In this post:
- Four examples of note-taking software
- Organising my Historical Research Database
- Defining my categories (or: Why chocolate matters)
Writing historical novels – be it about the Middle Ages or the Regency – requires access to a lot of historical information. I want the data I have collected as handy as possible. Today I invite you to have a look at the set-up of my Historical Research Database.
You have finished a chapter, the structure is sound, the scenes drive the story and there are some surprises in store for the reader. Not much editing to do left, you might think.
Before you move on to the next chapter, you should apply 5 indispensible checks to your text. Here is your checklist:
Here is my new 5-Minute Novel. Inspiration hit me when I was doing research for my post “Writer’s Travel Guide: The Jersey Connection“. I found a most useful book about the Isle of Jersey during the Romantic Age: Balleine’s History of Jersey. While I read the passages about the French émigrés at Jersey, plot bunnies sprang up. Read here the story they carried with them.
A stroke of luck
The Isle of Jersey (photo by Lady Dorothy)
Wiltshire, 1793: The orphaned siblings Eliza (24) and William Redruth (20) live with their elderly aunt Margret in shabby-genteel circumstances in the countryside. One day in May, they receive a letter: A distant uncle, Baronet John Redruth, died in old age on the Isle of Jersey. Being without children, John Redruth has decided to make William the heir of his manor house on the isle. These are exciting news. Williams wants to travel to the Isle of Jersey immediately to inspect the inheritance. The ladies warn him: Due to the war with France, the island located so close to France is in danger of being invaded. Continue reading
I have finished editing chapter 9. It is one of my favourite chapters as it is about a ball. I love balls, so I dedicated 24 pages to this glamorous event. When I was editing the chapter, I rewrote some of the dialogues to make them as sparkling as the ball room. More significantly, I had to exchange one of my minor characters. Such a change can be tricky.
In this post:
The storyline of The Castle of Atraños
8 historical facts that bred plot bunnies
This is my first 5-Minute Novel. Inspiration hit me when I was doing research for my introductory text to the new exhibition about letterpress printing at the Museum of Creativity. I found a most useful book about printing at the university library: Michael Twyman’s “Printing 1770 – 1970, an illustrated history of its developments and uses in England”. It provides helpful information about the printing business in the Regency period and new techniques. While I read it, plot bunnies started hopping all around me. Read here the story they carried with them, and find out which historical facts inspired them.
A Writer of a Gothic Novel
It is the City of London in June of the year 1808. The Honourable Thomas Morrington is the second son of a squire. He is 20 years old and fond of novels and writing. It is his dream to write a great gothic novel and become as famous as Ann Radcliffe.
Some time ago, Thomas finished writing his novel “The Castle of Atraños”, an eerie tale about an alchemist practising magic in the dungeons of his castle, which his perched above the village of Atraños in the Spanish Pyrenees. Mysterious ingredients are required for the magic, including the locks of blond virgins. A lady in distress has to be rescued by the hero of Thomas’s novel, whose looks bear a striking resemblance with Thomas’s, but owns a great fortune (whereas Thomas’ allowance is meagre). Continue reading
Regency Explorer starts a new series of posts combining entertainment and facts about the Regency: the 5-Minute Novel.
When researching history, you come across historical facts that turn into plot bunnies just by themselves. A plot bunny is an idea for a scene or a story. So you read something about history and immediately get an idea for using it in a story. You think some more about it and see a whole novel developing.
Many famous writers of the 19th century have used the epistolary format in their novels, among them Jane Austen (Lady Susan) and Bram Stoker (Dracula).
Despite the fact that this novel format has been brought to perfection already two centuries ago, a variety of misconceptions is prevalent in many forums and discussions about writing.
It is time to dispel some of those myths.
Good news: I have finished chapter 6!
I had dreaded editing this chapter because I had to straighten out a peculiar flaw: babbling.
I had babbled for 3 pages about a real historical event. The problem was that the event had no impact on the story. So I had to cut a lot of text. Writers hate to do that.
However, for the benefit of the novel, I braved the task. I even enjoyed it when I noticed the result would be really good – once I had managed to handle the historic event properly.
Developing a plot for a novel can be tricky. Today, Sarah Waldock, author of Regency romances and historical mystery stories, presents an amazing creative method: Writing by dice.
Her post offers a unique insight into the creative process and shows how the element of chance can be successfully employed to enhance a plot.
People often ask me how a writer develops a character for a novel. I usually answer:
“It’s easy. You simply make up his or her life.”
This answer is not always helpful, because the most frequent reply is:
“Oh, make it up – but I don’t know how to do that.”
This post is dedicated to all persons who feel fobbed off by my aloof advice. Today, I will explain the development of a character properly. To give you an insight into the creative process, I will use a “real life” example.