Insecure Writer’s Support Group – April

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It’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group founded by writer and ninja Alex. J. Cavanaugh

Life is too short. And there is so much to do, so why would you fill it with things you didn’t enjoy and didn’t have to do?

I’m always reading stuff about how witches and vampires are so over and no one is reading that type of book anymore. So I’ve been trying to write other things and trying is the word because I have never got very far.

Life really is too short though and recently I read a post by Dyane Forde the author of Purple Morrow, her first book, which made me realise that there is absolutely no point putting time and effort in to a story that I don’t believe in. Especially when there is no guarantee that anyone will read it anyway.

So, life is too short and if I’m not enjoying my hobby there’s no point doing it anymore, is there?

A few weeks ago I dusted off the first draft of the witches and vampire book. I was ruthless. Scenes were cut down like leaves, unnecessary characters were left for dead and by the end I had a structured outline at my fingertips. Then I started to write. In first person, which I know is an acquired taste but I’m doing it for me now. And I love being back in Morgaine’s head and I love seeing her world, and I am so excited about where I am going to take her (yes, there will be sequels because my big dreams haven’t quite been quashed.)

And with Camp NANO now in progress there’s no reason not to get the rewrites/revisions done while I’m in the zone.

I also know feel that I have a story that I can use to help me build my brand, something else which has me lying awake in a cold sweat and night.

Of course the test is will I stay the distance? I’m excited now but can I stick to my plan? Let’s give it a go. Life’s too short and if you don’t try now you’ll never know, right? What does everyone else do? Are you fans of market research or do you write what you love?

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IWSG – June

 

This month I’m focusing on my ‘to read’ pile.  The number of fiction books bulking it out are ones that I really would like to read, but I just can’t bring myself to open that first page.

They include, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, Stolen by Kelley Armstrong, Fated by Benedict Jacka and Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lani Taylor. These are all books that I think hold elements of the story that I am trying to tell in my own WIP.  What if, I’m constantly asking, those books are just too good, or deal with the issues that I want to deal with much better than I ever could? These people who have ‘made it’ are giants and I really don’t feel able to scrape myself up to their level.

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When I sit and hold those satisfyingly real books I become aware of the uselessness of my heroine (constantly appearing to make stupid decisions), the weak rambling nature of my structure and the fact that my premise is one that no one will ever be enticed in to.

My particular terror at the moment is Throne of Glass as I know Sarah J Maas started out on Fictionpress which is where I first posted some early drafts.  When I compare her progress to mine it’s enough to make me curl up and start rocking. Honestly, what have I done with my life?

At some stage though I am either going to have to suck it up and read them, or just clear them out.   What do you think? How bad can it be? Has anyone out there read one of those books, or do you have a book of your own that taunts your own creative endeavours?

And if you’re am insecure writer who wants to share then follow the link to Alex J. Cavanaugh’s blog, http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html

 

 

It’s All in the Name

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“Algie!” I cried, “Already?”

My boyfriend is not called Algie.  You can therefore understand his concern when I shouted another man’s name in bed.   Admittedly, I was reading and he was sleeping but that did not lessen his distress. The cause: the latest Regency Romance download on my Kindle. Page Six. Our alpha male hero was already insisting that he and the feisty heroine are on first name terms. Yes, Algernon Tightbottom, Six Earl of a Massive Estate in Devonshire wanted to be called ‘Algie’.  They hadn’t even had the anachronistic kiss yet!

I’m a traditionalist, I guess.  In my own Regency inspired WIP the heroine (feisty though she is) calls the hero by his title and surname.  He is always Mr Birling, even after the first kiss (anachronistic and illicit though it is).  I can’t bring myself to write it otherwise because in my head the reason Mr Darcy is so attractive is because he is Mr Darcy.  We never call him Fitzwilliam or, heaven forbid, Fitz. If we did the whole idea of him would be inadequate.

In the Regency etiquette and codes of behaviour governed courtship, and there were lots of them, including correct forms of address.  When you address Algie to his face he is ‘My Lord’.  It is unusual that a female he has picked up on the side of the road (and not paying) would even address him by the title that goes with that massive estate in Devonshire.  If you want to learn more about how to address an Earl go here 

I am not a complete kill joy and I do find it satisfying to see the heroine and hero negotiate their way to happily ever after by some times breaking the rules. Even the epitome of Regency heroines does it. In What Matters in Jane Austen, John Mullan writes that Elizabeth Bennet arriving at Netherfield with mud encrusted hems is a situation that would probably not happen. Young women did not go ‘scampering about the country because her sister has a cold,’ as Miss Bingley snidely remarks.  The improper behaviour therefore acts to define character because as Mullan insists, although Miss Bingley is correct, who would side with her against Elizabeth Bennet?

In the Kindle book however there did’t seem any particular reason for ‘My Lord’ to become ‘Algie’, not even to show him as a fun, laid back kind of rogue who can’t be bothered with all the rot of social behaviour.  These days, however, it seems to be quite the thing that first name terms are reached quickly. For propriety’s sake the heroine may insist on formalities to show that she can be a good girl when people are watching, but generally it doesn’t last long. Normally until that first anachronistic kiss.

It does seem like a rather inconsequential thing, especially in a download I paid less than a pound for. However,  I would argue that part of the attraction of the Regency Romance fairy tale world is the wit and ingenuity of the heroine (and sometimes hero) used to conquer the codes of etiquette as though they were dogs with eyes as big as saucers or bean stalks to be climbed.  The right to call Mr Darcy ‘Fitzwilliam’ has to be earned through trial, as does the privilege of calling Miss Bennet ‘Elizabeth’. In either case, if the liberty is given or taken too freely than the significance of the prize loses a great deal of sparkle, if not all of its titillation.

You may be wondering how my boyfriend reacted to all this.  Well, he listened with growing perplexity before laughing and going back to sleep. All things considered I think I got off lightly.

Word of the Week – Competence and ROW80 update

‘Money can only give happiness  where there is nothing else to give it.  Beyond a competence it can afford no real satisfaction as far as self is concerned. ‘

Sense and Sensibility.

Here a competence means enough money.  I discovered this by reading What Matters in Jane Austen by John Mullan.  The chapter on money has been really useful in giving another dimension to one of my opera cape twirling bad guys.

He’s a younger son living of half army pay.  He needs to get money through marriage. Until he secures himself a rich bride, gambling is the principle way he supplements his income.

This realisation helped give him a goal as he’s been bought up in wealth and now forced to try and make his own way in a world where respectable methods of earning money or making name for himself are drastically limited.  Of course he is still self-interested, rather too fond of his own reflection and deluded about his own worth, but I know what truly makes him tick much better now. Essentially he’s a pretty, delicate, incredibly useless piece of decoration and he finds that frustrating.

I’ve also managed to finish the short story I mentioned on Sunday, so no more excuses for avoiding what I should be writing.

How’s everyone else doing?

 

 

 

 

 

A Round of Words in 80 Days – Round 1

For more information go here, but essentially you have 80 days starting from the 7th January and ending on 28th March to complete a writing goal you have set for yourself.

Sometimes you stumble across something just as the time you need it!

Right at the top of my To Do List are the words, ‘Finish current draft of My Book by the end of March’.

Previous to this it said, ‘Finish current draft of my book before Christmas’, and then, even more ambitiously, ‘Finish current draft of my book over Christmas.’

So, my goal for Round one of Round of Words is to finish the current draft of my novel.  If I pull my finger out this should be more than doable.  Especially given the recent Epiphany which I’ll be blogging about on 11th of January.

By the 28th of March it will still be far from perfect, but all the major revisions will be done and I’ll have something to send off to critique partner. Either that or I’ll be able to clearly tell that it needs to go in the bottom of my drawer while I write something else.

Update posts will appear on Sundays and Wednesdays, but I’ll still be incorporating the Word of the Week in to the Wednesday updates.