Restorative Lamb Chops For Romantic Poets

So when bloggers who heretofore had been relentlessly consistent — some might even say unhealthily obsessive — about posting every week suddenly fall eerily silent for a distinct period of time, it usually means one of three things.

  1. The blogger’s life has suddenly become unspeakably wonderful, leaving no time for writing.
  2. The blogger’s life has suddenly become unspeakably awful, leaving no time for writing.
  3. The blogger’s life has suddenly been consumed with writing for somebody else, leaving no time for writing on her own damn blog.

Well folks, I’m happy to report that in this case at least, we’ve totally lucked out and won the fabulous prize behind Door Number 3.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. My life is in fact still pretty generally wonderful. So there’s maybe a just little bit of Door Number 1 in there, too.

But we all know that things have been just a little bit thin on the ground around here of late, more so than ever before in the long, storied life of this blog (which incidentally I think might have crossed the ten-year mark somewhere along the way this spring), and that’s been for the very good reason that someone else has started paying me actual money to write weird, quirky little articles about history and food and cravats and stuff.

I am not making this up.

I’ve been keeping it under my hat for a while because, well, it sort of seemed too good to be true. But now it’s officially official, and the first of these officially official little stories of mine just got published yesterday.

So I guess I won’t be jinxing it if I tell you about it now.

I’m writing for The History Channel, folks. For their new, fairly tricked-out website where they’re starting to publish all manner of wacky historical awesomeness. And they’ve asked me to write a fair bit of that wacky historical awesomeness for them.

I know, right?

Anyway, all this is my way of saying that I’d be chuffed as all heck if you’d go over right now and check it out. As I said, my first post went up just yesterday, and I think it looks mighty fine if I do say so myself.

And these posts will feature everything you’ve come (for better or for worse) to expect out of me. This first one alone is replete with dreamy 19th century male celebrities, brilliant 19th century female authors, scandalous young love, bizarrely executed elopements, and highly questionable choices in food and drink.

There’s even a little opium and prostitution thrown in there, as well. Because I know that’s how you like it.

Yes, all this and more can now be found on The History Channel website. Can you believe?

Here’s a snippet of my debut post, for those of you just too stunned (or too giddy with excitement) to have clicked already:

Percy Bysshe Shelley was a young, idealistic poet whose beliefs often set him at odds with the rest of British society in the early 19th century. He was an atheist who got kicked out of university for being a bit too vocal about his atheism. He was a strict vegetarian in an era when beef broth and pork jelly were the go-to cures for the common cold. And at the age of 20 he deserted his young wife for the even younger Mary Godwin (the future author of “Frankenstein”), thereby becoming a pariah to much of mainstream society for the rest of his life.

Not that he wanted much to do with mainstream society in the first place. Romantic poets so infrequently do.

Read on…

Of course there’s lots more to come. More historical recipes (this one features lamb chops — you’ll have to read it if you want to know why), more weird facts about long-dead dudes and ladies, more historical shenanigans and general nonsense of the very best kind. I hope you dig it.

Because God knows I do.

 

How to make your deadline

Portrait of a GentlemanAt the beginning of October, my friend Susan Scott invited me to join her on one of her frequent trips to Colonial Williamsburg. Always game for an unscheduled frolic through the past, I naturally agreed.

I had a dark, ulterior motive, of course, and it didn’t even have anything to do with stalking a bunch of living, breathing people who make a habit of gadding about in cravats and stays.

No, no, that was my obvious motive. My ulterior motive was what caused me to book myself passage on a 14-hour train ride from Boston to Williamsburg and back, rather than on some nice, modern, speedy airplane.

I was on deadline. I was determined. This is my story.

I’d been on deadline for a couple of months now, you see, and I had until November 1 to finish what I needed to get done. I figured that a long, uninterrupted spell on a train would impose on me the cone of silence and concentration that I needed to cross that editorial finish line.

So I boarded a train in Boston on the Thursday before Halloween at 9:30 in the evening, opened up my laptop, and got to work.

By the time my train rolled in to Williamsburg 14 hours later — ten minutes ahead of schedule, even — I was halfway done.

I then commenced to ignore my work, and to focus purely on frolicking about in the 18th century. I figured it would be good inspiration. Research. Yes. Research.

So Susan picked me up at the train station, because it was raining, helped me settle into my hotel, and then drove me right into the heart of Colonial Williamsburg and the glorious, fascinating 18th century.

As it was already well past breakfast, and I am a junkie, the first order of business was finding me a cup of coffee.

We stood in line behind a nice man who also seemed to need his morning fix.

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Then we started snooping around other people’s homes, looking at their family portraits, asking nosy questions.

You know. The usual.

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Susan listened to a tour guide tell us what it was like to be a slave in pre-Revolutionary Williamsburg.

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She was a very good tour guide.

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She had sources. And she wasn’t afraid to use them.

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We went by the Governor’s Palace, where I would later go dancing with men in cocked hats, white silk stockings, and peacock blue jackets, but where I would not be allowed to take photographs. Alas.

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I danced a reel, in case you are wondering.

I fantasized about living in beautiful old brick houses.

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Then Susan took me to meet her friends in the millinery shop, which was almost the highlight of the trip.

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Yes almost. I did mention the dancing, yes? By candlelight? At the Governor’s Palace? Yes. I thought so. Good.

Her friends the seamstresses were lovely, talented, and unbelievably generous with their time.

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Naturally, I gravitated immediately to those things that are relevant to my interests.

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I cannot possibly express to you how soft these were.

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But I kept stroking them, just in case I would somehow find the words.

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I did some very serious literary research.

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The ladies tried to distract me with their very large hats.

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But to no avail.

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Then they took me upstairs to their secret lair, where I got to see the things they make in their spare time.

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For fun.

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Because they can.

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They showed me dresses that would make your head explode with joy.

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It was hard not to squeal too loudly.

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I might have disturbed the neighbors.

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Then we went back outside, where it was still raining.

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Folks in historical dress seemed better prepared for the weather than I was.

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Some ladies taught us how to make cosmetics and other beauty aids.

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They knew what they were talking about.

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“Unadorned beauty” indeed.

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Making cosmetics looks like this.

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Knowing exactly what you are talking about looks like this.

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We poked around inside more folks’ houses, taking pictures of their personal items.

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Most of which I coveted.

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Oh, let’s be honest. All of which I coveted.

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They enjoyed bright colors.

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And the finest scientific instruments of the day.

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I coveted them, too.

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Patrick Henry had been left waiting in the parlor, which seemed rude.

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So I walked around, coveting things.

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We went to the wheelwright’s shop. It was still raining.

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Elkanah is a good name.

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The wheelwright was the boyfriend of one of our seamstress friends.

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His name is Andrew.

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He has an apprentice, who mixes his paints and paints his wheels.

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Andrew is also very covetable knowledgeable.

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Next door is the blacksmith shop, where fires raged and guys in aprons made loud clanging noises.

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We had a really good lunch. It was still raining.

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We went back to the Governor’s Palace the day after the dance — did I mention I danced? With that guy? In the peacock blue jacket? Okay then. Good. Fine. There is no need to yell.

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They let us take plenty of pictures at the Governor’s Palace during the day, when all the fancypants men were gone.

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Well, almost all of them were gone.

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Susan introduced me to her friends all over the place. She knows everyone.

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I mean, everyone who matters.

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Everyone who lets me sit in their fancy carriages, that is.

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Geek alert.

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On the last day of my trip, the sun came out at last.

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So I spent the whole day inside, at the museum. Yep. That’s pretty much how I roll.

I took pictures of things that struck my fancy.

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Kids pointing at cats. It’s a thing.

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Muscle cars.

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A carved wooden figure of, apparently, George Wickham.

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Seriously.

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Dance riot.

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The original, red version of that black dress I was coveting in the seamstress’s secret lair.

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Whitework.

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By Jane Riggs.

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Socks with clocks.

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The oft-referenced reticule.

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Velvet pants.

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Out friends the seamstresses, meticulously recreating a famous picture.

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Meticulously.

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Recreating.

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This.

Cravats aplenty, of course.

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I looked at old maps and started getting homesick.

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It was time to get back on the train and head home.

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So I took my seat, opened up my laptop, and got back to work.

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Somewhere around New York City, I hit a wall. I had just one chapter left to revise.

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I slept until Providence, then suddenly realized I needed just one more scene inserted into the end of the first chapter. I started writing again.

It was only when they cut the power and my screen went blank that I realized we were back in South Station.

I closed my laptop and headed home for the last leg of my trip.

A massive, unprecedented, highly unseasonable storm had swept through New England in my absence, dumping snow, snapping trees, and leaving thousands without power.

I got safely back to Cape Cod, made it all the way to the end of my street, but could go no further.

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All of the wires were down on my street, and there were trees blocking the road at both ends. Trees with wires wrapped around them.

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We had no power — no lights, no heat, no internet. I got back in my car.

I still had one chapter to go, and my deadline was at midnight that night.

I drove to the Hot Chocolate Sparrow, my favorite coffeeshop of all times, where they had wifi. And lights. And coffee.

And where it was also Halloween, and the staff was feeling festive.

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I sat down, opened my laptop, and got back to work.

A bear cleaned tables nearby.

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I finished my chapter, gave the whole damn thing one last look, and then sent it in.

As promised. On time.

Then I went back home, where the lights would still be out for three more days, and the internet would not come back for five.

But all of that was just fine with me. Because I had candles, and knitting, and cats that needed pointing at.

And I had made my deadline.

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Late Bloomer

BreadloafWhen I was a senior in high school, my adored English teacher took me to the Bread Loaf Young Writers’ Conference in Middlebury, Vermont. I don’t even really remember entering anything, or applying in any formal way. I suppose I must have, but I honestly don’t remember that part at all.

I just remember that she told me I had gotten in, and that she would be driving me there and back.

She had a convertible, and it was May. So I thought this was a pretty great plan.

Also, I adored her. And when do you get to spend time with an idolized English teacher like that? The one who looked you in the eye after knowing you for two whole months and told you that you should seriously check out Keats? The one who took you to see a play in a nearby town and squealed and grabbed your sleeve during intermission when she spotted Edward Gorey in the crowd, and then went up and introduced herself and you to him? The one who brought you to see Denise Levertov read, who changed everything for you, and then Marge Piercy, who changed it all over again?

The one who once taught an entire class with an empty wastepaper basket on her head, just to see what we would do if she did?

I was pretty psyched to drive up to Vermont with her. Let’s leave it at that.

And yeah, Bread Loaf was amazing.

My memories of the weekend itself are pretty scarce, actually, except for the clear and certain recollection of how perfect it all was. I remember just a few things.

It was intense. It was exhilarating. It made me feel like a writer.

Intense

Bread Loaf is a writer’s conference, so naturally we spent all day long steeped in workshops, alternately writing and reading to each other. I fancied myself to be a bit of a poet at that age, as one does, and furthermore I was deeply into my ee cummings phase, as one is when one is 17 years old. So I wrote floaty, frothy, free form poetry, and also a bunch of lighthearted short stories about my childhood.

Regular readers of this blog will know I only really outgrew one of those literary tics. Alas.

Oddly enough, I don’t remember having any real fear of reading my work out loud to my peers — I think my general sense was that they wouldn’t have let me in if I wasn’t at least as good as the rest of them. So, I figured, here I am — let’s see what the rest of you guys have got.

I do remember that this was my first real exposure to what I called then — and still call today — the Dead Baby School of Fiction. It seemed like everyone else there was maniacally intent on shocking — SHOCKING — the rest of us with their grim, nihilistic outlook on life. And it seemed, after a while, that every story these kids would read would somehow, eventually, inevitably, involve a dead baby. I am not exaggerating. Dead babies appeared with truly shocking regularity over the course of this weekend.

If I had been a drinker at the time, I surely would have made it into a drinking game.

But then there was this one wonderful instructor. A woman writer who just captivated me. I don’t remember her name, but she was tall, and very thin, and had long, wavy, gloriously unbrushed and wild black hair that was streaked with grey. Her voice was low, smoky, throaty with self deprecating laughter. And she had an absolutely stunning tattoo on her left arm — a ring of roses wrapped around her slender, bony wrist. Bright red buds, deep, twining green leaves.

I thought she was breathtaking in her originality. I had never seen an older woman with tattoos, never mind one who was in a position of authority over me. The personal history, the utterly foreign and — to me — unimaginable life that her voice, her body, her laughter hinted at was straight up intoxicating to me.

I do wonder who she was.

Exhilarating

There was a boy, of course. He was blond, I think, which is unlike me. I normally went for the dark, moody, and tragic type back then. But this boy was more like the boys I would go after later in life, and indeed, would eventually marry. Fair haired, fair skinned, wicked smart, and funny as hell.

So this boy was there. And I would sit with him on one of the long, green wooden benches behind the main building, writing increasingly silly verses and reading them to each other, competitively, then finally collapsing into fits of giggles all over each other.

Then it rained, and we took shelter under the eaves, watching the rain pour down from the gutters like only a springtime rain in Vermont can. In minutes, it was over, and the world was bright, glistening, and wet. We ran outside and sprinted across the blazingly green meadow that stretched out for acres across the street, through the thicket of woods beyond, and down to the river that tumbled within.

On the banks of that river, we stopped to catch our breath, our hands resting easily on each other’s backs as we bent gasping over our knees. In a minute or two, we made our way back up the slope to the meadow, towards home.

Now bear with me, because here comes the part about the rainbow.

Upon reaching the meadow again, we were greeted by an enormous rainbow, arching far and wide across the cloud-speckled Vermont sky.

I’m not going to lie to you. It was a double rainbow. Go ahead. Roll your eyes. I’ll wait.

And as I stood there, panting on the edge of that meadow, wet from the rain and lashed with the branches of the woods by the river, I thought:

This is what life is like when you are a writer. I am going to be a writer, and I will teach at workshops like this one, and I will get a tattoo of roses around my wrist.

And perhaps I will also take up smoking, because my voice isn’t nearly sexy enough.

I did take up smoking, eventually, but I didn’t do much else about that vision of the future I had at Bread Loaf, double rainbow and thrilling races across fields of green with some awesome boy notwithstanding.

Why not?

I have no idea.

I went off to college the next year, and it honestly never occurred to me to major in English, or to write fiction in my spare time, or to enter contests or write for the school literary journal or anything like that. Even when I started winning more prizes for writing competitions that I didn’t remember entering. Again. Seriously, is this something that English teachers just do?

I think I believed that the only kinds of people who wrote for the school journal and who wrote fiction in their spare time and who entered contests were necessarily and exclusively of the Dead Baby School of Fiction, and I instinctively knew that I wasn’t one of them.

When I was fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, I had fantasized about writing romance novels for a living. But that no longer seemed like a worthy pursuit to me, not after I had been exposed to the heady glamour of writing term papers on Dostoevsky, or lengthy critiques of Thomas Hardy.

Except for that one brief weekend at Bread Loaf, I just didn’t think of myself as a writer. I figured I would just use my writing, like a tool I was particularly skilled at wielding, in whatever discipline I ended up pursuing. So that’s what I did. For years.

I felt like a writer

But for that one brief weekend at Bread Loaf, I did feel like a writer. And I didn’t feel even a little bit self conscious about not writing about Dead Babies, or about broken glass on window panes, or loaded guns in dresser drawers. I wrote about what was in me, which is generally pretty frothy, lighthearted stuff, and I was damned happy to do so. And I thought I was pretty damn good at it, too, if you want to know the truth.

But once I left Bread Loaf, I started to think about my writing as similar to playing my euphonium, a thing that I was also pretty good at without really trying too hard. Playing the euphonium was all well and good, and I could sight read a piece of music like you wouldn’t believe, but there was simply no glory in it. It’s not an orchestral instrument. You don’t play it in jazz bands. You play it — maybe — in a dinky little town band on the village green in summertime. Sousa marches and whatnot. And I knew, back then, that I was destined for greater things, so I gave it up.

I was naturally good at it, and I gave it up.

And I thought that only Dead Baby writers could be serious writers, so I gave that up, too.

I didn’t write for pleasure again — purely for my own gratification — until about seven years ago, when I started writing this blog. It took me that long to get back to it, for writing to start leaking out of me like water from a dam that was strained to the breaking point.

And then last year, more than 20 years after Bread Loaf, the dam simply burst. Out of the blue, I started calling myself a writer again. Out of the blue, I started thinking of myself as a writer again, and I just stopped caring about whether or not I wrote about the right sorts of things. I just wrote about the stuff that was in me, and I was damned happy to do so.

Out of the blue, I wrote two whole books in less than a year. Frothy, lighthearted romance novels that make me collapse into giggles all over myself.

I don’t know why I just let it all go like that after Bread Loaf, but I’ll tell you this: I am breathless with gratitude that I have it back now.

Today is my 40th birthday, you guys. And I don’t want any other present in the world.

Just this. Just my writing.

But it just might be time for another trip to Vermont.

The Trouble With Happily Ever After


“You mean Humperdinck WINS? Jesus, Grandpa, what did you read me this thing for?”

– The Princess Bride

Sometimes it’s hard to believe in the happy ending. Quite frankly, reality can get in the way.

Because when we read, we have to either forget or ignore what we know to be true about history, about human beings, about life — in order to really enjoy that happily ever after.

After all, bad things do happen. Often, in fact.

Hell, even in the rosiest of romantic fiction, we still expect that life will keep on happening to these characters.

And we know that life, not to put too fine a point on it, can suck.

In short, we know that happily ever after comes with a caveat. Bad things happened to these characters before we met them in the pages of this book, bad things happened to them during the story contained in that book, and let’s be honest, bad things are going to continue to happen to them from time to time after the book ends and their lives progress beyond the final page.

So knowing all this, knowing as we do that happily ever after is kind of a lie, why on earth do we keep on reading?

Happily Ever After – Until Life Happens

The biggest, and most obvious problem with the happily ever after ending is that we know that no human relationship remains unrelentingly awesome forever. Sure, everybody knows that the happy couple will inevitably have their ups and downs in the future, that her temper will continue to occasionally get the better of her, or that his tendency to behave irrationally hasn’t completely disappeared.

But as readers, we’re generally pretty willing to believe that this couple is going to be that one-in-a-million instance of two people really making it work over the long haul. They’re simply going to beat the odds. Because hey, even with a one-in-a-million chance, there’s still got to be that one, right?

So this doesn’t really present us with too much of a problem. We know these characters, we’ve come to care deeply about them, and we’ve seen them grow through adversity. We’ve seen them become stronger, better people as a result of whatever journey got them from Page One to The End.

By the way, if none of these things is happening for you in the book you’re now reading — if you don’t know, believe in, and care about the characters in whatever book you’ve currently got sitting on your nightstand — I’d suggest that you put that book down and find one that does. Why on earth are you spending your time with those dreadful people, anyway?

Happily Ever After – Until War Happens

What’s worse than mere personal foibles harshing our little happily ever after vibe is when we know that something truly awful is about to happen in our characters’ world.

By which of course I mean war.

Be honest: Even if a story apparently ends well, all promises at the altar and soft-focus kisses, don’t you always feel just a little twist in your gut when you know that this story takes place in, say, England, 1936? Or anywhere in western Europe in, perhaps, 1912? What about Japan, 1940? America, 1860?

As we all know by now, the first series of Downton Abbey ended just as World War I began. We know with absolute certainty that every single one of these characters is going to suffer because of this war.

We know this. They don’t.

World War I also looms over the wonderful story of A Room With a View. I’ve always loved the old Merchant-Ivory version with Helena Bonham Carter in the lead role of Lucy Honeychurch, of course. But the more recent iTV version, starring Rafe Spall as the romantic dreamer George Emerson, was splendid in altogether new ways. Not least of which, to me, included the newly devised final scenes that showed George dying on the fields of the Somme, and then follows an older, bittersweet Lucy as she visits the Italian pensione where it all began.

I sobbed like a baby when I watched that Rafe Spall version for the first time.

But if you’ve read the book, didn’t you actually feel the looming presence of the war all along? Sure, maybe George dying on a battlefield isn’t how EM Forster ended his novel (it isn’t), but you get the sense that he meant it to be there in your consciousness. Or at least, that he fully expected it to be there.

To the audience he was writing for, they would scarcely be able to think of anything else.

Think about it. The appearance of long-haired American peace activists in a movie warns us that they’re on a collision course with Vietnam. Black men and women struggling with segregation in the 1950s makes us tense up inside, preparing us for bombings in Alabama, shootings on hotel balconies. And for Forster’s generation, ladies in Edwardian bustles and huge, floppy hats was a pointed visual cue that the Great War was waiting just over the next hill. And for these readers, this knowledge would have colored the whole story. Everything that happened would have been seen in the knowledge of that approaching shadow.

Happily Ever After – Until Death Happens

What becomes even more problematical is when we know something dreadful about what happens later during a character’s life. Such as, for instance, an early death.

Raise your hand if you watched (and loved) Bright Star, the gorgeously produced and wonderfully acted story of John Keats and Fanny Brawne. Now raise your hand if you tried like hell not to care too deeply about their damned beautiful love story, even as they forced you to care, damn them all to hell, because you knew how it ended.

You knew that things didn’t turn out well for John Keats. You knew that, and yet still you went along for the ride. You once again willingly volunteered to have your heart broken at the end of two hours’ time.

Young Victoria is another one. Wonderful. Show us the touching story of two people falling in love and simultaneously learning how to shoulder great power — and all the while you are just merrily distracting us from the fact that Albert dies young, and that Victoria never, ever gets over his loss.

We know this. We know this! So why do we sign up for it? Why the hell do we step up to the plate every single time, knowing that we are just going to have our hearts shattered against the inside of our ribcages again?

I’ll tell you why.

We show up for these stories because we have to believe that people can prevail. Despite everything.

What a Book Must Do To Make Happily Ever After Work

The point is that whatever lies beyond the final page, we have to have seen our characters — fictional or real — learn and grow and become the kind of people we can believe will triumph over it all anyway.

Happily ever after isn’t about bad things never happening to these people again.

Happily ever after is about knowing that these people are going to come through it, because of what we’ve seen them become over the course of our story.

If it’s a romance novel, then what we see on Page One should be two people who probably aren’t going to get through it all alone, not as they are today. By the end of the book, they will have changed, grown in some material way, because of the relationship they have with each other. They are the catalyst for each other’s growth, and because of this, by the end, we know that they’ll be okay, no matter what life throws at them next.

They will, in short, prevail.

In romance, it’s love that has this transformative power. In other genres, it’s something else. The fulfillment of a quest, say, or the coming-of-age. The road trip. Take your pick.

That’s what happily ever after really promises us. Life doesn’t stop being life. But you can get better at facing life. And here’s how these folks did it.

And if the book you’re reading right now doesn’t do that for you, put it down and find one that does.

Fixing the blank page

I finished writing the draft of my first book late last night, around 12:30 am.

I say “first book” not to be unbearably pretentious, but because I’m following the advice of folks like this guy, who suggest that you start writing your next, better book just as soon as you are done with your last book.

So, after a little much-deserved fist-pumping and balloon releasing and looking around for the confetti-filled pinata for me to whallop, I announced my minor achievement on Facebook and Twitter, then opened up a new file and wrote the first 300 words of my next, better book.

In about a week, I’ll open up the manuscript I just completed and start revising. In the meantime, I’m playing around with what happens when one of my favorite secondary characters from the first story gets his own turn in the spotlight.

It’s pretty fun to be just improvising plot and character again, after several months of rather doggedly pursuing the completion of this other storyline. The new story will eventually crystallize and become its own set, linear path, but for now it’s just play.

I don’t want to downplay the amount of relief and excitement I am feeling from having completed my first novel-length manuscript. Because it’s huge.

But it’s only a draft, and it is going to take some editing and revising to make it into what I might consider a “book.”

But, oh my stars and garters, it is so much easier to fix a bad page than to fix a blank page. And I have really been looking forward to having all 90,000 of my favorite words all together in one place, having finally squeezed every last one of them out of the toothpaste tube of my brain and into my computer, where I can properly bash them around together like little toy soldiers.

My friend Melissa — who has been rooting for me persistently to finish and listening compassionately to my draft chapters and thinking through my plot holes with me throughout the whole process — she says that what I am doing is taking my Barbie and Ken dolls and smacking them up against each other and making them say what I want them to say. Which is kind of true.

Except that I never had Barbie and Ken dolls. I had Snoopy dolls. But I did used to bash them up against each other and make them say silly things to each other, too.

But coming up with amusing little anecdotes and scenes and situations, I have found, is quite a different thing altogether from drawing a clear, bright thread of a story through an entire novel, and making it work, and making it something anybody actually cares about.

So that’s the next step. Grabbing that bright, red thread and making sure it’s properly woven through all the bits and pieces I’ve sewn together in that manuscript of mine.

But first, I get to spend a week just playing. With my secondary character who is now a hero in his own right, not just the first book’s hero’s younger brother. With a short story I’ve been fiddling with in the back of my mind. With the folks who love Downton Abbey, and the glory that is period drama actors on Twitter (Cousin Matthew, Mr. Bates, and Lord Grantham, to name a few).

In honor of this week of play, I have a few toys for you. I hope you enjoy them, and that you, too, experience the joy of finishing the massive, ambitious, incredible project you’ve got brewing on the stove.

Because this? This feels awesome.


Toys for you to play with:

Build Your Own Regency Hero Dress-up Doll

Regency Name Generator

More Names of the Nobility Than You Can Shake a Scepter At

My photo album of The Day I Finished My First Book-Length Manuscript:

Twitter Status: Done.

Twitter Response

Facebook Status: Done

Last day's writing perch

Fairfax

Inappropriate Thoughts

Cold writer