Romance stories beg for nighttime scenes: The carriage traversing the torch-lit drive leading to the mansion. A stroll through an ornamental garden. A midnight chase, lit only by stars and moon.
Well, the moon can be a problem. Because you’ve got to know where you are. Mention it twice in your story, and you’d better have the phase right. Two full moons in two weeks? Oh, I’ve written it. I haven’t (yet) forgotten the color of the heroine’s eyes, but that moon is one slippery customer.
And don’t forget the nocturnes. Ha, vampires (if you write them), along with other nighttime hunters: birds (owls, nightjars, poor-wills, etc.), raccoons and foxes, mosquitoes and crickets and moths. And, of course, orb weaver spiders waiting on their newly-made webs.
These add a touch of authenticity and, perhaps, unexpected drama. The cry of a distant nighthawk, the rustle of a fox in the hedgerow…or how about a full-on collision with a spider’s web? (This is romantic comedy, after all.)
To illustrate, I mention the moon in Chapter 28, as Darcy heads out (in borrowed clothes) to spy on Mr. Wickham. I bailed on the phase, as you will see. But my google doc spreadsheet tells me that it’s six days past full, ha. So I was safe.
Darcy set his teeth. To think that he used to pride himself on his clothing! Beneath the cloak he wore a borrowed frock coat and beneath that, a brown waistcoat of boiled wool—heaven help the buttons! The most shudder-worthy item was the plaid neck cloth. Never had Darcy worn anything other than white in the evening. This might be only Meryton, but a man had his standards. He’d wrapped Collins’ muffler high around his throat and hoped for the best.
The moon was hidden by clouds. The temperature was falling, with waist-high fog drifting across the lane. Darcy knew that he ought to have begged a lantern from Mrs. Hill. But then he must confess to her his errand, and he knew where that would lead. Mrs. Hill would raise a ruckus, and in the end he would look even more a fool.
And wasn’t it too bad that his letter to Fitz had gone awry. Ten to one his cousin had been sent off somewhere—with Fitz one never knew—but how he would enjoy himself tonight. Unlike Darcy, Fitz was fond of larks and pranks.
Darcy turned his mind toward his destination. There was a name; Denny had said it or perhaps Captain Carter. About how the officers’ usual game could set a fellow back at— Darcy paused to think. Yes, that was it—at the Rose and Crown.
Tomorrow’s (oops) Monday’s post for O is Outsmart. Because like me, you probably have very intelligent readers. Keeping ahead of them is a piece of work!
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