Writing Process Blog Hop

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I haven’t blogged about my writing for ages. But that’s because I’ve been busy writing my novel. Now that my manuscript is in the hands of The Beta Readers, I have no manuscript to keep me busy. I don’t know what to do with my spare time (confession: I don’t know how to relax). So I was excited when fellow writer and critique partner Christa Wojo tagged me for this Blog Hop!

Check out Christa’s answers. And here are mine:

 

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on Night Flower, a historical-women’s fiction chronicling the adventures of Amanda Hollingworth, a spirited young prostitute who escapes the brothel and tries to make amends with her troubled past. In the wind-swept county of Dartmoor, she falls in love with horticulture and finds friendship with the magistrate. All the while, the Metropolitan Police are tracking her down like bloodhounds. It’s a story that explores the themes of justice and mercy, grief and hope, and the resilience of the human spirit.

 

How does your work differ from others in the genre?

The fact that my heroine is a prostitute makes Night Flower different from most (though not all) books in my genre. My work also focuses on the Contagious Disease Act of 1866, a legislation that hasn’t been much explored in works of fiction…Correct me if I’m wrong.

 

Why do you write?

I have a compulsive need to capture what I find beautiful in life, and writing allows me to capture a scenery, a moment in time, or a certain emotion I don’t want to let go of.

I love creating my own characters and weaving their lives into a complicated web.

I love writing because it’s magical. Example: I’ll begin a story, thinking I have full control, only to have the characters overthrow my power as ‘The Author.’ The feeling is akin to what a kid might feel when seeing the dolls inside a doll-house come to life.

Mostly, I love writing because I can give to readers. I can give them a story – a story that’ll hopefully tug at a few heartstrings.

 

How does your writing process work?

Stage 1: I do some light research – groundwork to build my story on. Then I write a chapter-by-chapter outline, which I never end up following, but I like having a map of sorts. Inspired by this map, I write my first draft within a few weeks. About a quarter of the novel will consist of point form notes.

Stage 2: I reread the first draft, further develop the story, and turn point form notes into prose. This is the stage I do most of my research. I’ll spend weeks reading primary and secondary sources. My research ends up inspiring new dialogues and scenes. Sometimes what I discover through research redirects the entire plot of the story, and I follow wherever it takes me.

Stage 3: I print out the manuscript and try to read it within a week – with a red pen. I keep an eye open for character/plot consistency and emotional fluidity. I end up rewriting chunks of scenes and dialogues. All these changes I incorporate into the Master Document on my laptop.

Stage 4: I send out my manuscript to The Beta Readers and spend the next few weeks twiddling my thumb, researching some more, and binging on period dramas.

Stage 5: I receive feedback and am overwhelmed for a day or two. But I manage to take things step by step/chapter by chapter. Slowly but surely I manage to incorporate their critiques, which results in a manuscript that leaves me deeply satisfied.

 

Thanks for reading! I’m tagging the following talented writers:

Rika Ashton

Maybelle Leung

Philippa Jane Keyworth

Priscilla Shay

Stephanie A. Allen

 

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NEW Period Drama: Mr. Turner (2014)

I always love films (especially period films) about artists. So finding this gem of a trailer was quite the pleasant surprise!

This film explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty - Rotten Tomatoes

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Period Drama Soundracks (Part II)

http://8tracks.com/adrianalefay/courtship-and-corsetsHere are the two period drama soundtracks I’ve been playing on repeat while incorporating critiques from The Readers to Le Manuscript and drafting a query letter (read more about my querying experience here). And yessss, I’m excited to say that a few years after my last attempt to land an agent, I will be back in the querying world again maybe early next year (the world where I jolt awake and scramble out of bed whenever I hear the mailman at my door…Or refresh my e-mail account every few minutes).

Anyway! Here are the soundtracks:

The White Queen


Penny Dreadful

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For more: Period Drama Soundtracks (Part I) & Belle

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Who is Watching Outlander (tv series 2014)?

Ugh! I wish I could post a review of Outlander ep1 but my laptop died on me. So my first impression review (I did one for Death Comes to Pemberly and The White Queen as well) won’t be posted anytime soon. But I’m so worked up right now with the show that I just had to use my phone to update!!!! WHO IS WATCHING????

Anyway I just wanted to share their beautiful intro:

 

You can watch Episode 1 here.

 

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Period Film Review: Belle (2013)

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Let me start off by saying that I’ve been hankering to watch the film since I read the synopsis:

BELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Captain. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield and his wife, Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England. (IMDB)

I went to watch Belle with my sister today and, while the previews were still rolling, I squealed at least a dozen times: “Oh my god, oh my god, I’M SO EXCITED!!”

But with great expectation often comes great disappointment.

I would’ve enjoyed this film way more if I hadn’t settled into the theatre expecting a movie with the grittiness of Amistad (1997) and the romance and depth of Pride & Prejudice.

I really, really wanted to like Belle.

belle-movieBut Belle turned out to be (for me) a film that suffered an identity crisis. It didn’t know whether to focus on being a romance or a legal drama, and in its attempt to be both, the film ended up feeling flimsy.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with mixing the drawing-room with the court-room. But Belle didn’t develop both worlds enough. The romance and relationships felt flat. And only a mere glimpse into the ugly reality of the slave-trade politics were offered.

BUT by no means is Belle a flop of a film. This film was sweet and enjoyable to watch, and at times moving. I teared up more than once. Belle was an intensely sympathetic character. And I experienced a few heart-flutters over the romance between Belle and the anti-slavery activist John Davinier.

B-00951.NEFI’m just frustrated, really. This film had SUCH potential to be both breathlessly romantic and politically powerful — but it only scratched the surface. The entire film was like a really good 2-hour long trailer of a film yet to be made.

(Will people come at me with pitchforks? Because I know a few who absolutely adore the film).

In short, Belle is an occasionally inspirational period drama in which bonnets and heaving bosoms often take the spotlight — at the expense of a potentially gripping courtroom drama. I have no issue with this. My issue is that Belle and Davinier are united by shared political beliefs (about anti-slavery) rather than passion – awkward, considering the fact that the political element of this film doesn’t really take centre stage.

Despite the flaws, however, I still found the film enjoyable.

I’ll rate this film a 7-7.5/10

 

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