• Former Riskies,  Frivolity,  Regency,  Writing

    Style. Sort of.

    For me, the early stage of writing a book tends to be the most difficult. The story I see and feel in my head is not what’s getting down on paper and, despite the fact that I know better, I continue to be stubborn about the direction to go. And every time I go through this I think about the story I read about celebrated mystery writer Rex Stout, who, this story went, would sit down at his typewriter and write his story and keep going until he was done. One version, no revisions necessary. Done. And what about Michael Moorcock whose book on the subject of writing seemed, to me, to be so blithe about the difficulties– I know I came away with the impression that he didn’t feel writing was difficult at all. Whenever he felt stuck, he put his characters under attack. Not plot moppets but plot attacks!

    I’m at that dangerous place in my story where I always think about giving up and writing something else… That shinier story that has the advantage of not having 15 chapters of awful.

    Inspiration!

    But then I’ll see something inspiring, like the dress pictured in this blog post: I found that, by the way, from a tweet by Candice Hern. If you’re not following her on twitter, you should be.

    Go look at that dress.

    It’s just gorgeous. Now I want to write a scene where my heroine is wearing a gown like that. How, how I ask you, could a hero NOT fall in love with a woman wearing a dress like that? Imagine how it would look in candlelight. :::sigh:::

    Step Away From the Keyboard, Ma’am

    This is why I should never be allowed near the internet:

    First, I thought, WAIT! PINTEREST! I can pin that beautiful gold gown! So I go to pinterest and wonder, when I get there, why there are so many pictures of Arjun Rampal and then I got distracted (safe for work except, well, if anyone sees you it will be obvious you’re not working….) Really: I have 4 boards (5 now) and the only ones with more than one pin are my books and Arjun Rampal.

    Anyway, I managed to create a board to pin the gold gown and THEN I ended up at this website Regency Society of America with its posting section on fabrics and then Esty where I looked at gorgeous pictures of Regency-style wedding gowns AND THIS website, Reproduction Fabrics.

    So right. I better end this post here.

    Who’s on Pinterest? Leave your pinterest info in the comments so I can follow your stuff.

  • Writing

    Tuesday Doings

    So, what have I been doing this week?  Watching lots and lots of Olympics, certainly.  Who knew how interesting the trampoline could be?  Who even knew there was a trampoline event at the Olympics??  I’m also loving Kate Cambridge’s colored jeans and cute striped tops.  Plus, how hilarious is this Jezebel article about the top ten reason why Ryan Lochte is the world’s sexiest douchebag?  Good times….

    But I am also trying to finish a new book, a Regency for Harlequin.  Wrapping up a story is always the hardest part for me.  Beginnings are fun, easy–the book is so shiny and new!  The characters haven’t made me mad or veered off on weird pathways yet!  Even middles aren’t bad, because I usually know what I’m trying to say about the characters at that point, we’ve gotten to know each other better and I see the shape of the plot clearer.  But endings–ugh.  For one thing, I always think I am closer to The End than I actually am, and it always takes much longer to get there than I plan.  Stuff doesn’t want to get solved, or it gets solved too fast.  When I feel frustrated, I turn to my Inspiration Board.

    I actually have a cork board hanging on the wall next to my desk, where I stick things like postcards, book covers, scraps of fabric, whatever catches my attention.  (Also lots of pics of my 2 year old goddaughter being incredibly cute).  But now I’ve also started inspiration boards on Pinterest, to which I am completely addicted.  Yes, it’s yet another way to waste time online (like I needed another one of those!), but I also like looking at images that help me get a concrete idea of my book in my mind.  Plus there are always pics of cupcakes on there somewhere.  (You can follow me there at AmandaMccabe)

    So what’s on my Pinterest board for this book?

    This is the heroine’s house, called Barton Park in the book.  It’s an important part of the story–she moved back there when things went bad in her marriage, to live quietly with her sister and try to make sense out of what went wrong with her husband (and why she still loves him).  It has to be once-grand but now sort of shabby…

    This is the garden maze, where important plot events happen…

    This is the hero, Hayden, who is now sorry for what he did to lose his wife and now has to find a way to get her back…

    This is the heroine, Jane, who at first doesn’t want to take him back…

    See how fun this can be??  I also have boards for my Mary Queen of Scots book “Tarnished Rose of the Court” and the new Elizabethan mystery series, as well as a Wedding Ideas board.

    What would be on your Idea Board?  What are you watching on the Olympics??

  • Regency,  Research,  Writing

    Obsessed by Pinterest

    Not even a month ago I signed up for Pinterest. You can see my early days here when I was just dipping my toes in the Pinterest water. Now it has become a bit of an obsession, my place to go when I’m stuck writing, needing a break from writing, or should be writing.

    The thing is, it is wonderful inspiration for writing Regency. There is, for example no end of Regency fashion images. I especially like the photographs of real clothing. Somehow I can imagine my characters in such clothes more easily than from a fashion print.

    Like this one on the left, originally from the Bowes Museum.

    I also liked images of men’s fashions, which we so rarely see in fashion prints.

    Another way Pinterest is useful is that it provides visual ideas for setting, whether it be inside or out.

    Here’s are images of the drawing room at No. 1 Crescent, Bath and of Keddleston Hall

    Then there is art that inspires, like this image from Jane Austen’s World

    I’m sure you get the picture (pun intended).

    Images are powerful. A glance tells us so much in an instant, not only about the facts of the subject matter but also about color, design. Even lighting can convey mood or emotion.

    I know some of you have joined the fun at Pinterest, because you’ve repinned my images and I’ve repinned yours. It is fun to see who likes what.

    I’ve never quite gotten the hang of social media beyond blogging until this particular form.
    What about you? What is your favorite form of social media? Do you like Pinterest?

    By the way, for those of you who cannot wait until A Not So Respectable Gentleman? is released on July 24, it is available now for order at eHarlequin!

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