Friday, July 17, 2009

Musings on a Humid Friday

I'm now at 217 pages--79115 words, according to Word--and have now finished the big adventure part of the book. (According to the Romance Writers of America Contests Information page, that means I have officially written a novel-length work. Ah!) I'm definitely in the "falling action" bit of the story, the resolution after the Big Adventure (which could also be the Big I Love You Reveal), soon to be followed by what I call the "We love each other. It's 1814. Now what?" sequence: Courtship (no forced marriages for Mady!), Quick Engagement, Meeting Relatives, a love scene and an epilogue which will show the wedding...and a set-up for the next story I want to write.

Thank god for outlines. Apparently they work!

I was watching a re-run special on 20/20 last night about JK Rowling. (1) I'm amazed that she can write in public cafes. I can't do it. I have to be in front of my laptop (the days of me writing by hand are over) in my room, preferably in my recliner. (2) My favorite part was watching her finish the last Potter in the hotel room in Edinburgh, where she says, "It could be rubbish." (3) Signing for 7 hours! That woman's a saint! (4) How she wrote the epilogue at the end of the 7th book because, as she drew out the family trees of all of her characters, she wanted to know what happened to them all and she wanted it to be the canon.

I have an Excel timeline of these (hopefully) three stories I have worked out about the Keegan sisters. It goes from 1787, when Laura Windham's future husband was born, to 1822, when I figure the youngest sister might be married off. Toward the later part of the timeline, there is a proliferation of entries about the older, married sisters (Mady, Alex and Laura) having children. In romance series, sometimes characters from previous books play a part in the next one and it's kind of gross how happy and syrupy and fertile they are.

I think that was a complaint people had about the Harry Potter epilogue, that everything turned out a little too perfect. That Rowling was being self-indulgent because she wanted to know and wanted to tie up loose ends.

I started the timeline because I wanted to figure in things like monarchs, battles, peace celebrations, as well as when the Slave Trade Act was passed. I wanted to know how old my characters would be at certain times. It came in handy, when I wrote a scene with Henry going undercover as a French spy, mentioning Napoleon's Egypt campaign. It was in 1802. Henry is born in 1790, so he's obviously too old to have been born then, but the French men seem to buy the story at the time.

Or when I found out that there was a slave revolt on Barbados in 1816. Madeline, being from Barbados and being an abolitionist, is thrilled about it--and it just so happens to fall toward the end of Laura's story, so you know that's what she's on about at the wedding reception.

Watching the special helped me work out what my girls might sound like when they speak, too. They live between Bristol and Bath, in Gloucestorshire. Jo Rowling is from Gloucestorshire originally. Yay! Excuses to watch her speak about Harry Potter in interviews on YouTube!

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