I thought about how long it's been since I've written a Regency romance. I wondered what exactly it was that kept holding me back. I mean, I had outlined the complete story arc nearly two years before. I had three editions of covers for the series, as well as character outlines, maps, intriguing plots and my pictures file completely full of who I wanted those characters to be.
You see, I haven't been sitting idly by. I have been working on the series.
However, I haven't wanted to write it.
I finally figured out why.
Writing From Experience
Writers examine their own experiences to find the emotions that appear on the page. At least, this writer does. Joy, pain, delight, sorrow, candor, grief, happiness, greed, empathy, sincerity, love, hate, It's a roller-coaster I'm not sure I want to ride again.
I jokingly say to my friends that if I don't cry at least once when I write the book, it won't be any good. They look at me as if I'm insane. I figure, if what I'm reading gets to me on that kind of emotional level, then it's a good book. Someone else in this wide world of readers might like it too.
However, I'm afraid of being locked in that world of coquettish giggling and first glances across a crowded room--of being hurt, lied to, and rung through veritable washer. We've all done it--identified with some aspect of a character's dilemma. Problem is, I'm living through it right along with the heroine.
Writing From An Outline
The series itself is set of eight stories- not all with a finite ending. The series will also coincide and overlap The Reluctant Grooms series during the last four books. It is a HUGE commitment and I'm feeling a lot of pressure (mostly my own) that I've bit off more than I can chew. Dedicating one's self to series writing is a lot of work. Especially when I already know the ending. I have a hard time saying good-bye to my characters.
A little about the series arc. In the Ladies of Dunbury series, we meet Henry for the first time. And his nieces. Over the course of the books, several relationships start, and as each one ends, one of the ladies finds her true happiness. Henry and Catherine begin their relationship in the first book, and Catherine and Henry conclude their relationship in the last book. See that little twist with the words I just did there? And in between, the girls get to have their flings.
I really like the idea of this series. It's the undertaking that stymies me. I don't know where to start. Sure, at the beginning is usually the best place, but I'm not feeling the love there yet. The first ten chapters of the first book, are Henry setting up his houses and getting his life back together from being away from London and home for almost thirty-five years. He's a little shell-shocked to say the least. On top of that he has six impoverished nieces he must provide for, including dowries. Henry is not having any fun. I finding it kind of boring and a lot of backstory that I can weed in later. (I love my critique partner for teaching me this trick.)
However, Henry's back story is important and sets everything up for the end of the series, especially when he finally meets up with Olivia again. So I'm wondering whether or not to write Mercy as the beginning main character and leave Henry out of it. As a writer, I'm second guessing my decisions on the opening, where to start. I don't want to bore anyone, but yet, I think Henry is important to the overall series. I guess we'll figure it out as we write along.
I'm going to start pinning the books and characters on Pinterest. http://www.pinterest.com/regencyAnne. Of course, they may change as time goes on. (I changed poor Davingdale's picture four times before I found the "true" Davingdale.)
Next week, I'll post an excerpt. You can decide whether it's boring or not.
Anne Gallagher (c) 2016