Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Regency Romance: Excerpt from A Sense of the Ridiculous

     High on the moor, a sleepy stream meandered, gurgling and chuckling in places, deep and mysterious in others. Little could be heard besides the whistle of the breeze stirring crisp fallen leaves, the rough fronds of tussocky grass or springy heather, and the occasional call of a bird flying overhead. Jocasta loved the place; its wild, serene beauty had always held the power to calm her more tempestuous moods, and even though these days she had greater control of her temper than she had before her come-out, it was still a pleasant spot for her horse to crop the grass while she indulged in quiet reflection.

     Invigorated from her bold ride, Jocasta removed her cockaded hat and the remaining pins from her hair. Careless of her cherry-hued habit, she sat on a fallen log, wishing she could stretch out on the springy turf, kept close-cropped by moorland sheep. With difficulty, she curbed the unladylike desire.

     “What took you so long, John?” She cast her henchman an innocent smile when he eventually rode up to her.

     Her sorely tried manservant was not deceived. “Now, Miss Jo, you really shouldn’ ’ave done that. What if’n you’d taken a toss or Grey Friar had bolted? Sir Thomas would be in a rare tweak—I’m too old to start looking for another post.”

     “Sir Thomas would be more likely to tear me off a strip for cramming my horse or being ham-fisted,” she retorted. A wistful note entered her voice. “Sometimes I wish I were a man and could leap astride my horse and go wherever the fancy took me. Be free of my petticoats and all that they stand for.”

So You Want to be Published?  Writing The Book is the Easy Bit!

Heather's Hotchpotch Of Writing Hints

1.     Never assume it will be straight forward, even when you have been accepted. The publishing world has a way of throwing googlies!

2.     Don't get disheartened. No matter how good you are, there are hundreds of other voices out there, just as good and maybe better. It often comes down to the tone of voice the publisher is looking for.

3.     Be prepared to rewrite, rewrite and rewrite. And rewrite again.

4.     Equally, beware of over-editing or you can lose the freshness and soul of your writing.

5.     It really does help to write every day, even iif just for a few minutes composing an email.

6.     Have pictures, postcards or a selection of words/phrases to use as 'triggers' if you are struggling with an existing piece, or to create a new one.

7.     If it works for you, have more than one project on the go, then you can pick the one which suits your mood.

8.     Explore different lengths of work and different genres to help develop your 'style'.

9.     Beware overuse of 'qualifiers', i.e. adverbs. If it is your style to employ them, it can be a challenge to find alternatives. There are only so many ways you can say ' in such and such a fashion'!

10.   Create a list of exciting and imaginative metaphors.

11.   Collect pictures of people and places to use for descriptions of characters and settings.

12.   Don't rely on internet information for research. Always aim to confirm facts through three different sources. If you are struggling in your garret while writing your masterpiece and are on a budget, try scouring the charity shops for books. It is astounding what you can find!