It seemed to take all week, but I finally finished Part 1 of my Regency romance. I’m pretty excited about it. The female main character’s life is kind of in shambles right now, despite some good news she received. One male lead ran away from everything, and the other got shot down and needs to figure out what to do. I might need to add a scene or two, but for now I think I’ll leave it where it is and advance to the Part 2.
But finishing it brought on some interesting questions. The first part is almost 64,000 words long… And I feel like I don’t have a ton of stuff to cut. Maybe words, but I at least don’t have many scenes to cut, because I try really hard to not have fluff or filler scenes. (Which is actually hard when writing romance, I’ve decided. The flirting scenes tend to feel a little fluffy.) Romance books tend to be around 70,000 words on the short end… Which means half of my book is almost as long as a full novel. Oops.
My husband suggested once I might try splitting it into two novels. I’m back and forth on the idea. Could there be a good enough arc to make the first part its own novel? Yeah….maybe? But the characters don’t really accomplish anything by the midpoint. They’re still in the middle trying to figure things out. Could I make them accomplish something? Yeah….maybe?
So going forward, that’s my conundrum. Haha! Wish me luck.
Some interesting research I did this week dealt with Regency funeral customs. Genteel women rarely attended funeral services, in part to protect them from public eyes while their emotions were so raw. Men who attended the services were expected to maintain their composure. No crying or anything.
The funeral procession always happened at night (thank goodness we’ve changed that custom!), and hired mourners accompanied the casket to the burial ground. Many of these mourners would be drunk, so it wasn’t out of the ordinary to have a brawl and lots of rowdiness. Pickpockets and thieves were everywhere. It wasn’t a very safe place to be.
Only the immediate family would accompany the casket, and again, no women were allowed. One source suggested this was because of Eve and the original sin, and not wanting women to desecrate the holy ground of the burial site. (Huge eye roll.)
I got some great information from these sites, if you’re ever looking for information on Georgian funerals and mourning.
The Regency Redingote: Furnishing the Funeral
The Regency Redingote: Ladies at Funerals?
Jane Austen’s World: Regency Mourning
I also tried to find information on graves and what the stones would look like. I couldn’t find any articles, so I looked up gravestones on Findagrave.com. It seems like graves were often unmarked if you were of the lower classes. The only marking would be a little mound where the grave sat, or sometimes a little ridge of earth around the grave.
Upper classes either had the standing stones we know from Halloween decor with a short description and maybe a fancy scroll design, or they had a full-length stone laid on the ground above where the casket was buried. These would be inscribed as well. If you didn’t have the full slab, you would have a small foot stone to mark the end of the grave, so people wouldn’t walk on top of it.
Sometimes I’ve found I research things for my writing that I hate talking about in public, such as graves, death, all sorts of medical topics, weapons, etc. All for the story…