I’m still working through the first draft of my next historical, and all my creativity has been sucked into the whirling vortex that is my Work In Progress (or POS, however you want to look at it) , which doesn’t leave a great deal of brainpower for blogging. I could manage a political rant at the drop of the hat, (really, anyone in Congress who couldn’t see the housing bubble popping had to be either a willful idiot or lying thief) but politics are scarcely the kind of escape the wenches provide.
So for your amusement and delectation, I have let my mind slip into the stream of consciousness that is my writing process. Which means you’re likely to see almost anything here until I get that first draft finished.
I know a number of our readers are interested in the writing process, but I trust you don’t think anything we say here has any relevance to anyone besides ourselves. My process changes constantly, and because I’ve been in love with the Regency period since I read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE in fourth grade, my process for Regencies is entirely different from other eras.
I have no idea why I fixated on Austen. I read Bronte at the same time, and while JANE EYRE impressed
me, it didn’t make me want to read more about the early Victorians. Quite the opposite. I also read Cherry Ames and Nancy Drew and had no desire to research nurses or roadsters. But I’ve been more or less reading about the Regency era since
So I have vast quantities of knowledge stored in the recesses of my often inaccessible brain, books completely covering my office floor as I reach for pictures of carriages or gowns or underwear, and still, I need more. And the internet has been a complete blessing for those tiny details I’ve forgotten or must hunt through three texts to find.
Today, while my hapless hero chased four runaway rapscallions, I had need to call up information on the Surrey Iron Railway, which wasn’t a railroad as we know it, but iron lines for pulling horse-drawn
wagons. My texts didn’t mention this nine-mile track, but a quick Google provided pictures and more information than I could possibly use.
While I was there, I decided I needed to know what kind of wagon my runaways might have hidden on. I come from a dairy background, so that was my first thought—cans of milk. Bad thought. During the Regency, the corn laws made feed exceedingly expensive and the number of dairy animals was reduced, thus raising the price of milk to the extent that London kitchens tended to
buy it a spoonful at a time. No milk can wagons. But I discovered several lovely Regency sites on this pursuit which took me from one blog to the next learning the various agrarian industries in the area where my runaways would end up. So I wrapped them up in sheep wool, which I now need to investigate to see how badly it would smell.
And while I play with these lovely scenes and the fascinating research, at the back of my mind is always that niggling doubt about the whole effort surviving the cutting room floor. I seriously suspect if I could compile everything I’ve ever cut from my drafts, I’d have another forty books.
I know some authors post these deleted snippets on their websites. How many of you take time to read them? Are they really worth saving? And if you like these snippets, are you the type who likes the DVDs containing the cut portions of films, too? What do you get out of reading/viewing scenes the writer/filmmaker didn’t think worthy of the finished product?