saying one thing, doing another: internal dialog

I’ve started my first round of edits/rewrites and it’s a hell of a lot harder than the first draft.  No longer can I dump words willy-nilly. They must be hammered into a shape that balances action, thought, and dialogue scene by scene while still being part of a seamless whole.

Much of the first 3 chapters involves Edward setting up his con: lots of lying and making stuff up. By necessity there’s a lot of internal dialogue because it’s the best (only?) way to show the contradictions. The trick is keeping the story moving forward, but not so quickly that the reader wonders why he’s doing these contradictory things.

Internal Dialogue: A Busy’ Writer’s Guide has been a godsend for getting the balance right.

Very broadly:

  1. event
  2. physical reaction
  3. internal dialogue
  4. spoken dialogue/action

And man, just using this formula is helping the pacing a thousandfold! No more infinite rereads trying to figure out if I’m wasting time in my characters’ heads. It’s almost musical!

This is just the first edit, which my writing friends assure me will take around 2(!) years. I’m sure it would take longer if I tried to figure out everything myself. Lesson learned: Don’t go it alone – benefit from others’ experience.

Pop culture roundup

Whenever I tell people I’m writing about John Dee and Edward Kelley, they tend to say:


I’m surprised how often I hear this – they’re “B-list” historical figures but I’m not the first to fictionalize them. A friend suggested I whip ’round the Web to see if they ever showed up in the more accessible worlds of tv/movies/video games and I found a few examples:

Dee may be the inspiration behind white-bearded wizards Gandalf and Dumbledore but seems to be more of a niche/”alternative” character on his own. Director Derek Jarman and author Alan Moore were/are fans; it cracks me up that Richard O’Brien played Dee in Jarman’s punk film “Jubilee”.

Richard O'Brien as John Dee in Derek Jarman's "Jubilee"
Yes, that’s “Rocky Horror”‘s Riff Raff, courtesy

Edward Kelley was harder to find; he’s better known in the Czech Republic than in the English-speaking world due to his gold transmuting feats (“feats?”) in Prague. Still, he turned up in the (now defunct) Facebook game Assassin’s Creed: Project Legacy. The designers clearly did their homework: they included Kelley’s stepdaughter Elizabeth Jane Weston and together with Dee they do alchemy and look at mysterious books.

Man shows little girl a handful of magic red dust
Edward Kelley showing Elizabeth Jane Weston the magic red dust. Image found at

And of course, “Supernatural” introduced the Enochian angel language to a wide tv audience.

T-shirt design found at HideYourArms.Com

I found other brief references: Dee in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age“; an Edward Kelley costume for rent (but only in the Czech Republic). There’s more at their respective Wikipedia pages, but most of the references are literary.

Feel free to include other examples in the comments!