I got an idea for a story. The idea came to me while I played a game on Facebook. My villager reached the age of 40 without getting a wife, then suddenly lucked out with an 18 year old. Every time I played the game and watched these two characters, I moved into their heads and then I wrote their back story.
I moved on to thinking about this idea in a greater context and as is my preference, as a Regency romance. Would this “older” man be likely to wrap his young bride in “cotton wool” and be fearful of spending nights in her bed? She became short, slender, to his tall and muscular. He became torn between joy at the birth of a child and fear that she would die in childbirth.
Then I felt sorry for the child bride. So I created a sister in law to whom she could turn for advice. Then my MCs had to have full families! The young wife had two older brothers, the husband this sister. They all grew up together on adjoining estates. The sister, now widowed, had married the oldest brother which turned out to be a mistake. The younger brother, younger than she, loved her, but when she married, he became a vicar and vowed that if he couldn’t marry her, he would be celibate even though Church of England didn’t insist on that condition.
Where was I? Oh, yes, so my child bride is about to pop out her second infant. The widowed sister comes to stay at the Priory, the larger of the two estates. The vicar brother has resigned from the church upon inheriting the family estates. He has invited the widow to live there, with her child that was fathered by someone other than the now dead husband.
The Plot Thickens! I’ve nearly lost sight of my May/December romance idea, and gotten deep into the complexities of the disasterous marriage, the blessing of the husband’s early death, and the younger man who has grown up to become a handsome, well-mannered, and wealthy gentleman. And I realize I will be exploring the differences in ages from both the points of view of each couple.
Normally, I don’t bother with outlines. The story grows and I figure out a natural wave pattern for the highs and lows that make the story tension work. But this one was getting complicated! That’s not a bad thing, really. Just hard to keep track of.
I didn’t do an outline of extreme detailed nature, I did more of a stages outline. Stage One is setting the stage, getting to know the characters and their thoughts and plans. Stage Two is an inkling of danger or trouble in the world these people inhabit. Stage Three is a drop to almost the lowest point in the story, when it looks pretty bad for all or most of the characters. Stage Four brings things back up a touch, and in my story it will be a time of confessions. For instance, my young wife will finally have the courage to tell her husband that she hates having him leave her bed after they make love. Stage Five will be the true bottom of the story, it will look hopeless, and it will not appear (if I do it correctly) that things might be turned around. Finally in Stage Six, the villain will be vanquished, the heros will kiss the heroines, and they will live Happily Ever After (HEA).
Oh yes, there is a villain. And again, if I do this correctly, no one will figure out who he is or why he does what he does until the final revelation point. I have a few things to work out about him, but I am ready to rock and roll on this one.
I start with a prolog, because it seems the best way to explain why the sister-in-law has a child that her husband didn’t father. For a Regency, this prolog is pretty darn explicit. But desperate times and all that. It’s key to the whole story and the whole revelation point in the conflicts.
Now, if only I had time to write it. My first Regency bounced to the e-book publisher and back, and now I have a chance to tighten it up, get it to beta readers, and do all the steps I learned about in a recent on-line class I took. It’s very exciting. I have a target date of finishing the writing of it by the first week in November.
I do hope you know what happens in November, if you are a writer. NaNoWriMo! National Novel Writing Month, 30 days to write and to log the progress in at http://nanowrimo.org/ where hundreds of thousands of writers will be doing the same thing. You log in and if you haven’t do so before, create a user name. Then you get daily emails with encouragement and resources and you can also connect with other writers from your area or from anywhere!
There’s also Camp NaNoWriMo, https://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in which apparently takes place in June and August, and is somewhat a preparation for November. But I haven’t signed in there yet, so I don’t know that for sure.
Anyway, November will be the month I finish the first novel, and use NaNoWriMo to get the May and December story through the first rough draft. It’s good to have plans!