Procrastination Addicts Anonymous

I love to do everything but what I should be doing. Think that’s true of quite a lot of people. I remember when I was studying with the OU for example, when ever there was an assignment my house would end up spotless, I never cleaned as much as I did when I had essay deadlines.

These days I have self imposed deadlines, like my August submission deadline for my M&B manuscript. I gave myself 8 months to finish it and edit it, and with 2 months to go it’s been a journey with both ups and downs. Finishing the story wasn’t really a problem, there were some holes here and there that needed filling, but that was about it. The hardest part was the wordcount, I had written the novel during NaNoWriMo and it was quantity not quality that mattered. Consequently I was left with about 120k words, by the time the holes were filled it was closer to 130k, and M&B Historical has a word limit of 85k. Of course there was a lot of dross amongst those 130k words, and getting rid of the majority of the 45k I had over was no problem, the last 10k was hell. But it got done, the ms is ok-ish and off to my beta readers at the moment, before I get it back and can craft it into something great.

So this is where the procrastination comes in, I don’t expect my ms back for a month and I’m banned from working on it till I do. What to do with my time? Unfortunately I came across a great way to spend my time – Harlequin’s BI3M (Book In 3 Months) challenge. You are supposed to write your novel in 2 months, then edit for 1 month and then submit. Sounds like great fun to me, plus I have a plot which I’ve been wanting to write since February. But once my current MS comes back I need to be focused on that and not have my head full of other characters and plots. So I’m trying to be good and not participate. I’ll just pop by each week to read the articles. I’ll let you know how it goes…

If you want to try the challenge yourself, head over to the eharlequin community site and get involved.

What do I want NOW? Some willpower would be just super…

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Weekly List of Five: Five Best Historical Romance Families

Confused? I started thinking about this yesterday when looking through submission guidelines and help for various historical romance publishers, some of my favorite series are centered around one family. So which ones are the best? Here you go…

1. Mary Balogh’s Bedwyn’s

  

Are you surprised by no.1? I must admit I couldn’t quite decided between 1 and 2, but what really clinched it was how unlikable some of the Bedwyn family members could be. Sorry is that confusing? Take Freyja for example, in the first few books she seems very bitter, and her poor nose is brough up a lot, but then you read her story, you see her side and suddenly everything is so clear. They are like normal people, bad sides, good sides and none of them are hidden away.

My favourite Bedwyn moment? It has to be when Alleyne returns from the dead at the end of Slightly Sinful, tears were streaming down my cheeks throughout, in fact I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.

2. Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster’s

 

They almost beat the Bedwyn’s to first place, but not quite. Why not? The Bar Cynster is just too good-looking and too perfect. I dearly love them though, and will probably read and reread them till the end of my life. What makes the Cynster’s so brilliant is their love of family, once they commit they are committed. Does that make sense? And of course the Cynster men would be nothing without their women, the Grande Dames really do make the stories 🙂

My Favorite Cynster Book? The Perfect Lover, Simon Cynster and Portia Ashford’s story. I love the subterfuge when they are trying to catch the killer. Truly a great read.

3. Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton’s

Julia Quinn was my first foray into the world of recently written, non-Mill&Boon/Harlequin Historical Romance, and I feel a little bad putting the Bridgerton’s 3rd, I hope she won’t delete me from her facebook friends.  The reason for them coming in 3rd? They are just too nice, they’ve had trials and tribulations in their lives but they are all so darn nice. Makes me feel like a wikked ‘female dog’ or witch with a b. Ok, that’s not true, because the one feeling you do get when reading Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series is a feeling of goodness. It’s fun, it’s a little girly, out of all the romance writers I regularly read Julia Quinn comes closest to writing the fun, smart regencies usually associated with Georgette Heyer.

My Favourite Bridgerton Bride? It had to be Penelope Featherington (marries Colin in book 4 Romancing Mister Bridgerton); she is a great sport and she’s Lady Whistledown. You can’t really compete with that now can you.

4. Mary Balogh’s Huxtables

In at no.4 we have another Mary Balogh creation, that woman sure knows how to write. The Huxtables are relatively new, the first book with Vanessa was only out a few years ago and the last book is out in May 2010 (I think). What I enjoy the most about them is how they were never meant to be rich society misses, and lord. They lived a quiet life in the country and skimping on everything and suddenly their life is turned around, but they stay true to themselves and their family.

My Favourite Huxtable? Vanessa Dew, nee Huxtable. Her journey in First Comes Marriage is a great read, shows that if you do good things good things will come to you in the end.

5. Karen Hawkins’ Clan MacLean

I’m relatively new to Karen Hawkins and her books about the fierce MacLean’s so maybe it’s unfair that they ended up 5th, but someone had to. The main selling point these novels have to me is the mystical aspect, the untold stories, and the savage Scottish noble men. The responsibility these men have and feel f0r their family and their people is great, and old woman Nora’s quotes are amazingly fun, it makes each book a must-read.

My Favourite Old Woman Nora saying? “Tis a sad day when ye ha’ t’ pinch yerself t’ see if ye’re awake or in th’ midst o’ a night terror. ‘Tis a really sad day when ye have t’ pinch yerself twice.” (From Sleepless in Scotland)

New Year’s Resolutions – Part one

Happy New Year everyone!

I usually make New Year Resolutions, of course they are usual banal, immeasurable things, and no I won’t give examples. This year I’ve decided to be different. Yes I’ve still got resolutions, but this time around they are measurable goals. As the last part of 2009 swept by it occurred to me that I was wasting valuable time. For over a year now I haven’t worked, I’ve studied of course but hardly enough to qualify it as a full-time job, or even a part-time one. And now I’m not even studying, effectively I’m sitting on my ever-growing behind, doing nothing, day in and day out. Normally this would be a great time to evaluate, decide on what I want to do with my life, do some volunteer work which might help once I’m actively job seeking again etc. But I already know what I want to do, I want to be a writer, what I do day in and day out on my ever-growing behind is write; although lately it’s been more editing and deleting than actual writing. Now what is the one foremost goal a writer should have? That’s right, get published. And to publish you need to submit to a publisher, or an agent. Which neatly brings us to…

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION 1

Finish and polish to submission standards a manuscript for Mills and Boon Historical. Submit MS no later than August 1st. Originally there were a few stories in the running to be submitted, but in the end I settled on Adele’s story. It’s a previous NaNo story which has been edited and added to over the years, and has the added bonus of being part of a threesome of books, although lately they’ve grown (in my head) to about 8 books. Still, only three are plotted and mostly written so for now it’s a trio. Adele’s story is set during the regency, although it’s one of the only stories that doesn’t have a set year yet. The reason for this is simple, 5 years prior to the story starting the heroine is banished to live with relatives in the colonies, I need to find out how safe it would be to travel from Britain to America. I don’t mean the usual problems back then with storm etc sinking ships, but rather the problem of the two wars. I’ve dealt with the Peninsular and Napoleonic wars in other stories, but only on land, I have zero knowledge of the Navy at that time. My mind seems to remember that the great Naval battles were earlier, around 1800 but still French ships intercepting English ships from the colonies could have happened so it needs researching. As for the second war, the war of 1812, I know next to nothing. Did it interfere with travel to Boston for example, or did the fighting just stay in Canada? So yet another thing to research before setting the date.

There are of course a million other things that need fixing with the story, but my main worry as I read through it a few days ago was the ending. There is no doubt that my leading couple are in love, earth shattering, heart breaking love. BUT they’ve hurt each other so much and got such a distorted view of what has actually been going on that I can’t seem to find a plausible reason for them to reconcile and live happily ever after. And they do live happily ever after, they feature in the other two connected stories and I know how many kids they have and their names. So yeah, a little frustrating to say the least, but I have no doubt it will be resolved. In the words of my favorite Mr. Darcy –  ‘I shall conquer this.’

Just a few minutes to go now and then the madness starts

In the last week I have decided on what to write, at least sort of. My supernatural historical romance has been dropped for the time being; instead I’m doing a pure historical romance with characters who first surfaced back in 2006; my reason, a pure historical romance would be far easier to get published, at least over the plot of the supernatural historical. However I will also be writing a supernatural fantasy story with a contemporary setting.

Yes, you heard right, I’ll be writing TWO stories this year!!! It was the logical thing to do really, last year I wrote a 120k romance novel, that’s about 40-45k longer than Mills & Boon like their Historical Romance novels to be and I had not written the ending. The only reason it was that long was that I had a personal target of 100k and once I hit that I just keep writing dragging things out. So this year I have set a target of 130k, 80k for the historical romance and 50k for the fantasy novel.  I’ll be working on both of them throughout the month, which means there should be a word count update each day although as I don’t have internet access at home there might sometimes be two or three days between updates. I’m gonna set up a second profile on www.nanowrimo.org for the second book, that way people can easily see how far I am on each one. Otherwise it would just be one word count per novel which wouldn’t tell you much about how they were coming along individually, now would it. Hopefully I’ll get a Word Count widget up for both profiles within the next few days. Then again it might take a bit longer as wordpress can be a bit fiddly with widgets.

Ok so that’s the basics explained. Now do you want to hear more about the two novels? Of course ya do, well here we go.

Novel One

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

Title: Carolyn and Her Reluctant Suitor

Daily target: 2,667

What’s the Story:

Well Carolyn popped into my head a few years back when I had bought this writer’s software for the Mac, I guess it’s supposed to help you flesh out your story and characters when you do the outline, and in theory it sounds great, but it never quite worked for me and so the only time I used it was when I was testing it out and came up with Carolyn Mainwaring, a fresh out of the schoolroom debutant. She is a little flighty, a little flirty and a little silly, because that’s how she’s been taught to behave in public, but secretly she longs to sit in the salons of the great hostesses and discuss politics and literature. Anyway, as she is flirting her way through the ranks of eligible gentlemen she comes across the jaded Duke of Strathclyde, Lachlan McGillvary (think that’s his last name, can never remember), and falls head over heels in love with him. Unfortunately this is an entirely one-sided infatuation; Lachlan doesn’t have the best of experience with flirty, beautiful debutants and as a rule stays far away from them and their scheming mamas. True he is in the market for a wife, but she needs to be steady and practical, and there is certainly no need for her to be more than pretty, women who are too beautiful are in Lachlan’s experience trouble.

Carolyn’s not that easily deterred though and starts a very public campaign for her Duke’s heart. Suddenly jealous ex-fiancée’s, over-protective mamas and resentful would-be suitor’s get involved and it’s not just about her and Lachlan anymore. Will Carolyn get her Duke? Will Lachlan discover that his ideal duchess can be beautiful and practical, flirty and steady? Or will the people around them succeed in keeping them apart?

Novel Two

Genre: Supernatural Fantasy

Title: No Title yet (Suggestions welcome)

Daily target: 1,667

What’s the Story:

This is totally a spur of the moment story, just popped into my head a couple of nights ago. The character’s don’t even have names yet.

The main character is a sorceress, the only sorceress in existence as this power is something normally only passed down through the male bloodline. She is raised by her father in a supernatural community and grows up with many different races around, however she feels like an outcast and is often made to feel like one by her brothers and other sorcerers. Then a coven of witches move into the community and she finds another outcast, a half-demon witch. They become best friends, inseparable through their childhood and teens, until it’s time to go into the adult world of work and responsibility. The sorceress stays with the community and works for her father’s organization as a kind of supernatural police, making sure no one draws too much attention to themselves and punishing those who manage to anyway. The witch leaves as she doesn’t feel like she belongs with the witches or the other half demons and decided to find her own way. And that’s pretty much the back story which would be told by flashbacks, reminiscence or maybe a prologue.

As for the real story here it is in the words of our heroine:

I’ve killed before, punishing those not following the law as laid down by my father and the Congress of Sorcerers. Not once have I questioned my orders; I’ve taken pride in my work and done it flawlessly, at least as flawlessly as it can be done. I’ve never felt guilt, I’ve never had sleepless nights, I’ve never doubted myself; until now. Now I’ve been ordered to kill someone I once knew, a friend, the only friend I ever had. And I’m afraid; because I know I could do it and what kind of a person could kill their best friend? So what do I do? How do I save us both?

 

As you can see the first story is far more fleshed out then the second, and if you have title suggestions and character name suggestion for me for Novel Two please post them, I’d be grateful for any suggestions.

So to sum up:

2 Novels, 130k words, 30 days, 4,335 words a day

See ya all in December…

The Queen of Blogs…

Though unfortunately not the Queen of blogging, you would actually have to remember to post more than once in a blue moon for that title. This is my new start, trying to get my act together before starting A215 Creative Writing with the Open University in September. I’m hoping this will be a nice outlet for blogging about my day, writing and everything else 🙂

I also have two other reasons for doing this blog:
Firstly I have a dreadful habit of scribbling things down everywhere, and then end up loosing them, never to be seen again. So my plan is to now post some here, at least the more complete scribbleries.

Secondly, I’m terrible at doing writing exercises, I’ll start them with the best of intentions, but not complete them. So with A215 in mind I’m gonna work my way through the writing exercises in Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Travelled, as poetry is a definite weakness of mine.

I usually write Historical Romance, which I’m scared will be frowned upon by A215 tutors as people tend to look down on you when yo mention this as your area, just to put the final nail in my coffin it is specifically Regency romance I write. There, I am out

I also write fantasy, modern and more traditional. The modern tends to be very BtVS, Angel, Charmed, Hex etc influenced, whereas for the more traditional my inspiration comes from David Eddings (Belgariad and Mallorean especially), though nowhere near that at the moment, as well as Elizabeth Moon and Papa Tolkien (though that really goes without saying)

Currently I’m studying A103 An Introduction to the Humanities with the OU, and loving it 🙂 About half way through at the moment, so scarily getting towards the end. The ultimate goal is a BA (Hons) in Literature, which should take 3-4 years (I hope).

Well it’s the end of another bank holiday, and time for bed, so this should be enough for now.

Copyright © 2007-2011 Line Sletvold Finnan
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