Monday, October 23, 2006

I found a time machine in my dad's house

No, not the Outlander sort, but the kind that comes in an old box in the back of a spare bedroom closet. Sunday afternoons mean going through things at the old family homestead, and this spare room used to be my room for a while, though now I'm quite comfy calling it "the middle bedroom" as my aunt has started tagging it. But that's another story.

The box was behind some other boxes, under an old duffel bag, so when I opened it like all the others, ready to sort into keep/sell or give/toss piles, I was surprised to find file folders. Okay, papers of Dad's? No, papers of mine. Onionskin typed pages. A file of fanfic ideas, the start of a spec script, and the first few pages of a historical I'd started years ago and then lost.

To be sure, I've improved a lot since those days, and I'm not doing fanfiction, but writing for the historical romance market. Still, there are a few things in there that I had lost along the way and am glad to have back.

My outline for the spec script was quite similar to the detailed outline format I thought I had only discovered this year. Who knew that I had it over a decade ago. Don't know what wiped it from my mind, but it worked then and works now. The historical pages reminded me how much I used to like to go for a big emotional impact right at the start, before I'd thought I had to ease into things, that what I wanted to do was too rough somehow, not nice, or what have you. Again, something I've come back to. It may have been a circular path, but I'm sure one that was needed.

Perhaps those earlier days were a scouting expedition of sorts. Maybe they were practice, or maybe seeds to be planted and harvested in their own time. I did take the files with me, to look over, see what I want to tweak, and what needs to go line a birdcage without delay. Not sure what will go where yet, but it did give me a much needed spark to keep on doing what I'm doing. Because nobody else can tell my stories for me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Some days we fight the good fight and get trampled anyway.

Yeah, writing did not go well today. Part of it is some of the current ick of real life and the tiredness that comes from said ick. The rest of it, I think, is discipline. Maybe there are a few rogue particles of it that are due to something else. Lack of Diet Coke, perhaps?

Still, I've done some of my most prolific writing during equally stressy times when my own health was not as good as it is now. Seeing as how I do not intend to return to serious illness as a writing aid, it's got to be something else. I'm going to focus on the discipline angle, in that case.

I'll start by quoting Bishop T.D. Jakes -- Whatever you feed, lives. Whatever you starve, dies.

Easy enough, pretty basic, and yet, something I had to remind myself about, so that does say something. Butt in chair (cat on lap optional, but likely)and fingers on keyboard. Doesn't have to be good. Doesn't have to be usable. Doesn't have to be for this project. Only has to be.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I'm in the middle of a Philippa Gregory glom at the moment, even though I have a gorgeous stack of books for review glaring at me. Gloms happen, and this one caught me unawares, but happily so.

Some friends and I had decided to read a book together and discuss via email. They settled on Philippa Gregory's The Other Bolyen Girl. I love Tudor, so okay. Really wanted a romance, but hey, Tudor. No luck at the library, discretionary funds said inxay on the adesizetray, but I did have the Wideacre trilogy waiting for me in my TBR mountain range. I followed the twisted and evil Beatrice's legacy through three generations, and then turned to a reread of A Respectable Trade, which had given me the impetus to include such trade in one of my WIPs. Then after a frantic hunt, finally found Fallen Skies, set in 1920s England rather than the Georgian age of the other titles, but hey, Gregory. Plus it appeals to the part of me that will always ache with love for Brideshead Revisited and sniffle at pictures of Castle Howard (because I know it's really Brideshead, and poor, poor Charles. Sob. But a happy sob.)

I'm halfway through that at the moment, and last night's library visit netted me Ms. Gregory's 17th century duo, Earthly Joys and The Virgin Earth. They also had another Gregory, The Wise Woman, which I purposely left on the shelf, because if I took it, that would mean I wouldn't have any more Gregory novels to read. Other than the royal books, and I can't do historical biographies right now, not for the life of me. At present, I'm more than happy to follow the adventures of Stephen, the WWI veteran and lawyer who has what we would now call post-traumatic stress disorder, and Lily, the spirited singer who has decided she's not going to acknowledge the war because it's boring and dumb and she doesn't like it. Will they have a HEA? I have no idea, and if you konw, shush. Do not tell me; I want to find out on my own.

See, if the first two Wideacre books had been able to have HEAs (and no, I am not advocating that anyone should look amongst their sibling groups for romantic partners) or if Frances and Mehuru of A Respectable Trade had been able to have HEA, those would have been perfect romances. So it serves me well to study them.

Along with all of that, I'm delving into some of the old school romances I missed the first time out. I recently finished Love's Tender Fury by Jennifer Wilde and have some notes to make on that one. Apparently the heroine went on to have two more books of her own, though I'm not sure if the same gent was along for the ride; we'll see when I can hunt my copies of the sequels down.

Sure, I'm getting some good discussion going with friends both in person and online, but there's another benefit -- remembering why I fell crazy in love with historical romance in the first place. Especially the deeply emotional, meaty kind. Granted, that's not what's in the greatest demand these days, so it's easy, as Camilla posted here, to get jaded. Only jaded doesn't get the books written. Reconnecting with that love of writing so that it translates into actual words on page/screen does. Inspiration plus discipline makes for a winning combination. At least for me.