Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How to Begin a Novel by Rosemary Morris

Who, What, When, Where, How and Why.


Rosemary Morris

At the beginning of a novel to engage a reader in the story the questions Who, What, Where, Why, When an How need to be answered as soon as possible.
In Tangled Love, set in Hertfordshire, in 1693, the unpopular King James, brother of Charles IInd has fled England and his daughter Mary and her husband William now sit on the throne. In the prologue, nine year-old Richelda’s father explains his dilemma.
     With a sigh, Father lifted her onto his knee. ‘Richelda, I must follow His Majesty for I swore an oath of allegiance to him. Tell me, child, while King James lives how can I, with honour, swear allegiance to his disloyal daughter and her husband?’
Unable to think of a reply, she lowered her head breathing in his spicy perfume.
Father held her closer. ‘Your mother pleads with me to declare myself for William and Mary. She begs me not to return to France, but I am obliged to serve King James. Do you understand?’
In this riches to rags to riches story the extract shows why Richelda’s father leaves England for France, which has serious consequences for his only child.
This brings me to the final question that needs to be answered as soon as possible.  The first line of my second novel set in  Queen Anne Stuart’s reign, Far Beyond Rubies indicates how Juliana’s life will change after her father’s death.
“Bastards, Juliana! You and your sister are bastards.”
Aghast, Juliana stared at William, her older half-brother, although, not for a moment did she believe his shocking allegation. 
Finally, in The Captain and the Countess also set in Queen Anne Stuart’s reign young Captain Howard does not realise had not anticipated how his life would change after he sees the fatal widow, Kate,  Countess Sinclair, but the following extracts indicate it.
“The depths of her ladyship’s sapphire cross and earrings blazed, matching his sudden fierce desire.
The Countess, some four inches shorter than Edward, looked up at him.
He leaned forward. The customary greeting of a kiss on her lips lingered longer than etiquette dictated.”

“Kate’s eyebrows slanted down at the inner corners. She stared back at him. He laughed, raised her hands to his lips and kissed each in turn. “I look forward to furthering my acquaintance with you.”
“High-handed.” Kate gurgled with laughter. “Captain, please release me.”
What did he care if she were some ten years his elder? He wanted to get to know her better. Edward bowed. “Your slightest wish is my command.”

* * * *
While working in a travel agency, I met my Hindu husband.  He encouraged me to continue my education at Westminster College.  In 1961 I and my husband, now a barrister, moved to his birthplace, Kenya, where I lived from 1961 until 1982.  After an attempted coup d’├ętat, I and four of our children lived in an ashram in France.
Back in England, I wrote historical fiction and have joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Historical Novel Society and Watford Writers.
To research, I read non-fiction, visit museums and other places of historical interest.
My bookshelves are so crammed with historical non-fiction, which I use to research her novels, that if I buys a new book I have to consider getting rid of one.
Apart from writing, I enjoy time with my family, classical Indian literature, reading, vegetarian cooking, growing organic fruit, herbs and vegetables and creative crafts. 
To view my book trailers and book covers, and to read extracts from my novels please visit my website. If you have any comments or questions, I will be delighted to hear from you.

Visit Rosemary Morris' author page for more info on all her books

1 comment:

J.Q. Rose said...

Rosemary, how fun to research and write a great story using all the facts as your background. I always thought of the 5 W's as the stucture for a non-fiction article, but using it for the beginning of the fictional novel is a great tip.Thank you.