanks, Diane.
DLHaeger: My pleasure.
Sushiwritr: Will send out the Log shortly.
Typosarus: Much obliged Diane.
AnacondaOz: I don't think I'll give up my day job unless I'm sufficiently driven.
Sushiwritr: My wife made spaghetti tonite, so I'm being drawn away by powerful forces . . .
DRLIVES: Have to go...one of those tired easterners...see ya next week
DLHaeger: Good night, Paul! <g>
FalcnEdie: I'm off, too thanks again Diane
AnacondaOz: night, Paul
AnacondaOz: Bye, Ben
Sushiwritr: Thanks everyone, and good night, all.
FalcnEdie: it's midnight here
DRLIVES: bye all
FalcnEdie: bye Judy
FalcnEdie: Bye paul
JewellLan: bye, all!
FalcnEdie: bye Donna
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