Did you know where the phrase ‘fair warning’ comes from? I didn’t but I learned it this week along with other fascinating things such as that we urgently need actual zombies because we can’t even do an apocalypse right.
I don’t even remember why I decided to research the actual definition of fair warning besides a momentary spark of curiosity where the phrase comes from and what it actually, literally means. The mind of a writer in the process of writing is like a ball of Christmas lights, not all of them in perfect working condition.
Anyway, I found a legal definition that I liked very much: “Fair warning is the requirement that criminal statutes define crimes with enough precision for reasonable people to understand what activities are prohibited.”
And then I found this on Reddit:
The phrase traces back at least to the 1600s and seems to be basically literal in a military context: i.e., a warning given before the commencement of hostilities, when a surprise attack would be considered unfair. One such passage, in which an pamphleteer agitates for war against the Netherlands in long, incoherent run-on sentences, contains this fascinating passage.
Their choosing arms rather than satisfaction for other injuries done by them to us, and the late assault of Trump on our Fleet upon our borders, whist we were in amity, treating for, and never a conclusion of strict union, gives us just ground so to understand them: and we with the serious reflects on what their carriage has been to other states in this particular, mentioned in the later end of this discourse at large, besides our own experience, to say no more, gave us not fair warning how we trust those who, when they speak of peace, have war in their hearts.
Isn’t history absolutely fascinating? Perhaps as fascinating as language and just as frustrating in some cases. Some profound food for thought, I believe.
The amazing powers of the brain
That the human brain has amazing powers is an established fact. Just how amazing these powers are, we are still discovering. I did my own discovery this week in this respect. As I was writing, a couple of plot lines somehow linked together to complete the subplot I was working on without me lifting a mental finger. They came together organically, as it were, and all I could do was sit back and marvel at this surprising instance of brain cooperation.
The feeling was a strange one, as though while part of me was consciously — and conscientiously, I might add — labouring over every step of the main character, another part, a quiet part sitting in a dark corner, had been recording every tiny detail of the draft so far and had been tying plot lines without bothering to report to the main writing part. I realise this is uncharacteristically soppy of me but I can’t explain it in any other way. It’s both scary and extremely gratifying.
Back on the query wheel
Yep. The time has come once again to start submitting a manuscript to agents. It’s interesting to watch how the process gets honed with every round of submissions. At first, I was submitting chaotically, to both agents and publishers. Then I started putting order in the chaos sending Second Skin to about 60 agents first before I started submitting to publishers. That was more of a test of the system than a real submission with any chance for acceptance since Second Skin, for all its strong points, is a sequel and sequels are by definition a hard sell unless coming after a traditionally published first book.
Anyway, after I found a home for The Dreamer a lot faster than I expected, I’m now on my fourth submission cycle and I’m strictly starting with agents. The problem is that agents, like publishers but even more so, need to be picked extremely carefully to avoid unnecessary rejections and only collect necessary ones. So I’ve started picking them not only based on their wish lists but also based on their faces. If the face looks like the face of someone who would enjoy Afterlife Inc., I submit. If it looks like the face of someone who doesn’t like this sort of stories I pass. It’s been a slow start because submitting queries is a generally unpleasant activity but at least it’s a start.
In other news, my phone doesn’t do justice to nature’s loveliest palette but I keep trying:
Welcome back to book peddling corner:
For a thriller wrapped in a dream made of smoke, death and destruction, with a filling of tragedy and atonement sprinkled with drama and served with a side of a relatable villain, press The Dreamer.
For a mystery featuring a vanishing plane, press Sky High (which you can read for free on this blog or on Kobo. I always appreciate feedback).
For random scary stories, here’s a complete list of my published shorter fiction.