All the regular Wench readers will know that Anne, Nicola, Mary Jo and I were away at the RWA conference in San Antonio. For me and Nicola that meant jet lag as well as introvert exhaustion. I used to think that introvert meant someone who hid away from people, but according to the Myers-Briggs personality test, it means we give out energy when we're with people. Once I heard about that it explained why I'd go to conferences, have a great time, but find myself back in my room reading a book. Refueling. In testing, nearly all writers turn out to be introverts, which isn't surprising as we spend a lot of time alone with out inner world.
Extroverts, in MB, take in energy when they're with people, so tend to choose professions involving a lot of contact with people. I haven't read any data on this but I suspect that extrovert writers are the ones who love to write in a busy coffee shop and seek out as many speaking engagements and media opportunities as they can, or perhaps even have a part time job when they don't need the money.
Any idea which you are?
In the weird synchronicity that often happens I got up late today (that's not the synchronicity, but an explanation of why this blog is late, and also…) and switched on the radio as I was making my breakfast to find the beginning of a new series of Stephen Fry's Fry's English Delight, his programme about words. You may be able to listen to it by clicking on that link.
This week's episode? "Language and magic have a mysterious relationship, which is probed in this programme by Stephen Fry. It's a beguiling, secret world in which magicians and psychologists feel equally at home. The common factor – nobody knows exactly how either works."
(I don't have any suitable pics for this word topic, so I thought I'd share some pictures of swallows in flight that my husband took recently in Wales.)
At the RWA conference there was a session about the historical romance genre and the idea arose that some people are turned away from historical romance by the word historical. Two main reasons were given.
1. It's imprecise. A lot of people these days might think historical romance = a sexy love story set in the Regency, but of course it could be a love story set anywhere in the past up to point vaguely set where there's no one left alive from that time.
2. And most interesting to me — it sounds daunting. Apparently "historical" makes some people think of school; dates, political movements, and old white males; and exams.
"Historical" draws me, because I've always loved playing around in the past, but I can see how that might be. In addition we have "historical romance" and "historical novel". We know the difference, but often people use "historical" or "historical fiction" to mean both, which confuses.
What to do?
One suggestion was that we describe our books specifically to period. Medieval romance, Tudor romance, Edwardian romance. We can't easily use Regency romance because that already means the traditional regency form, so the best alternative is Regency-era romance.
You are probably someone who doesn't mind the word "historical" or finds it appealing, but if you're willing to help me, I'd like you to ask a non-historical reader or two for an opinion and report back.
You could ask them whether "historical romance" sounds weighty to them, perhaps designed to teach them about the past. (Rather than sending them on a delightful adventure in times of yore.)
Also, which would they be most likely to pick up or click on for more information, a "historical romance" or a "regency-era romance."
What about a "medieval romance", or a "knights and ladies romance"?
I'm now wondering whether the lack of popularity of medieval romance is that somehow it's been hit by "historical" (weighty) and "medieval" (grim.)
Now I must fly back to Too Dangerous for a Lady. It's another Rogues book and I'm at the polishing phase, but it is due in New York in a fortnight. (There's another lovely word, along of course with sennight.)
Do you have a favourite word from the past.
Words are mysterious. I think it was J R R Tolkein who said one of the most beautiful phrases in the English language is "cellar door." Isn't it just!