Wednesday 26 October 2022

Lady in waiting?

Today, Monday, I am waiting for the electrician to arrive to complete a job begun last week. (Pleased to report that I can now use the toaster without it putting all the lights out.) Doing essential work in the house involves a lot of waiting  for appointments. I am not good at this - I can't completely settle to anything while I am listening for the door bell. Writing the blog is fine, because I can save it for later and it won't spoil. 

This got me thinking about the everyday things that you rarely read in books. How many times do you see the hero wrestle with the recycling or put out the rubbish? (Actually one of Greg Hurwitz's Orphan X series has the hero doing just that,  for a young woman he's rescuing from a couple of thugs - if my memory serves. I know it amused me when I read it. Good for Greg.) 

How many heroines have sat waiting for the gas man to knock on the door, rather than the hero? (And yes, sometimes the gas man would be more welcome!) I have written a waiting for the gas man scene - it was Cassie, in A Wedding on the Riviera, whose job as a concierge meant that she waited in for tradesmen professionally for clients. And it moved the plot along, so it was necessary. 

I like cooking, although I don't often make bread. 

I know that reading about the ordinary stuff is not very exciting. Characters in books live in a special place and we probably prefer that, but maybe I'll think about putting some more real life in the next book? Cleaning windows? Changing the battery in the clock? Folding towels and putting them away? My characters often cook, so that's something, I suppose, but then that is something I enjoy. Cleaning anything? Not so much.  Of course there is a lot of gardening in A Villa in Portofino, so that's work - but restoring a neglected Italian garden isn't quite the same as turning over the compost heap on the allotment. 

Thinking more about it, maybe right now we don't need too much real life? There is plenty of that about at the moment. Too much, in fact. 

I'm an unashamedly escapist writer - for myself when I'm writing and for my readers when the book is finished. Sunshine, beautiful surroundings, suspense and romance - that is what it's about. A different lifestyle - and much better weather! That's the world I run away to, but maybe I will find a small space in the next book for cleaning the cooker or  watering the plants. Contrast might make it more interesting? 

Something to ponder. 

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Retreat report

It was a very good day. Lots of work done, encouragement and laughter. The Cariad group are/is awesome. 

Personally - yes, I was still in my fluffy purple dressing gown for the first session. Author note - the colour purple was not a real choice - all that was available in the M&S sale! I was dressed and respectable for the other sessions. Well - I was dressed. 

Work. I settled down with some blank sheets of paper and a slightly blank mind. Happy to report that some progress was made. My protagonists from what may be Riviera 4.5 (Novella) and Riviera 5 (Book) were prepared to talk to me and I understand them better now. Hero Mickey reminds me of Devlin in Never Coming Home. The strong silent type. I made some headway in sorting out the direction of travel for the plot(s).  

Still some way to go, and I have to get Riviera 4 on the road before anything serious happens. Then we shall see if I can make it all work.   

Wednesday 12 October 2022

Retreating again

 I'm writing this on Monday night. Tomorrow, Tuesday 11th, the Cariad Chapter of the Romantic Novelists' Association  has another on-line writing retreat, organised by the super efficient Jessie. 

This means 

a) I have to get up early

b) I have to find something writing related to do with the day. 

I have given notice that the first session at 9 am will probably - undoubtedly - feature me in my dressing gown. Hopefully I will not still be wearing it at the second meet up at 12 30! 

Issue (b) is a little more tricky. I haven't done any writing since handing in Riviera 4 to the publisher at the end of July. Just not felt motivated. Covid and various other health issues bear some responsibility, plus all the work going on in the house. 

What am  I going to do about it? 

Well apparently edits and a contract for Riviera 4 are on the horizon, so I guess it might be an idea to start thinking about Riviera 5. I do have some bits and bobs floating about, but none of the thinking is joined up at the moment. So tomorrow is going to be thinking time. This may look a lot like staring into space and drinking tea, but I hope it will actually produce something.  

I'll let you know. 

Wednesday 5 October 2022

It's the little things ...

 Lately I've been focusing blog  posts on small details - things that could add atmosphere to a book. It's a matter of observation and collection - a personal library of bits and bobs. Attention to surroundings and ideas on how small things might be used. 

With the accession of a new king there has been a lot of talk of the cypher that he will adopt, a monogram which will appear on post boxes, official buildings and documents. That's now been chosen and will gradually make it's way into the world. The attention drawn to post boxes made me look at a few while I was passing - I was very surprised to find one that had not the expected initials ER, but a cypher with a letter G. A box dating from the time of Queen Elizabeth's father, George VI. That box has been there for over 70 years! It was a particular surprise as the part of town has been extensively redeveloped. The redevelopment must have taken place around the box. I'm now curious as to what the road layout  was in the area before redevelopment. The historian in me surfacing. 

Will I ever use that in a book? Maybe. Perhaps my protagonists might be delving into a mystery that involves the history of a built up area? It's giving me ideas, but they will have to wait until some time in the future. I have other plans in the meantime, although currently my attention is on repairing and updating my home. 

It's going in my bank of odds and ends, something that might add texture to a future plot. 

The unexpected power of the little things ...