Jane’s Reviews > Bring Up the Bodies > Status Update

Jane is on page 350 of 407
Anne's lovers are phantom gentlemen, flitting by night with adulterous intent. They come and go by night, unchallenged. They skim over the river like midges, flicker against the dark, their doublets sewn with diamonds. The moon sees them, peering from her hood of bone, and Thames water reflects them, glimmering like fish, like pearls.
Jun 12, 2012 07:43AM
Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)

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Jane is finished
The word 'however' is like an imp coiled beneath your chair. It induces ink to form words you have not yet seen, and lines to march across the page and overshoot the margin. There are no endings. If you think so you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings. Here is one.

And thus we end... I'm too tired to review tonight though.
Jun 12, 2012 07:51PM
Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)

Jane is on page 297 of 407
The king's body is borderless, fluent, like his realm: it is an island building itself or eroding itself, its substance washed out into the waters salt and fresh; it has its shores of polder, its marshy tracts, its reclaimed margins; it has tidal waters, emissions and effusions, quags that slough in and out of the conversation of Englishwomen, and dark mires where only priests should wade, rush lights in their hands.
Jun 11, 2012 12:02PM
Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)

Jane is on page 243 of 407
I find the writing to be much more workmanlike than in Wolf Hall - I miss the descriptions, the lingering over a sight or smell or memory. Perhaps it's because there's so much political action.
Jun 11, 2012 07:57AM
Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)

Jane is on page 111 of 407
"He looks up at her. His eyes glitter."

This is the first POV slip I've noticed. How would Cromwell know that his own eyes are glittering?
Jun 09, 2012 06:46PM
Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)

Jane is on page 38 of 407
The pearls around her long neck looked to him like little beads of fat, and as she argued she would reach up and tug them; he kept his eyes on her fingertips, nails flashing like tiny knives.
Jun 07, 2012 11:43AM
Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)

Jane is on page 31 of 407
"When Stephen comes into a room, the furnishings shrink from him. Chairs scuttle backwards. Joint-stools flatten themselves like pissing bitches. The woolen Bible figures in the king's tapestries lift their hands to cover their ears."

I love this voice.
Jun 07, 2012 11:26AM
Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)

Jane is on page 31 of 407
Loved the first chapter - the interplay of hunting, politics, and lust... I note Mantel is using "you" and "we" to vary the "he" and that works for me. Only seen one "he, Cromwell" so far - we'll see if that bugs me later!
Jun 07, 2012 08:07AM
Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2)

Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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Jane Mantel's dialogue is good; her narrative, sparkling.

Iset Redundant comma. :p

Jane If you mean the one before "and", I still would have put it there, to preserve the rhythm of the sentence. That's the trouble with copyediting rules - they are really useful 95% of the time, the other 5% they just get in the way.

message 4: by Iset (last edited Jun 12, 2012 08:06AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Iset I mean the one after "narrative" and before "sparkling". I'd replace the semi-colon with a comma too, because the latter stanza is not expanding on the first one, but making a second although complementary point.

Jane Never had my comments edited before :D

Iset I assumed you were deliberately emulating Mantel's style in that first comment - which itself is experimental and deliberately poorly constructed I think, but it never pulled off the "paradigm-shifting" thing for me it just felt clunky and redundant. :p

Jane Nah, that was pure Jane. I know I use too many commas in raw writing - my favorite copyeditor always removes them! I gave him my MS to clean up and he removed a bunch, but I have to admit that when I went through the latest readthrough I put two back in, because I didn't like the way the sentences read. He sticks to strict Chicago Manual of Style rules; which, of course, were developed initially for academic writing, so I think a fiction writer gets to rebel occasionally.

I'm passing the text over to a pro formatter for the e-book formatting (not having been able to completely satisfy my own standards by doing it myself) which means yet another readthrough...

Incidentally, I've always wondered - which style manual is used in the UK for a) academic and b) literary work?

Jemidar I would imagine it would be The Elements of Style as that's what we use here and we tend to use UK rather than US usage both in academia and literary stuff.

Jane Strunk & White's a nice primer but hardly a style manual (and it's American!) Its 100 pages pale next to the Chicago Manual's 1,000-page behemothness... look I took a picture so that non-American friends could see the difference!

The AP manual is used for journalism here, although as a style manual it's pretty lightweight imho. MLA is beloved by many college professors, but I decline to own one and have swiped my college student's Pocket Manual (mine is out of date) in case I ever need to refer to MLA or APA (American Psychological Association) style (she's a psych major so I expect her to swipe it back by junior year).

Then there's the Copyeditor's Handbook, which is full of awesomeness (see piccy but sends me to sleep is a bit of a slog.

In casual writing I am resolutely incorrect creative.

message 10: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane And now I'm going out because I could sit here and discuss writing styles all day, and I have errands to run. Bring me answers about the UK, friends! I'd really like to know.

message 11: by Jemidar (last edited Jun 12, 2012 09:31AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jemidar Hey, my student days were a long time ago! However, I do still see Strunk & White on recommended reference books for writers lists handed out at writers conventions etc here. There are probably others around though.

My journalism tutor used to say I used way to much punctuation but like you, I liked being creative ;-).

message 12: by Iset (last edited Jun 12, 2012 10:01AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Iset Jane wrote: "Nah, that was pure Jane. I know I use too many commas in raw writing - my favorite copyeditor always removes them! I gave him my MS to clean up and he removed a bunch, but I have to admit that when..."

:D Then when I read your first book should I describe your style as "Mantel-esque"? We could have another best-seller on our hands. :)

I've never had a style manual - as a current UK uni student. My uni has never mentioned this at all. I'd never even heard of it until you just mentioned it. None of my friends at different unis have ever mentioned this either. Maybe they don't do that anymore? I know my uni has certain expectations and standards regarding academic work, but there's never been any discussion of style.

message 13: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane That's pretty much in line with what I thought - I never heard a style manual mentioned in my UK days (which was 30+ years ago, so things could well have changed). Here, it's much more of a big deal. Great for winning arguments settling areas of disagreement with freelance clients, although it doesn't always work. Sometimes in the end you have to give in gracefully; after living in three different countries I have learned to appreciate all the variations in what passes for correct English.

I wish my style WERE Mantelesque, because I'd like to learn to be that bold with words. I'm too close to my own writing to describe it, so I can't wait to get some reviews (even if negative; at this point I'll be happy if someone actually READS the thing).

message 14: by Iset (new) - rated it 4 stars

Iset What is it about, Jane?

message 15: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane Genre is historical suspense; setting is the American Midwest in the 1870s.

The Amazon blurb will go something like this (critique at will, I'm still not happy with it):


In Nell Lillington's small world, marriage is the obvious fate of a young woman. Yet Nell is determined to elude the duties and restrictions of matrimony. So when she finds herself pregnant at the age of 17, she refuses to divulge the name of the father and even her childhood friend Martin is kept in the dark.

Nell's stepfather Hiram sends Nell to live at the Poor Farm of which he is a governor, to await the day when her baby can be discreetly adopted. Nell is ready to go along with Hiram's plans until an unused padded cell is opened and two small bodies fall out.

Nell is the only resident of the Poor Farm who is convinced that the unwed mother and her baby were murdered, and the incident prompts her to rethink her decision to abandon her own child to her fate. But the revelations to which her questions lead make her realize that even if she manages to escape the Poor Farm with her baby, she may have no safe place to run to.

This is purely escapist reading with a touch of melodrama, in true Victorian style. It was a lot of fun to write, and there's enough mileage in the characters for a five-book series. Book 2 is at the second draft stage, with one more editing pass before it goes to the beta readers; book 3 is busy writing itself in my head and will go down on paper in the fall.

message 16: by Iset (new) - rated it 4 stars

Iset It sounds like a professional blurb to me. Are you self-publishing or did you get signed by a publishing house?

message 17: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane Completely self-published, although the book will be published under the name of Aspidistra Press, my business name. I'm glad you think it looks professional - my aim is to give the reader an experience as near as possible to a book published by a large publisher, which is costing me money but worth it imo. Which is not to say I want to pretend it's not self-published - I say it loud and proud in the back matter!

I made a deliberate decision to self-publish very early on, with only the barest attempt to attract a publisher. I wanted to go straight to the reader. I believe there's a future for quality self-publishing - there's a growing number of authors who are using editors, designers etc. to produce a better book. I've been asked quite a bit whether I'm doing this to attract a publisher, but I'm honestly not all that sure I'd want one. I've got nothing against the traditional publishing industry but I don't feel its business model is the right one for me.

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