Thursday, November 17, 2011

Seeing Where the Road Leads

Today I have a guest.  Welcome, Catherine Gayle!

They say there are two types of writers out there: plotters and pantsers. If you’re new to these terms, a panters is one who writes “by the seat of their pants.”

I started out my writing life as a pantser. That didn’t last long. I finished two manuscripts that way, but spent two to three times as long revising and rewriting and revising again as I did writing in the first place. Doing it for two 100,000 word manuscripts was enough to convince me to try another path.

After that, I decided there had to be a better way. I researched plotting methods, tried several, and found what worked for me. At that point, I knew I’d never go back. After all, I could finish a manuscript without needing to spend months on end reworking it into something that made sense.

Yet a few months ago, I found myself picking up a new project and writing without a clue where it would take me. I tried to plot it, but it didn’t work. No matter what I did, nothing would come together until I started writing a scene and the characters dictated where it would go.

It worked. But that was just a novella. I’m not sure I’m ready to give up the reins like that again on something full length. But yesterday, I started writing something new again, and yet again, I have no clue where I’m headed. I guess I’ll have to wait and see where this road leads me.

The novella I did successfully write as a pantser recently is called An Unintended Journey. It’s part of the Regency Christmas Summons anthology, found in A Summons From the Castle.


What once was lost…

Abby Goddard’s life is going along just swimmingly, apart from the disappearance of her life’s love—Wesley Cavendish, a man well above her station. Just before Christmas, Grandmama dies after revealing the identity of Abby’s grandfather. The Duke of Danby, no less. Now the entire family will travel to Yorkshire to confront Danby, hoping to gain a dowry for Abby. But then Wesley reemerges, sparking a hope Abby thought long destroyed.

Now is found…

Shall the prodigal son’s sole inheritance be an unsightly gash? Wesley Cavendish aspires to the political realm, despite his father’s near-murderous opposition…not to mention his opposition to Abby Goddard. But since Father died, will the new Earl of Fordingham rescind Father’s disgraceful allegations? Fordingham thwarts Wesley at every turn, threatening marriage to a prominent Tory family—which precludes Abby—to put an end to Wesley’s Whig involvement…unless Wesley can find a loophole.


The thwarting of her exodus left Abby trembling again. She took two full breaths and briefly pressed her eyes closed to fight down her sorrow before turning again. This time, her eyes passed over the baron, then traveled to Lady Pritchard, and finally settled on their guests.

Her breath caught.

Mr. Daniel Pritchard, the baron’s eldest son and heir, had come home from his recent travels—but he wasn’t the man who left Abby with a tingling sensation in the pit of her stomach, and a knot the size of Mount Olympus in her throat, and her toes curling within her half-boots from the desperate need to run as fast as she could and not look back.

No, such a reaction could only be due to one man’s presence.

Mr. Wesley Cavendish, the Earl of Fordingham’s wayward brother, stood before the hearth, looking like an ancient Roman warrior ready to race his chariot through the Coliseum—only a warrior oddly stuffed into modern fashions, with his dark, slightly curling hair falling down over his cravat. His straight nose and black-as-midnight eyes were just as she’d always remembered them. He regarded her so intensely she felt as though she’d sprouted six scaly heads and started singing opera from each of them whilst in the nude.

Have you ever taken off on a path you swore you’d never again travel, and had it turn out okay? Every commenter who leaves an email address will be entered in the prize extravaganza outlined at, where you could win a Kindle or one of many other prizes.

Catherine Gayle