Monday, October 20, 2014

Fun Times with Historical Romance

I've just joined a new group, the Historical Romance Network.  They've got some fun things planned for fans of historical romance, including something to celebrate* the end of Daylight Savings Time.  Check it out and join in!  Look for my "selfie" here or on Twitter.

And while you're visiting the Historical Romance Network website, check out the great video illustrating the variety in historical romance.

 I actually hate the end of Daylight Savings Time, so please join in.  I need all the fun I can get at this time of year! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

My Own Writing Retreat -- Fantasy vs. Reality

So this is the last (half) day of My Own Writing Retreat -- two weeks alone to work on my book.  This is the sort of opportunity I fantasized about when I had two little small children and was beginning my career as a published author.  If only I had time by myself, I would think, and nobody else's schedule to consider, how much I could write! 

Well, guess what?  It did not work out that way.  Yes, I had plenty of time to write, so I did make some major progress, although not a lot of new pages.  I discovered some serious flaws with what I'd already written, leading to lots of time rethinking and revising the foundation chapters (1-3).  I also realized I had to spend more time planning the rest of the book, and that was done. 

As I'd expected, it was easier to work without having to think about anybody else's schedule, so I could work, exercise, and eat when it suited me.   

But it was also very lonely.  What made that worse, I think, was not having a car.  I couldn't even drive into town and chat with a sales clerk.  It was like I'd been sent to camp for two weeks -- all by myself.

And then there was the day I realized I really needed eye drops and discovered the ones I had were past their best-before date.  With no car, what's a gal to do?   Fortunately, it was a lovely sunny day, so I walked into town, a hike of nearly nine miles.  Getting there wasn't too bad, but I was concerned I would do serious injury to my knee if I walked home, so I bought a helmet and a bike and rode home.  Mission accomplished, but not cheaply.  I should have rented a car for the two weeks.  However, that means I now have a bike, and I did go for some more rides, just not nearly as long. 

Also on the upside - I've lost a few pounds.  I don't eat as much when I'm alone and there was all that bike riding and walking.

Would I do it again?  Not for two weeks and not without a car. 

(What book am I working on?  Gerrard's story, the sequel to BRIDE FOR A KNIGHT out in Dec.)

Monday, October 06, 2014

First Chapters - Beginning a Sequel

I find first chapters come in two sorts -- either they come quickly and easily, or...not.  I often have the most trouble with first chapters when the book is a sequel.  The pacing can be nightmare as I struggle to introduce the characters and get the story going.

Why's that?  Don't I already know the characters, or at least one of the main characters?  Surely that has to make it easier.

Well, it means I know something about what makes at least the hero or heroine tick.

Unfortunately,  that also means I know too much.  There's a whole backstory from the previous book(s) and I'm as tempted as the next person to get all that history in. But if I do include it, well, let's be frank.  It can be as boring as listening to the most boring travelogue. Yet I do need some of that history.  This story and the characters aren't coming out of nowhere. 

So the challenge becomes, how much do I put in about what happened in the previous book(s) before it gets unnecessary and worst of all, boring?

I wish there was a formula, or some hard and fast "rule," but there isn't.  I have to go purely on instinct, by what "feels right."  One things for sure, though -- I want the story to move, to be exciting and engaging.  If I'm getting bored, I can be darn sure the reader will be.

It's hard cutting whole paragraphs and scenes.  It never gets any easier.  But if it's cut or bore the reader, well, out it goes.  With sequels, I usually have to cut more out of the first drafts and revise and rewrite and revise again until I've achieved a balance between material relating what happened in the previous book(s) and the action of the new story.

It's not easy, but hey!  What part of writing a book is?