Biggest Time Sinks

I think we all have our own things that we do instead of that writing that we ought to be doing. In this I’m not going to include the obvious things like working, sleeping, eating and keeping the house tidy (in all honesty, I tend to find ways to procrastinate these too!).

Gaming

I’m admittedly a bit of a gamer, not as much these days as I used to be – but I still play a fair bit. The games vary a bit, but the longest standing one is probably World of Warcraft. I even used to run a WoW blog for a few years, but as my gaming slowed down, so did my blogging about it. Other games I play are Dragon Age, Diablo, Stardew Valley and a bunch of little ones on Steam when I have the time.

TV-series/Movies

I probably watch more series than movies these days, but I do love a good movie and go to the cinema to see some of the ones I’m really interested in. TV-series are so good these days though, and there are so many of them. Too many! Services like Netflix, Amazon etc. have made series and movies so accessible, that it’s easy to waste hours binging on a new show.

Internet

No surprises there. I can easily waste hours just browsing the web, checking blogs, updating my own, perusing the latest posts on Facebook. Oh, and what’s new on my favourite YouTube channels? I also use the internet to keep in touch with my family in Sweden, so in fairness – I do love having access to it. When living away from your family it makes the world seem a little smaller.

What are your biggest procrastination fiends / time sinks?

So, what changed?

I’ve been thinking back to how I was writing before I got sick ten years ago (and everything fell to pieces). What has changed? Why am I struggling with writing to the extent that I am?

Ignoring the fact that I have chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, why can’t I pull myself together to do these things? Or is that the reason in itself? It can’t be. I know people who suffer from these things and they do get writing done.

Working full time for the last year and a bit for the first time since before I got sick is definitely not helping. I have limited energy, and currently it feels like all of it is going towards getting to work and doing my job. When I’m home, very little – if anything – is left. Not working, however, is not an option – because of that pesky detail of paying bills.

After a busy week, I just spent a whole day in bed. So energy levels definitely aren’t at their best at the moment.

The one thing other than my illnesses that I know is different is that I had a friend/colleague that read my chapters as I finished them. I think on some level that helped me feel motivated to keep going. Writing a book, as any writer knows, is a sludge and a rather lonely process. You have no idea if what you’re churning out is terrible or at least decent. (Most likely terrible, there’s a reason there’s a revision process!)

Still, having that one person who read each chapter as I wrote them – it kept me going. And it gave me an idea if I was on the right track, because she’d question things if they didn’t make sense and some things I could then nip in the bud instead of possibly missing them during the revisions/editing. I definitely miss having that.

None of this helps with my lack of energy, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Truth is, I have no solution, I think maybe I just needed to vent.

If you have a chronic illness of some kind, how do you get through it and find the energy/ability to write?

WIP Wednesday

Once a month, I will share a piece of my current Work in Progress, and I arbitrarily decided that it will be the third Wednesday of every month. Because logic is over rated.

This is a scene from a Fantasy Romance novella that I’m planning to start publishing on Wattpad in July or August (if things go according to plan). The main characters are the King (Arain) and Queen (Shae) who have a marriage of convenience, but have been thrown together due to circumstance and are getting to know each other.

This excerpt is from the first chapter when they are in a carriage on their way home from a visit to another kingdom.

 

“Actually,” he said. “No. I’m not going to do that. You’re stuck in a carriage with me, so I think this is the perfect time to chat.”

Shae smiled pleasantly. “Your Majesty, we chat all the time.”

Arain shook his head. “No, and I’ve told you to call me Arain. I hardly think that discussing the weather and if the steak is too salty is considered a proper conversation.”

“Arain…” It sounded far too intimate on her tongue. There was a reason she never called him by name. “My King,” she amended, making him scowl. “What would you like to discuss?”

Frustrated, he ran a hand through his hair again, mussing it up. “I don’t know,” he complained. “Anything. Everything. Don’t you think it’s strange that we’ve been married nearly ten years, and we barely know each other?”

Part of her wanted to argue. The part of her who knew how he would tussle their son’s hair every night before bed. The part that knew how his nose would crinkle when something displeased him. How his laughter was so contagious when he found something amusing that she had to restrain herself from laughing too, even if she didn’t find it amusing herself. But the other part of her agreed with him, needed to agree with him.

“Ours is a marriage of convenience,” Shae reminded him, her voice not unkind. “It doesn’t require conversation. It’s what we both wanted.”

Arain looked at her for a moment without saying anything, making her squirm in her seat.

“Is it?” he finally asked quietly.

She was saved from having to answer by the arrow that suddenly came flying through the open carriage window.

#WIPjoy

During July I participated in the #WIPjoy game on Twitter, where each day you answer a question regarding your current work in progress. It was all hosted by the lovely Bethany A. Jennings (@simmeringmind) I chose the novel I’m currently revising, and used the hero, Nathaniel as the main character for those prompts. Below are all my answers for the tag.

1.Describe yourself and your WIP!

I’m Emily, I recently moved to England, and I write various genres of romance. WIP is a regency romance, first of four.

2.Your MC’s aesthetic in 7 phrases.

Nathaniel – dark eyed, rake, honorable, loving brother, responsible, dark suits, sandalwood soap

3.Your first inspiration for this WIP.

Lots of regency romances and an old idea.

4.Three books that go nicely with yours.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen Anything by Julia Quinn, so let’s pick two at random; Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, and Splendid

5.A line in which your world comes alive.

6.Would you rather: get trapped in your story for a week, or have your antagonist enter your own life for a day?

I’d enter my story for a week – it’d be like a holiday to Regency England. But one week is enough, I do enjoy indoor plumbing!

7. A line where the plot thickens.

8.What would your MC be like as the antagonist?

As an antagonist Nathaniel would ruin others plotting and scheming because he doesn’t agree with what they’re doing.

9.What would the antagonist be like as the MC?

Christian Grey. Controlling and bordering on abusive.

10.Dish about a favorite side character!

Jacob, Lord Wortham, is one of the hero’s best friends, and is a rake with daddy issues. Sarcastic and enjoys annoying others.

11.What parts of this WIP are drawn from personal experience?

Probably some of the heroine’s shyness/struggle with crowds. The love and annoyance you feel for your siblings.

12.A line you nailed perfectly.

I found this incredibly difficult, so I just went with the first line of the novel.

13.Would you rather: never publish this WIP, or watch it be adapted into a horrible movie.

Bad movie adaption over never publishing any day. I still enjoy books even if they have bad movie adaptions!

14.Describe your MC’s personality with a GIF.

15.A line involving a decision.

“You could marry me.”

16.Choose an ideal reading spot, food, drink, and music to go with your book.

Under a blanket on the couch a rainy day, with chocolate and a cup of tea, the rain smattering against the window.

17.What’s something you’re still figuring out about this WIP?

I’m still trying to figure out/decide a title. And the surname of the main family. Because I don’t like the original one.

18.Share a thought that keeps you going as a writer.

I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, and I just don’t like who I am when I don’t. If I’m not a writer, then what am I?

19.A line that was hard to write.

I honestly don’t remember, it was a long time ago that I wrote it, and in revisions they ALL seem difficult!

20.Would you rather: have tea with your antagonist, or be stuck in an elevator for 3 hours with your MC?

I’d normally not want to spend time with antagonist, but I can’t deal with elevators. Will have to ignore him and drink my tea.

21.Why do you yearn to share this story with the world?

I guess I hope that someone else will love these characters as much as I do.

 

 

Book Titles

This week’s struggle is regarding book titles. I’m terrible at choosing book titles or story titles, I truly am.

The Regency Romance series I’m currently writing will be sub-titled by the surname of the main family, once I choose their surname, but obviously each book needs its own title. Which would be the most important part, really.

Because the siblings all have names from Shakespeare’s works, I wanted the titles to play on that as well.

The original titles I came up with were:

  1. As He Likes It
  2. Taming of the Rake
  3. Winter’s Kiss
  4. ???

The fourth one I’m not sure about. I’ve been thinking maybe A Midsummer Night’s Proposal or something similar.

As time has gone on though, I’ve come to realise that the first title might sound a lot more racy than the book truly is. It kind of sounds like an erotica title. Doesn’t it? So I think that I should probably change it. But I’m struggling to come up with more titles that sound well from Shakespeare.

One idea was to have every title reference kiss.

  1. A Midsummer Night’s Kiss
  2. The Kissing of the Rake or Kissing the Rake
  3. Winter’s Kiss
  4. Twelfth Kiss

But then I’m not sure if that’s just too much kiss, you know?

I’m at a loss. I don’t really know what to do at this point. Other than pulling my hair in frustration.

To Name or Not to Name

My latest struggle is regarding the surname of the main family of my Regency Romance. The idea is that there will be four books, one for each of the siblings.

Originally, their surname was Howerty, but I’m not sure how I feel about that name now. I don’t think it has a nice ring to it.

For a moment, I thought I had the perfect surname; Hathaway! It was ideal, because the siblings all have names from Shakespeare’s works (due to their mother being a big fan), and the plan is that each book title with be a play on his works as well.

So, Hathaway seemed like the name to go for.

Except, I had completely forgotten about Lisa Kleypas’ series, “The Hathaways“. I even read the books, and yet I had completely forgotten the name!

Which means that I’m back to square one. I can either stick with Howerty, but I’m just not loving the name. It was a name I came up with as a teenager when I penned the first version of what will be the second book in one of my old writing pads. Or I need to think of a new name. It needs to be a name that I 1) like and 2) works well as a series title. The Hathaways, being a really good one. The Howertys? I don’t know.

Do you ever struggle with names?

WIP Wednesday

Once a month, I will share a piece of my current Work in Progress, and I arbitrarily decided that it will be the third Wednesday of every month. Because logic is over rated.

This is a scene from the Regency Romance I’m currently revising, tentatively titled As He Likes It. The scene takes place at a ball where our heroine, Angelique (Angel) have just met the two youngest sisters of our hero (Nathaniel, the Marquess of Pensington), and is now meeting the older sister.

It’s unedited as I’m in the middle of revisions.

“Lady Jessica Howerty,” Mrs. Grey introduced the newcomer. “Miss Angelique Grafton.”

They both curtsied, and Lady Jessica looked nearly as uncomfortable as Angel felt. Fortunately, there were two impertinent young girls present to break the ice.

“You can call her Jessica since you’re calling us Miranda and Nick,” Nick offered helpfully.

“On such friendly footing, already?” Jessica asked her sister with an amused smile.

“Yes, of course. After all, she’s going to be my sister in law.”

Jessica’s head turned quickly towards Angel. “You’re marrying my brother? Why didn’t anyone tell me?”

Angel could feel her cheeks flush for the second time that evening. The image of the Marquess as he’d been lying in her bed the previous day flashed through her mind, causing her blush to deepen.

“I am not marrying your brother,” she said quickly, maybe a little bit too quickly. “I only met him yesterday.”

“Oh. I beg your pardon,” Jessica looked slightly confused. “But then why…?”

“I’m marrying James!” Nick offered, and then added glumly. “I can’t believe you forgot already.”

Jessica started laughing, it was a compelling laugh, full throated and without false affection, and it made the corners of Angel’s mouth start to twitch as well. Soon they were all laughing, causing several of the other people in the room to give them odd glances.

“I’m very glad to meet you, Miss Grafton,” Jessica said as they stopped laughing. “We’ve always been very curious about James’s sister.”

“Oh, please call me Angel.”

“I’m Jessica.”

They smiled at each other and Angel felt that she might have found a kindred spirit. Perhaps even a friend.

WIP Wednesday

Once a month, I will share a piece of my current Work in Progress, and I arbitrarily decided that it will be the third Wednesday of every month. Because logic is over rated.

This is a scene from a Fantasy Romance novella that I’m planning to start publishing on Wattpad in July or August (if things go according to plan). The main characters are the King (Arain) and Queen (Shae) who have a marriage of convenience, but have been thrown together due to circumstance and are getting to know each other.

Shae lay deadly still, trying not to move, lest she brush up against Arain who was lying on the other side of the bed. It wasn’t overly large, and it was difficult to lie comfortable without touching one another. Especially since her husband was not only a fairly large man, but also liked to sprawl. Which left her lying as far out on her side as she could without falling off the edge, and keeping her arms and legs perfectly straight.

Even with several inches separating them, she could feel the heat radiating off Arain’s body, and it was nothing if not distracting. He was breathing deeply, obviously having no issues falling asleep with her in the bed, while she was wide awake, unable to let sleep claim her. It wasn’t fair.

“For the love of the Gods, Shae!” Arain suddenly growled, making her jump. Turning her head she saw that he was lying on his stomach, facing her, his eyes drowsy, but definitely awake. “Relax, please. It’s impossible to sleep with you lying like a log in the bed.”

“You’re welcome to sleep on the floor if you prefer,” Shae replied stiffly, which only made him chuckle.

“No, but thank you for the kind offer. Why don’t you just relax? I promise I won’t bite.”

“I’m not used to having someone in the bed with me,” Shae muttered.

“Well, whose fault is that?” Arain asked as he turned around and nestled into his pillow.

Shae stared at the back of his head for a moment, anger burning hotly inside her. The person who had originally requested a marriage of convenience was he, so he had no right to complain now. How dare he?! Unable to quite control her anger, she kicked out with both feet and pushed as hard as she could.

Arain went careening off the edge of the bed and landed on the floor with a yelp. Sitting up, he ran a hand through his tousled hair and stared at her. “What was that about?”

“I’m sorry,” Shae said, her voice deadpan. “Leg spasm.”

She turned her back to her husband, suddenly feeling much better. Maybe she’d be able to sleep after all.

WIP Wednesday

Once a month, I will share a piece of my current Work in Progress, and I arbitrarily decided that it will be the third Wednesday of every month. Because logic is over rated.

This is a scene from the Regency Romance I’m currently writing, tentatively titled As He Likes It. The scene takes place at a ball between our hero Nathaniel, the Marquess of Pensington and our heroine Angelique (Angel) Grafton.

It’s unedited as I’m in the middle of revisions.


Finally, he gave up and walked across the room to where Angel seemed to be trying to hide behind a potted tree while sipping some punch. Apparently Chettisham had seen fit to give her something to drink, but didn’t bother to stick around. She looked up as he came to stand beside her.

“Are you enjoying your evening so far, Miss Grafton?” he asked politely.

“Very much, thank you,” she answered just as polite.

“Is that why you’re hiding behind a tree?”

Angel choked on the punch she’d just been about to swallow and started to cough. “I beg your pardon?” she sputtered.

Her eyes were watery from the coughing, making them appear greener than before. Framed with thick, dark eyelashes they were one of her most attractive features. Her pink lips were slightly parted, as if she could not quite believe what he’d just said. Nathaniel was shocked by the sudden urge he had to kiss those lips.

“Lord Pensington?” Angel queried softly.

“It seemed to me as if you were hiding,” Nathaniel said, pulling himself together. “Lurking behind plants usually isn’t an activity of those who enjoy a ball.”

A faint blush crept up Angel’s cheeks, making her look even more adorable. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she mumbled, facing the ball room and refusing to look at him.

“It was not my meaning to embarrass you. Please accept my most sincere apologies.”

Angel gave him a quick look. “Are you making sport of me, Lord Pensington?”

“I would never dream of it,” Nathaniel said with a look of mock horror, causing Angel to laugh and finally relax.

“I fear I really am hiding,” she admitted with a sigh. “I’m terribly shy and all these people make me nervous.”

“Where is your Chettisham?” Nathaniel asked, looking out over the crowd trying to locate him.

“He’s not my Chettisham,” Angel muttered, only to add, “At least not yet.”

“Well, he should be by your side if he hopes to win your hand in marriage.”

That caused Angel to laugh again, though it had a hollow quality to it. “There is no winning involved. It is simply how it is meant to be. I’m to be his wife, and that’s the end of it.”

Nathaniel knew he shouldn’t ask, it was none of his business, but he couldn’t help himself. “Do you wish to be his wife?”

She fell silent, looking out over the people on the dance floor until she found Chettisham, dancing with a beautiful, buxom lady.

“That is an awfully personal question, Lord Pensington,” she said quietly. “Do you really think that we are acquainted enough to speak of such private matters?”

“I did sleep in your bed,” Nathaniel said with a straight face.

Angel gasped and turned abruptly towards him, her cheeks turning beet red. “That is an awful thing to say to a young lady, my lord!”

“It was merely an observation.” Nathaniel tried to look innocent, but failed miserably.

“You, my lord, are a rogue,” Angel said, but she was smiling now.

“I believe that considering that you have seen me in a state of undress that few can claim to, you can call me Nathaniel.”

She blushed prettily. “Then you may call me Angel. But I thought you told me we should never mention that incident again.”

“So I did,” Nathaniel agreed. “But that was before I realized I could not stop thinking about it.”

They fell silent, Nathaniel felt as surprised by his admission as Angel looked. His dark eyes locked on to Angel’s light green ones, and neither of them were able to break the contact. Unable to stop himself Nathaniel leaned a little closer.

 

Character Names

One of the more enjoyable parts in writing is finding the perfect character names. Or if not perfect, at least names that you feel fit and you like. There are lots of ways to do this. Sometimes a name might just come to you, or you’ve read it in another book, seen it on TV, maybe you even know someone with that name.

Other times, you’re struggling and you can’t come up with a name no matter how hard you try. These are the times when you might need some help, and I will share some of the places where I go to look with you.

Contemporary Names

These are probably the easiest, because pretty much any name goes. You’ve seen some of the names celebrities name their babies, right? I usually go to any baby name website to look for names that I like for a contemporary story.

Babynames.com

NameBerry

Babynames.co.uk

BabyCentre

Historical Names

When it comes to writing historical fiction, it helps if the names are at least plausibly from that era. If your Regency hero is called Maddox for example, people might call you out on it. For my historical fiction I tend to look at the above databases for names, and then double check their etymology to see if there was any chance they existed back in the early 19th century.

For me, in reality, Regency names were quite limited in which names were actually popular at the time – so to avoid writing books where a lot of people have the same name – I’m allowing myself some leniency on the names. As long as it’s not too far from the realm of possibility.

You can also find some places online where you can look at registers of people who actually lived at the time. Or steal a name from an author that you know lived back then. We all know Jane, Emily and Charlotte were names used in that time period!

For my four book series, I named the four siblings after characters in Shakespeare’s plays (their mother loved all things Shakespeare). So something like that is also possible. Choosing names that appeared in works published in, or before, the time period that you’re writing about.

Name Etymology

Fantasy Names

For fantasy names you can go either way, all depending on what kind of book you’re writing. You can make names up from scratch, you can use a name generator, you can use common names with slight variations.

In the few fantasy stories I’ve written I tend to do a mixture. Some names are made up, some are old gaelic or roman names, sometimes with a slight variation. Some are more common names with some variation. The advantage in fantasy is that it’s your fantasy, and the world you build will adhere to your imagination and your rules. If you want common names like John to be what people are called in your story, then that’s what you do.

An example of someone who used common names with a slight deviation, combined with some made up names: George RR Martin.
Jon Snow (John)
Eddard Stark (Edward)
Joffrey Barathian (Geoffrey)
All obviously based on real names. But then you have names like Sansa, which didn’t seem to exist before Game of Thrones.

Fantasy Name Generator

Surnames

I use a surname website for the last name of my characters, combined with just making things up. Sometimes I will look at maps of the UK when I need surnames and/or titles to get ideas. There are a lot of great names in street names and areas!

Surname Database

How do you name your characters, and do you have any tips on where to find names?