Elizabeth: Past or Present?

The Remington Noiseless Portable – perfect for that 1940s writer on the go!

As the world and technology continue to get more advanced, I seem to be regressing.  A few months ago I bought an old record player so that I could listen to the albums, 45s, and yes even 78s from my early years that I found when fossicking around in my garage.   Weeks later, when clearing out my parent’s old house in preparation for selling, I souvenired the old Eureka vacuum cleaner (still working) that they received as a wedding gift back in the ’40s.  And then yesterday, a Remington Noiseless Portable typewriter, also from the ’40s, was added to the mix.

It’s not that I don’t like (some) modern technology–I’ve grown to love my iPad with its Kindle app and web browser–but some of the simplicity of the past definitely has its appeal, especially now when things seem to be so crazy.

The typewriter is functional, though just barely, and needs a deep cleaning and possibly the replacement of a missing part or two.  While I may be envisioning myself sitting out on the patio with a tall cool drink, typing away on my latest novel, it is just as likely that I’ll disassemble the typewriter for cleaning and then be unable to put it all back together, despite all the helpful YouTube videos out there.

Fortunately the phrase, “it’s the journey, not the destination,” is applicable for me here.

I’m also regressing in terms of the story draft I’m currently working on.  Like Kay has mentioned in her recent posts, I’m going back to some of my early writing to see if it can be moved from the “good practice attempt that should probably be burned” to “hey, maybe this can actually see the light of day.”

That may be unjustified optimism on my part.

The first story draft is for a Regency romance.  The Regency period, with its slower pace and interesting clothing has appealed to me since I read my first classic Regency romance.  I like the Jane Austen “comedy of manners”  aspects of the stories and the increased focus on character over intricate plots.   My Regency has a spy/post-Napoleonic war component, so there is a bit of complication there, but the focus is very much on the characters.

As I work through revisions, I notice that I apparently was following a “throw in everything including the kitchen sink” plan.  There are far too many twists, turns, and “clever” tricks, which is probably one of the reasons why I wrote myself into a corner more than once and had to delete my way to a path forward.  I’m now “regressing” the story, taking out all of the distracting complexity and getting back to the core story so that it progresses from start to finish in a logical fashion.  Some of those twists, turns, and tricks will no doubt find their way back in, but in a way that enhances rather than overwhelms the story.

Fingers crossed on that.

Since I’ve been focusing on this story, I’ve been paying more attention to the Regency stories advertised in the many book-recommendation emails that flood my inbox.  I was appalled amused when I read the tagline for one of the stories which purported to be a “sexy super-hot Regency romance.”

Oxymoron anyone?

Sexy and super-hot are probably the last words I think of when I think about Regency romance and I’m pretty sure I’m not the reader for that book.  Of course I don’t think of “cozy-mystery” when I think of Regencies either, but I have seen a number of those popping up lately too.  I’m sensing a trend of mixing the simplicity of the past with the popular aspects of contemporary stories.

It will be interesting to see how that progresses.

For now, I’m going to focus on my traditional Regency and getting my hero and heroine to the happily-ever-after they deserve without writing myself into any further corners . . . as soon as I finish watching one last typewriter repair video.

So, how’s your writing going these days?

4 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Past or Present?

  1. My writing is going terrible right now. I’ve got 4 completed manuscripts and another idea with notes and some scenes, but I struggle with conflict lock and feel like if I don’t have that there’s no reason to continue.

    On a separate note – Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster series is most definitely sexy super-hot regency. She has love scenes that go on for a dozen or more page. They could be considered instruction manuals.

    And on another separate note – that old vacuum will probably outlive you. Those old appliances are workhorses.

    • I’m sorry to hear your writing is not going well, but also a little glad that I’m lot floundering alone. It’s always nice to have company 🙂

      Balancing writing and a full-time job has been even more challenging in recent months than ever before.

      You’re right on Laurens’ books. I used to read them until the time when I re-read a whole group of them one right after the other and noticed that the “love” scenes were pretty interchangeable between the stories.

      As for that old vacuum–it survived me and my siblings, so that pretty much means it’s indestructible. I’m amused to see that I can still buy the bags that it uses. I guess the manufacturer knows they are long-lasting.

  2. I had an ancient typewriter where the ‘o’ was a strange angle and therefore punched a hole in the very thin paper that my mother bought me. Any writing that came out of its ancient keys looked like it had been sprayed with tiny bullets.

    As for writing… I got the last book out at the end of May (rushed to make a deadline that actually wasn’t that important – NEVER doing that again) and now just seem to have stopped. I’m limping towards the end of a novella and scratching my head about the last book in my quartet and wondering if it’s all a bit ‘samey’. (And yes, that last was prompted by a reader.)

    So you’re definitely not alone!

    I read Laurens too, and at the beginning was a bit scandalised (how Regency) and then, like Elizabeth, just stopped out of boredom. It’s not Jane Austen, and it’s not my beloved Georgette Heyer, and probably doesn’t need the full-camera focus love scenes.

    Boredom is obviously on my mind, because I’m starting to wonder if I’m just writing the same story in different versions. I know it’s romance, and that kind of indicates what the ending will be… but doubts prevail. I’m taking a few days off in the hope that this will re-energise me.

    Great blog, thank you.

    • Sara, I empathize with your feelings of boredom. As I reader I feel more and more like I am seeing the same stories, so it makes me even more critical of my own writing. I hope your efforts to re-engergise do the trick.

      It’s great that you got your book out in May. That’s a real accomplishment and I hope you have taken some time to celebrate.

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