I abandoned the literary novel I wrote about in my last post. Now I’m working on a science-fiction novel. Probably by the time I post again I’ll be working on a romance. Egads, I am so flighty. My books are always falling apart on me! Its okay though. This is part of life. And I know that if I do this long enough, eventually something gels and a book results.
I’ve been reading only romance novels for the past week or so. Read three Judith McNaught books. She’s a powerful writer! Some of her books approach being very good. But even the ones that aren’t good still have something compelling about them. I think the characters are just so bold and larger than life. And her heroes aren’t mean to her heroines! I hate hate hate the romance trope of the hero who is mean.
Also been reading lots of Georgette Heyer. She’s slowly getting a lot easier to read. She reuses the same slang over and over, so eventually you get the hang. I still wish the books came with a glossary though.
Here’s some things that’d be on it: bird-brained, “make a cake of yourself”, “has a fine whip”, noddle-headed, cit, on dit, pinery, succession houses, billet.
There are hundreds of these! Entire pages filled with them! And most are easy enough to puzzle out, but each time you encounter one of these phrases or words, it slows you down. Truly, I’m shocked at the density of this writing.
I’m also shocked at how good Heyer is. She is so good at blending the absurd and the realistic. Her characters seem to have a lot of psychological realism, but then they do things like hold up an evil moneylender at gunpoint. Or go on a wild-ass hot-air balloon joyride. And you’re like…wait…this is an unlikely turn of events. But this stuff sneaks up on you!
And I absolutely love the central love stories, because, at least in the books I’ve read (Cotillion, Frederica, and The Grand Sophy) they were all so unlikely. In Cotillion the heroine begins by dismissing her eventual romantic interest with a word, saying he’s stupid. She only gets with him because she thinks she can order him around. Everyone assumes he has no understanding. But he proves very capable at doing the things that matter! And he has fine taste in waistcoats.
In Frederica, the hero dismisses the heroine by saying, basically, that she’s plain. He doesn’t evince any romantic interest in her. And she, for her part, evinces none in him. And as the novel continues, you’re like, how can these two possibly get together? But then they do! And it makes total sense! And it’s awesome. Love this. Need to figure out how she does it. Create two characters with a chemistry so subtle that it almost escapes the reader…until it doesn’t. Most romance novels aren’t like that. In most of them, the sexual tension is wielded so bluntly, and, as a result, the mechanism that keeps the couple apart often feels very artificial (because if they want each other so much why don’t they just get together?) Whereas in Heyer, their separation always make sense: the reason they’re not together is because they don’t even know they ought to be!