Beautiful grey, rainy day here in upstate NY, and I am stuck inside because, yes, cold is still hanging in there. Real Life Romance Hero, aka Patient Zero, is back at work, and I am making a stab at doing the same. If I can be half as productive as my immune system, I may be able to make up for lost time, or at least babble incoherently.
The notebook in today’s picture is from Punch Studio, as is the small notepad propped against the monitor. Yellow sticky notes are plain Post-Its and get tossed as soon as I’ve dealt with whatever is scribbled on them (the note to buy Kentucky mints -the kind with jelly inside- has been there for far longer than I would care to admit. Must deal with that soon.) This notebook is for my version of morning pages; two pages, one sitting, as soon as I can in the day, all by myself, no stopping, no censor. Two pages, rather than three, because a) achievable goals, and b) the interior pages are printed with two-page spreads in four different designs. I’ve been doing this since October 26th, every weekday, and so far, so good.
One good thing about being sick is that staying home gives me a better perspective on how I use the space in my home. Going into the office, closing the door, and breaking out pen and paper feels like an indulgence, far more than flipping open my laptop and pounding keys. It may be convenient to flop in the recliner, put the lap desk on my lap and make with the clickety clack, but the alchemy happens with paper and pen. Being around my art supplies (which really need more organizing, when I am done with all the drippiness) also helps remind me that, while there is discipline needed for a productive writing career, there is also a measure of creative indulgence.
Right now, I’m making a list of historical romances that take place at least part of the time in Russia. I’ve had a passing interest in Russia since one of my dad’s ex-fiancees (yes, plural, and yes, only one at a time; my dad still had it far into his later years) and there is a lot of Russian interest/influence in ballroom dance, which I also love (strange life lesson learned; if you’re at a dance show and the Russians get up and leave before intermission, the show is bad.) but it wasn’t until the heroine of Her Last First Kiss told me she was half Russian that I knew I had to get farther into the zeitgeist of eighteenth century Russia. Not that my heroine would know much about that, as she’s never been outside of England, nor seen her Russian father since she was seven, but I need to know these things.
For some, maybe most, this would mean stocking up on biographies of real life historical figures. I do not work that way. I have tried, but it’s Sony and I’m Beta or the other way around (or whatever the distinction was; technology and I have a complicated relationship.) While I don’t advocate using movies and other works of fiction as sources of factual research, for me, those things have what I need even more. The feel of the time and place. Yes, I know that’s interpreted through writers and editors and actors and directors and set and costume and la la la I can’t hear you.
I’m not writing scholarly texts. I’m writing love stories that take place in a certain time and place, and, to the characters living this story, they don’t live in Historical Period X. They think they live in Now, because, to them, they do. They don’t know who’s going to win the war, or if the long-awaited royal baby will be male, female, stillborn, or healthy and whole. With the state of communications (as I tell RLRH, they didn’t have Twitter in the eighteenth century) unless my characters already live near Court, they aren’t going to know about the goings on until they are went-on-a-while-agos. Whole different mindset.
Annnd I’m rambling. Which is fine, because rambling is still writing. The post is still here, and I’ve stayed more or less on topic, so I am going to call this a win. I’ve gone through an entire box of tissues, have a big dent in my second bag of cherry cough drops, and am feeling up to actual food for lunch. It takes my mind longer these days to wander off, which I count as a good thing. Characters, however, are still prone to do whatever they want as soon as they hit the page, but it works better that way. Easing up on the iron grip gives them and me both room to do our thing, and if this cold from beyond hell had any hand in making that happen, then I will accept that purpose without too much complaint.