Sunday, March 20, 2016

Slow-motion ADD

I love writing. I do! I even appreciate editing, though sometimes it is just agony. And I've had more editing than new writing lately, it seems. Still haven't achieved the Zipless Draft, in which I'll write without needing to edit.

I love writing about seventeenth century France. I do! It's a fascinating age, where rationality was grappling with religion and superstition. It's the century of Oliver Cromwell and the Glorious Revolution in England. France was still shaking from the Wars of Religion, and then Louis XIV overturned the Edict of Nantes and made Protestants illegal again. And they were hanging witches in Massachusetts and in places in England and Spain and elsewhere. And it was not only illegal (punishable by death) to be gay, but you'd get excommunicated, so you'd be in hell forever.

And French literature, especially theater, got totally entrenched in what, exactly, they meant by tragedy and comedy (spoiler alert: the Greek version, pretty much). It took 200 more years before Victor Hugo (yes, the Les Misérables and Hunchback of Notre-Dame guy) "invented" the "drama", in which the action took place over more than 24 hours and in which dialogue, though still rhythmic and rhyming, generally sounded like dialogue instead of long, flowing lines. Oh, and there were jokes in serious material! And serious things in the comedies!

Basically, it took France 200+ years to catch up with Shakespeare. And the Romantic movement took 50+ years after Byron and Wordsworth were declaiming across England. But hey, they were having a pretty crazy time of it in France from 1789 on.

Oh, and everyone in Europe in the 17th century was constantly at war. Many countries were stripped of their men, who were forcibly recruited and used as cannon fodder.  

Perpetual War, you mutter grimly. Military-industrial complex bankrupting a nation while the rich flaunt their wealth and poor people suffer and ex-soldiers beg for scraps.

And for romance: if we're going to talk about the realities of post-war societies with a glut of "spinsters" because there just aren't enough men around, we need to talk about the 17th century, not only the Regency.

But the point of this blog post is not what fascinates me, but how I've had my writing mind immersed in 17th century France for a couple of years now (and off and on before that), with very little other writing happening. 

I've been thinking for a while that I wanted to write a contemporary, maybe not even a romance. Then the other day,  was listening to a CD of oldies (songs that were hits before I was born. THAT old.) in my car and realized that the progression of songs would be a great plot device. From hooking up to the ups and downs of love and life to breaking up to getting back together.

Then, in my head, I just saw a skinny guy in a red dress doing a drag queen version of "Natural Woman" and... well, I've written most of three chapters (starting in the middle, Seven: Natural Woman and going back to One and Two).

And it's New Adult. Set in a college. Ensemble cast. Straight and gay. Only two POVs so far, but I think the third friend needs to tell her side of the story. Not really a romance, but hooking up and breaking up are a huge part.

And Motown music.

Joy. Pain. Great music. And I can use all those puns and modern phrases that pop into my head.

And go pre-order Honorable Officer. Hot, stoic officer meets wimpy chick with bad eyesight, escape assassins.

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