Showing posts from April, 2014

End of Part One

I finished what I'm calling "part one" of my fourth draft today. When I wrote the outline, I broke the story up into parts to aid me in seeing how the story's structure worked--since I have issues with constructing plots. The actual book won't be broken up into parts, though.

Still, Part One this time around is largely new stuff. And to make this new stuff good and write it and develop it as deeply as I've developed and written the bits that come later took a while.

Part One stats:

Eleven chapters
73 pages
20,005 words

The first line of Part One (and thus of the entire book) is for now:
Miles Keegan sat upon the dappled grey gelding, watching one of the slaves hold a large, flaming torch high.

The last line of Part One is:
After a moment, Miss Mady's head dropped onto Pearl's shoulder and the girl's warm tears sopped Pearl's coarse dress. 

My First Historical Romance(s)

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite blogs--the first blog I really followed--had a post about the authors' first time reading historical romance. You can read the post on Word Wenches here. I've read several of the authors who blog on Word Wenches, particularly Jo Beverley and Mary Jo Putney, and I've been introduced to other writers and books on the blog that I've subsequently gone on to read and follow.

My first historical romance novel; I was about 12 or 13 and we had my grandmother's books in our house--after she died, the books in her house were transported into a closet we had downstairs in our old house--and out of this magical closet, I found books like Nicholas and AlexandraA Night to Remember and Joy in the Morning.

I also found a book called The Taming by Aleen Malcolm.

I haven't picked up The Taming in years--more than fifteen years now--but I still have it on my shelf in commemoration of its being my first historical romance. If I recall correct…

The Mind Movie & Vivid Characters

I read a Downton fic ages ago--I enjoyed it because it focused on two of my favorite characters from the show--but then the writing style got on my nerves a bit because there would be a great emotional or funny scene and then, the characters would transition to the next scene. And usually, the transition was something mundane like, "She folded his shirts, took two of his ties, and a pair of shoes, and added them to the suitcase..."

Guess what was my problem here.


There were suddenly paragraphs of--flurries of--movement that, while explaining a lot about where the dishes went, didn't do anything story-wise or character-wise.

And then it hit me because this is something my beta reader mentioned a lot of while she suffered through draft three of my book.

"I don't need to see every single movement!"

For me, part of my compulsion in early drafts to describe every little movement and facial expression of my characters boils down to taking "show, don&#…

Real Life Inspirations: Dido Belle

My historical fiction is not about real people; that is, I'm not telling the story of a famous, infamous, or obscure historical figures, much as I love novels like that. Still, as I've gone through this long process of a serious attempt at historical fiction, I've read about some really interesting figures. I thought I'd share a little about them.

This woman is the inspiration behind Madeline Keegan, Miles's half black daughter.

I started writing the story and it was fun and all, but I felt like I wasn't getting certain crucial details right. I mean, I hadn't read about any biracial, upper middle class or upper class ladies of the time at all and although this is fiction, I began to wonder if I was being plausible. All the examples I'd read were about ex-slaves--almost always male--who married poor white girls and then had mixed children. Were there any black ladies of reasonable wealth in England at the time? Of a certain social class? How were they tr…

The Writing Process Blog Chain

Well, it's my turn on the The Writing Process Blog Chain today. Thanks to Ruth Hull Chatlien for tagging me in this. Do pick up her novel The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte. It's an amazing read about a very strong woman in an interesting time period.

1) What am I working on?

In order of priority: my novel, currently titled The Sailor's Daughters (which, you know, is so different from other historical fiction titles with an occupation and "sister" or "daughter" or "wife" added). I'm in the middle of the fourth draft of this story. Hopefully, four will be the charm. It's the first historical fiction novel I've seriously tried to write, so it's been a learning experience, to say the least.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm. Well. Historical fiction is a pretty wide genre--wide in terms of historical era, level of historical detail, whether or not an author is writing about a historical figure or fictional chara…

Of Math

The scene I'm writing now, in my new Chapter Seven, has Miles speaking to his brother-in-law Henry. They're in the back office of Miles's shipping company's place, where Henry has been acting manager for several weeks. Miles has an enemy who sleuthed out something about Miles and his wife Adele and then proceeded to tell everyone he saw about what he found out. Henry has told Miles that a few of their clients are pulling their sugar to other merchants. Miles is trying to calculate how much of a loss that means for the company and he's trying to judge whether this is the start of a trend.

So Miles sits in a chair and he is calculating.

I got a few measurements out of a research book. Basically, sugar was usually packed and measured by hogshead. A hogshead was equal to 4 barrels or six hundred pounds. A short hundredweight was a hundred pounds (incidentally, a long hundredweight was a 112 pounds. Huh? Gotta love non-standard measurements...)

I'm digging, trying t…

Favorite Characters that I Wrote

Last year, my blogging friend Krystal wrote a post about 16 Favorite Characters that she'd written. I remember thinking at the time that I wasn't sure I could name even 5 of my past and present imaginary friends because the contemporary crowd of characters sort of blends together and I didn't even finish several of my stories.

But, actually, thinking about it carefully---ranging from stuff I wrote in my teens until now--I totally have my favorite characters. So here they are, with my current favorite character at #1.

10. Lady Rossmore
Lady Rossmore was a very minor character in a past draft or two of the WIP. She appeared for like three scenes, but boy, did she leave an impression. Lady Rossmore has a very snobbish, aristocratic exterior, which hides her financial desperation--Lady Rossmore is an impoverished aristocratic widow with five children, not enough cash for a countess, and very aware of her rank. Lady R had no purpose in the novel, so I cut her after draft two, bu…

Throwback Thursday

In shuffling around the email that connects to this blog, I went through the blog tab I have in one of my emails to send to the new email address.

When I started this blog I didn't open it to the public until about two years in and for whatever reason, my friends, who were my first readers in terms of stories and the blog, didn't quite seem to understand the comments feature. ;-)

They would hit reply on my posts and send me comments that way, something that I didn't appreciate at the time. Anyway, in looking through them and forwarding them to myself (that feels so weird to say), I kept the ones that touched me or made me laugh.

Here are a few of them, with the corresponding post it relates to. Names are not mentioned to protect my shadowy friends. I officially--and publicly--want to thank them all for their ideas and encouragement over the years. Remember, this was before I joined AW and started making online writing buddies.

I wonder how many of them recognize their own …