And (Not Or)

It’s happening again. Monday, that is. It really shouldn’t feel like a surprise, as Mondays happen every week. That’s how it goes: Saturday, Sunday, Monday. It’s kind of a thing. I’m writing this blog entry because that is the top thing on my task list for today, and the plan is to get the things I know I can get done, done first, so that I have the bulk of  my time to work on the stuff that’s going to need more attention. In this case, the writing of actual fiction. Today, I need to get the second draft of the scene in Her Last First Kiss, where Hero and Heroine meet for the first time, ready for my meeting with N tomorrow morning.

Over the weekend, I’d had a plan to get current on my rest (sleep has not been that great recently) and relax by reading (did some of that) playing Sims (did some of that) and organizing: making the part of my office that doesn’t show in my deskscapes look less like the wake of a tornado and more like a working office, sync all my paper calendars/planners so that they all have the same information, and leave room for tracking my writing output (I kind of did some of that. At least all my RWA chapter meetings are now listed on my office calendar.) All of those partial things were on Saturday. Sunday, however, turned into a family day. I am not complaining. I love my family; they are weird and have a lot of variables, and, at one point, we all ended up eating honey barbecue boneless wings in the living room (no, that is not correct, as Housemate was in her room, decompressing from her own weekend) and anything that ends in honey barbecue boneless wings can’t be all that bad, really. So, no, not complaining, but….

There’s always a but. The part of me that is forever an eight-year-old boy now snickers because but sounds like butt, and he is not wrong. Only one t, though (mmm, tea….) and here’s the thing: those buts can change everything. (One t, inner eight-year-old boy. One t.) Because I love to plan, and I get antsy if I don’t know what’s coming next, and because I am making progress in not one, but two novels, with a goal of being able to pitch either or both at the NECRWA conference this year, I need to know what’s going to happen after those books are done. With Beach Ball, it’s easy; Melva and I have already sketched out two more collaborative stories, and we look forward to writing those.

When it comes to straight-on historical romance, though, I am on my own. Since I’ve already talked about choosing a focus for this phase of the game, here and here, that gives me a general direction :salute: of where that “what’s next” is going to go. As my Aunt S often said, writing is a business, and, in the current market, linked books are the big sellers. Okay, then, I would like to be a big seller. I get the logic behind this, and I like a challenge. Trouble is, that my brain does not  naturally think in series format (unless we’re talking multigenerational, but that’s a whole other story, pun intended, and we will deal with that later.) Hello, my name is Anna, and I am a unicorn; that rare romance writer/reader who honestly does prefer standalone stories. That’s how my brain works, so consciously building a linked story world is a challenge.

How do I face challenges? With organization. My plan for part of the weekend was to boot Scapple and slap down a bunch of things I love about eighteenth century romance; character types, locations, different eras within the era, names, tropes, etc, then see what connections my brain wanted to make. Not hard and fast, mind you, only something to get the wheels started turning. I have become a big proponent of “this book, now” – as in get this current draft done, and then we can think about what comes next, because I really do have to know what comes next, the same as I really do have to have pretty paper. That’s not  bad thing, to know what tools one needs to do the job, and I will still make time later in the week to get that particular ball rolling in that particular direction.

I’m grumbly that I didn’t get to do that when I wanted to do it, but that doesn’t mean I missed my chance forever :flings overly dramatic arm over brow and swoons on fainting couch: As I learned when I took the leap of playing with the Beach Ball with Melva, new things don’t mean I can’t do the other thing. Co-writing a modern day (but historical-adjacent) story doesn’t mean I can’t write historicals anymore, and planning out a linked story world doesn’t mean I have to bury my beloved standalones in the cold, cold ground and wander the moors forever mourning my one true passion. It’s and, not or. I can do more than one thing without cancelling out that original thing.

How to wrangle it all into submission (pun unintended, but I will let it stand) – that’s another matter, and I’ll figure it out along the way. For now, time to make some tea and hunker down in century eighteen for the day.


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