Okay, laugh, but it’s true. My Regency Novella Lord Harrington’s Lost Doe, was a total accident. This story is also a testament to how some little spec of an idea can spin into a huge idea, so don’t discount any of them!
Here’s how it all went down…
My writing friend Heather and I were chatting one day about how we love Regency Romances and wouldn’t it be fun to write one of our own? Then we cooked up a brilliant little plan.
Wait. Back up. A little background on us first. I am primarily a Contemporary Romance gal. I write this sweet little New Adult series, Sweet Dreams, all about music people. If I’m not writing that, I’m writing Horror. Heather on the other hand is primarily a Science Fiction writer and has a YA zombie series called Plague Masters. We’ve tried to write stories together, but it never works. Whether it’s because we both have to be in charge, or the fact that she’s a plotter and I’m a pantser, I’m not sure. Give us a list of items and we will have totally polar opposite ideas on how to write them into a story. It just doesn’t work.
So back to the brilliant plan. We’d each create a character that the other “finds” in their story. There were multiple parts to this plan because, well, we’re nothing if not elaborate.
We decided the character we created for the each other would be found having no memory—the old amnesia trope. We also decided one of us would write a man and the other a woman so we wouldn’t both be planning the same character. Next, we gave each other a little time to create the character in full. Where they came from, who they were running from, etc… But we kept it from one another. Then…just to torture ourselves, we would reveal the character slowly to one another as we wrote.
First, I got a character sheet with just a description of the girl and how she was found. Enter, the little lost doe, blonde haired, ghostly white, wearing only a nightgown. After a few pages of finding her, I asked for the second clue. Second, I was given an item she carried with her. Some sort of clue of where she was from. Insert a pair of men’s spectacles. Third, Heather gave me a person that came looking for her. Enter, the evil step-mother. And finally, the last piece of the puzzle, a full character sheet with name, where she came from, why she was running, etc… Once we got all the clues and sewed it up, we’d have nice little short stories (3,000-5,000 words) we could package together in a mini eBook. Or so we thought. Best laid plans and all that.
So I begin writing my story about Lord Harrington sitting up in his Northern estate, brooding over something, his Lost Doe arrives, and my inspiration carries me away on a fast moving locomotive! 30,000 words later, my Lord has discovered the truth about his little Lost Doe, and a novella is born.
And THAT is how I accidentally wrote a Regency Novella.
It was loads of fun and I’d love to do it again, but first Heather and I have to decide on another theme. That could take years!