In January, I’m doing a workshop on How to Write a Regency Romance for Savvy Authors and so I’ve been thinking about the workshop. I want to cover some of the basic information–stuff you need to know to write a book set in the Regency, but I also want to talk about writing (as in getting the book done), plausibility, and the most critical factor, which is to keep it simple.
Years ago when I started writing fiction I tended to do two things–I’d come up with really clever, complicated plots and I’d get stuck about a third of the way through. Or I’d end up with a book that needed a ton of explanation at some point. This was not good. I was being too clever for the book’s own good. I sold my first book when I learned a critical factor–I made it simple.
Simple allowed me to focus on the characters (not trying to untangle a very knotted plot). Simple allowed me to focus on the writing. Simple allowed me to get the story done. Simple is not a bad thing, I’ve learned. This also meant I didn’t need piles and piles of research to “make” a clever idea work.
Since then I’ve seen other writers with very clever plots–and I’ve seen them get themselves into deep trouble with all that cleverness. Once you have to start digging deep into research to find an obscure bit of information to make a plot work–or once you have to start saying, “well, what if I did this instead…” you’re heading to a place where the characters will suffer. This means the story will suffer. So will the writing.
So in this workshop we’re going to talk a lot about premises–about plausibility (what kind of story can you sell to readers) and about making those premises simple and clean. Elegant if you will. A concept that very much suits the Regency–and which will let the writing and the story shine like a diamond on black velvet.