Thursday, March 6, 2008

Apologies for HTML Code

My apologies for the html code that appears to be popping up in my posts. Because I need accent marks, I've been writing my posts in Word and then copying them into Blogger. When I view my blog it looks perfectly normal to me, but several readers have told me that the code is showing on their version. I hope this hasn't made reading too difficult.

If anyone knows how to write accent marks directly on Blogger, please tell me how or tell me where to go to find out! If I compose directly on the editor, I should avoid the random code problems. Thanks!


Catherine Delors said...

Julianne, I had the same problem, and no, I didn't find any way of typing my accents into my blogging software. The only solution I couldn think of would have been to get a French keyboard, and I am no longer used to those.

So it was a trade-off: give up the accents vs. HTML cropping up in my posts. But that's life, right?

nadezhda said...

I never produce anything that's going to go on the web in Word or any other Rich Text Format software. It will deposit bits of code everywhere, and you'll never find all of them.

Whether you compose in Blogger, or use a plain text composer like Notepad for Windows or Textwrangler for the Mac, the easiest way to put characters that aren't on your physical keyboard into the text is to copy the characters from a foreign language virtual keyboard.

Here's a link for a virtual French keyboard. The site has lots of other keyboards to choose from as well.

Select a character, it will show up in the text box, copy the character, and paste into your text. I have a bunch of French characters I use regularly which I have copied to a sticky note. I don't have to go to the website for those characters -- I just copy the character I need from the sticky note.

It's a bit slower system during composing than using a word processor that has the characters you need. But it's much faster in producing web-ready clean text without the extraneous code.

Julianne Douglas said...


Thank you so much for directing me to the virtual keyboard! I had no idea such things existed. I'm going to do a test in my next post to see how it works. I can't thank you enough, both for helping me out and reading the blog. I hope you're enjoying it.

Julianne Douglas said...


Maybe you could try Nadezhda's suggestion also!

nadezhda said...

Julianne --

Glad the solution works for you. And how can I not enjoy your blog since I think the LC is about the greatest work of fiction ever written! We Dunnett readers have to stick together.

Catherine Delors said...

Thanks, Nadezhda! I will use the link as well.

Julianne Douglas said...


If I could learn to write like Dunnett, I'd die happy. I was so sad when I finished the last volume of Niccolo, which I read after LC. But soon I started LC again. My absolute favorite volume is Pawn in Frankincense. I will never forget that awesome scene where Lymond plays chess for the child's life. The fate of that little boy will haunt me forever.

Which book is your favorite?

nadezhda said...

I don't think anyone can "learn to write" like Dorothy Dunnett -- she's in the genius category as far as I'm concerned. She does so many things so brilliantly. But I'd die happy if I could learn to write with even one-tenth the emotional connection she makes with the reader.

Hard to answer which is my favorite of the LC novels -- depends on my mood. Here's the critieria I'd currently use to "rank" the six novels -- caveat, there are few other novels I'd rather read than any of the six LC novels, unless it's other Dunnett historicals.

If I had only one volume of LC to take on a desert island it would be Game of Kings. The young Lymond is such an appealing character -- he's still got a youthful elan before later events beat it out of him. Even though he's already an alienated and tortured soul, when I re-start reading the LC after finishing Checkmate, I'm always struck by his high spirits and confidence in GoK.

GoK is a sort of mini-LC -- same journey arc, and most of the important thematic material for the LC is at least introduced in GoK. The section of the last part from Will Scott's betrayal at the convent to Lymond's capture riding north with Richard (which includes Will and Lymond in the cellar, Gideon and Lymond at Wark Castle, Kate and Lymond at Flaw Valleys, Christian's death, the duel, Hexham Abbey, and the Dell) may be my favorite section in all the LC. The prose, the pacing, the character development and the emotional tension are all spectacular. And it's the best correographed fight scene I've ever read.

Second place for me usually goes to Queens' Play. It's so imaginative, Dunnett takes such extraordinary risks with a situation, plot and character (Thady Boy) that are totally OTT and yet it works to perfection. QP really sets up all the psychology and relationship issues for the LC -- linking backwards to a better understanding of what was going on inside Lymond in GoK, and looking forward to how he's going to try to manage his vulnerabilities and strengths and why the "news" he learns at the end of DK and in PiF is so psychologically catastrophic.

Ringed Castle used to be my least favorite (though still beloved). I've become more entranced with it on each reading, especially since I've started paying more attention to her metaphors and sustained imagery. Russia is spectacular writing -- one chapter after another a beautifully constructed miniature.

The "weakest" of the six books are the middle books, but they're still amazingly good. Disorderly Knights suffers merely because it's in effect three stories stitched together -- 2 years previously, Malta/Tripoli, and Scotland -- so we don't have the structural unity so noteworthy in the other novels. Though each part is independently outstanding, I think the highpoint in terms of story interest and the writing is the second section -- Malta/Tripoli -- even though the dramatic highpoint is at the end of the novel. The third part in Scotland involves a few too many extraneous plot mechanisms (e.g. the Thompson/O'Connor insurance, spy angle) that don't pack a very big emotional punch. (The same argument re structure could be made re RC, but because RC cuts back and forth between England and Russia throughout the first half, we don't experience as much of a break when the story moves solely to Scotland and England. The narrative tension is not just sustained, it's racheted up with the brothers meeting on the Scottish shore. Also the later parts of RC feel more connected with the earlier because the Russia elements remain an important part of Lymond's agenda while in Scotland and England).

Pawn in Frankincense is my least favorite as a novel, taken as a whole, because I find a bit of the journey drags, especially Jerott and Marthe's sidetrip. I also could have done without the Gaultier/Marthe cisterns of Constantiople storyline. I certainly understand why it's there, and it's important for Marthe as a character. Still, PiF has several of the most dramatic and emotionally wrenching scenes in the entire LC. PiF also contains some of DD's most exquisite prose -- the settings she describes along the journey are amazing, exotic, sensual, often seductive and often horrifying. And it's such an absorbing and convincing portrait of a man's descent into psychological hell that it sets up everything we intuitively understand about what Lymond goes through in the final two books.

On my first reading I was a bit disappointed with Checkmate because it adhered a bit too closely to romance genre conventions for my taste -- Philippa comes a time or two too close to crossing the boundary of Too Stupid To Live. On rereading, I've come to adore CM, and I'm more tolerant of Philippa's mistakes, maybe because I feel I "know" her better as a character now. And CM has so many great individual scenes. The dialogue in CM is some of DD's finest. And she pulls some spectacular plot twists.

However, the LC really is a single work, even though each novel works as, and can be analyzed as, a separate work. But the psychological journey is a single Odyssey of losing and then finding himself, of increasing internal and external alienation and eventual reconciliation. The thematic material is developed across the six novels. The imagery echoes from one novel to another -- the more one memorizes some of the great passages, the more one finds certain words or phrases or literary allusions are used across the LC in important places. The books "talk to each other".

The same can be said in reading House of Niccolo -- totally apart from the direct references to LC in HoN, the two series are enriched by reading them together, comparing and contrasting how DD deals with themes, characters, prose and narrative style, and imagery. Picking a "favorite" in HoN is equally challenging -- since I just finished re-reading Race of Scorpions, I'd probably choose that one -- for Zacco and the Siege of Famagusta if for nothing else.

And then there's King Hereafter, which is unique and magnificent but so emotionally wrenching that I can't re-read it often.

Needless to say, I could read or talk about Dorothy Dunnett's work non-stop -- her historical novels are the gift that keeps on giving!

Julianne Douglas said...

Wow, Nahdezda, I've read all the books, some of them twice, and I don't think I could discuss them in such detail! I'm not even going to touch your wonderful comment, other than to remark that it's funny how our tastes differ. I think my least favorite volume of LC is the first one (GoK). Even on a second reading I found it confusing and hard to get into. I don't think I'm alone in that opinion--I've recommended the series to many people, with the caveat that if they make it through the first volume, they'll be hooked. Unfortunately, most of them give up before they reach the end of GoK. Part of it, I think, is the dialect and another the plethora of viewpoints. Anyway, I do plan to finish rereading the LC a second time, and I'll surely keep your comments to think about as I go!

And I agree with you--I don't think I or anyone else could ever learn to write like DD. I worded it that way because it seemed less presumptuous than to say "If only I could write like DD." She is completely and utterly amazing, not only for her writing but for the breadth of her knowledge.

I haven't read King Hereafter yet, but will definitely move it up in my TBR pile.

DD also wrote a series of mysteries. Have you ever read any of those?