First, the idea: if I’m going to write a novel (or even a short story), something about the idea has to really grab me. It can grab me in an odd way — or an obvious way — it can be a character or setting or twist or something I can’t even name, but something about the idea has to make me excited.

Then I work it over for a while. I pound at it, and try to work out a basic plot. What if this? What if that? But wouldn’t that then…? I may end up with most of the plot, or I may not — some of my novels are more intuitive than others. Sometimes I don’t have much plot beyond the opening, and I go from there. (Though sometimes I think that, for me, that’s always an error. But I’ve done it. Who knows… Jury’s still out.)

Then I write. To write, I need Earl Grey Tea, hot, with milk. And it helps to have gingerlily perfume. Then I sit at my computer and write. (And it helps just a bit to have the book written by someone else.)

Excuse me? Oh, is that you, Bertie? Where’d you come from? (And why don’t you go back there?)

Of course it is I. No one else could blog with such exquisite grace. As to where I am from, you know that perfectly well — London, two centuries ago. As to why I repeatedly fail to return — it is merely because whatever time-travel mechanism brought me here seems to have vanished.

As to why I am here now — I had the overwhelming feeling that the Risky Regency Readers were sadly missing my presence. That, coupled with the blatant falsehoods you were telling, drew me here.

Falsehoods? What falsehoods?

You forgot to mention all that moaning and groaning and complaining about how little you write, and how much you should write.

They don’t need to know that!

Too late!

Ahem. One thing I have found that is useful, is my Alphasmart. I sit on the balcony in nice weather and write. No email to distract me, no YouTube, no solitaire. No temptation to revise when I should be drafting.

On a good day (no comments needed, Bertie!) I can write about ten pages. I try to draft fast, and then do all the editing and revision later.

No comments needed? I am always needful. Or if I’m not needful, I’m at least decorative, which is much more important.

If I need to do research, I generally do that before I even begin drafting — at least, the major things. If I come across things I need in the progress of drafting, I know I really should make a note and do the research later, but I usually just do it then. (I’m always afraid it will seriously change the plot!)

Oh, come now! How much was the colour of the upholstery in the Theatre Royal Covent Garden going to change the plot of My Lady Gamester? Not one whit, and you know it. And yet you stopped everything to find out.

Have you been spying on me, Bertie?

Now that you’ve limited my TeleVision time, there’s nothing better for me to do.

I do beg your pardon, readers of the blog! My post today seems to have been hijacked by an exquisitely elegant egomaniac, and I can tell I’m not going to get any more serious work done today.

Oh, yes, and that will be such a change for you.

Hey! That’s it — no pie for you. And no James Bond!

Pardon me, ladies and gentlemen. I need to go reason with my landlady. She’s gone off in a huff, and I really do want to find out just how elegant this new Bond is. And I need my pie.

Good day!

Exquisitely yours,

Bertram St. James, Exquisite

Signing my post? The cheek!

Cara King —
My Lady Gamester — the name is James, Atalanta James