Showing posts from May, 2011


I've already written Mady's story in draft form and though I'm not sure how much of that will remain the same, her general arc and the events of her life are basically set.

Madeline is the Miles's second daughter. She's born in late 1794 on a plantation in Barbados. Her mother is Delphine (which is a French name--maybe mama was partially from St. Domingue, which later became Haiti?). She's a free black woman and though I haven't read of any specific laws at the time stating that white British men couldn't marry free black women (there weren't any such laws in England itself, ever), it couldn't have been easy for Delphine, Miles and their little family unit. Mady is very close to her older sister Alex. I'm not sure when they realized that they could not have been born to the same mother or, later, when they realize how different they are in society's eyes, but as they have a strong fabric between them, it's not anything that affects t…

Characters That Won't Go Away

I've mentioned my various characters on this blog in passing, as if they were real and you all knew them. (I mean, they are real. To me anyway. Most of the time.) And I mentioned that the Keegan family won't let me go without writing down their stories. It's ridiculous. I was watching Pride and Prejudice for the millionth time and do you know what? I was sitting there thinking, "Hmm. Alex would totally walk into the village instead of riding, just like Lizzy..."

I've never done a full bio of a character or a psychological analysis of a character in a blog because my characters tend to develop as I write the first draft and most of the stories I've written here have not progressed past the first draft. I guess Keegan Family Version 2.0 is, technically, a revision of some kind and at this point, I think the characters might become more nuanced but they won't really change much. And I want to avoid writing another, ahem, "textbook," so by all m…

A succinct answer

I've been harping on about this to my non-romance-reading friends, but here's a quick explanation an author gave to a relative who doesn't read romance:

Like I've said, the parameters feel a little tight to me at the moment, with my particular characters. It's because the focus so has to be on one thing and...well, as you may have read, I tend to wander in my focus while writing anything longer than 7 pages. Le sigh.

Interesting Post

I know that I've certainly read a ton of blogs about the divide between romance novels and the fantasy involved in them and the (usually) more nitty-gritty historical fiction.

I don't know. I guess I'm just in a more "realistic yet light" sort of mood, as least in literary terms.

Defining Historical Fiction: Historical Romance

Romance, as a genre, has a wide variety of categories: mystery, paranormal, contemporary, historical, erotic, courtship, blah blah blah. The book's focus is on the hero and heroine. They tend to be very dramatic and melodramatic. Sometimes there's an outer villain preventing the couple from getting together. Sometimes it's just society.

I've read far too many of these books, so I'm just going with a favorite few.

Sherry Thomas' Not Quite a Husband features a lady doctor and her mathematician-wiz husband, who were married, annulled their marriage because of the Deep Dark Secret, and now find themselves in a remote spot in India, struggling with each other and their surroundings. It takes place in 1897, there's a rebellion against the colonially repressive English, and a battle. But because it's romance, the romance, both past and present, is at the forefront. Everything in the plot serves to highlight the characters and how they should be together. I fel…

Voices in my migraine-prone head

So in between dizziness and migraine problems (which, thankfully, are resolved as just migraines and not anything scary--I even have my MRI on a CD, should I wish to stare at my brain), I couldn't stare at a computer for an extended period of time.

So while there was reading of books going down, not so on the writing end. I felt sort of confused, writing Iggy, not being sure where it was going, if I was doing the time period and the setting and the importance of what I saw as the theme justice. Then I decided to try my hand at finally writing a complete story for the pesky Keegan family. They've never quite left the back of my mind and I wanted to reframe their story into something historically-frothy-light-adventure-romance...ish. It would let me tell their story from a few different perspectives, get more in there besides a romance in fancy clothes.

I wanted to start with Mady, since I've already written her story. Then I couldn't look at the dang computer for more t…

Defining Historical Fiction: Speculative Fiction

Speculative fiction is the ultimate "what if?" question, taken to extremes. It feels like fanfiction, in spirit, because the author takes an event or a place or a historical figure (usually) and then twists their story around a bit.

For example: Mistress Shakespeare by Karen Harper is a book that hinges on a tiny signature in an old marriage register in Warwickshire, England. William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. Their marriage is recorded in a church. But strangely, in another church in a nearby town, the day before Shakespeare married Anne, there's a record of a marriage license or a wedding intended to take place between William Shakespeare and Anne Whateley. We know that he married Anne Hathaway, but who the hell was Anne Whateley? That's the question that Karen Harper attempts to answer. Nobody knows who Anne Whateley was, so her character and storyline are basically all fictional, but it's fitted in between the knowledge we have about what William Shak…

Defining Historical Fiction: Fictional Biographies

Fictional biographies can also be epic in scope, of course, but they're notable for their accuracy in depicting historical figures. Sometimes, of course, they can be twisted in time period or in sequence of events, for a better literary effect. Some can tell the entire story of a person's life, while some focus on a segment of it. Events may sometimes be made up, if there is nothing there in the historical record. Motivations must be decided on by the author, if there are no surviving letters, for example. Sometimes they can cross into speculative fiction--I'll cover that on the next post.

I have a trove of fictional biographies. They combine action, romance, drama and the supernatural, but with the advantage that the bulk of the plot actually happened to someone. So you're guaranteed a degree of psychological closeness to the main subject and authenticity.

Lady Macbeth, for instance, is a fictional biography of Macbeth's queen. Instead of writing about the Lady Mac…

Defining Historical Fiction: The Epics

One, there's a new layout on the blog--I was getting bored with the old one. So, tags first, then everything else as you scroll downwards. I think the page looks cleaner and I love the background image.

Now, a couple of posts ago, I mentioned that the project previously known as the romance novel was taking more of a historical fiction lite sort of direction. I'm trying to identify the differences between the different degrees of historical fiction for myself. Of course, all of them have to take place in the past, usually incorporating some sort of major historical event or perhaps even historical people as characters. Sometimes the characters take part in the historical events (wars, usually), sometimes the particular parameters of that time (religion, socioeconomic factors, culture) are integral to the storyline or the characters and sometimes the "real stuff" is merely background to a clever story.

The Epics
I think that "epic" can be highly subjective. B…