Autumn and Spring tend to be my busy seasons for author events. Last Friday I participated in a book signing at the Mobile Junior League’s Christmas Jubilee Marketplace. Tomorrow I’m visiting a high school English class. And this coming Saturday, November 18, 2017, I’m presenting an interactive lecture at Baldwin Writers Group at 10am in the Daphne Public Library meeting room. BWG hosts monthly meetings at Daphne Public Library the third Saturday each month on various topics that relate to writing and literature. These meetings are free and open to the public.
This month I’m the guest speaker for BWG and will present CHARTING YOUR COURSE: HISTORICAL FICTION.
Whether your story takes place twenty or two thousand years ago, creating authentic characters and finding the best sources for accurate information makes the difference for readers between enjoying a believable story or having it fall flat–which is applicable for all genres. I’ll share my writing process and give tips and examples from my experience with researching and writing historical fiction set in and around the Mobile Bay area, including Fortitude and my current project, a Gothic family saga spanning 1904 through the 1920s.
The presentation is informative for writers of all levels as well as readers interested in learning about how authors craft their novels. Bring your book loving friends and join us.
Yes, I have the honor of being the first presenter. I’ll share my experiences of researching and writing historical novels set in and around Mobile, including Fortitude and my current projects (more news on those to come soon.)
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Let’s give thought to the often over-looked wars that had American casualties, like the Spanish-American War.
Even before they officially left, numerous soldiers—mostly volunteers—died in Florida at the campgrounds they gathered in before shipping off to Cuba. Inadequate space (in recently drained swamps), food, and medical supplies, as well as racial riots among the troops themselves, pushed the numbered deaths of U.S. soldiers higher on our own soil than those sustained during the ground and naval battles in Cuba/Puerto Rico.
During my pleasure reading nearly eight years ago, I happened across a few pages in a biography (Lady from Savannah: The Life of Juliette Low) about the deplorable conditions our troops suffered in during their few months in Florida. I immediately knew I had to write about it. After gathering information for nearly five years, I then spent three years getting the story down properly. Come January 12, 2016 you’ll be able to read the collective soul of my journey into 1898, appropriately titled Fortitude.
As for today, let’s give pause to those who gave all to protect liberty—whether in this century or in decades past—while we continue to pray for peace. Peace for those left behind, and for the world at large.
I finished the dreaded first draft of my new project from conception to completion in six months. In the past, the quickest I’ve written one was a year, and that was when I was in high school. Most recently, it took about eighteen months, but that doesn’t include the several years of research I did before the writing actually began.
What was the difference this time around?
Well, I gave permission to “let it go.” I allowed my writing to be less than perfect just to get it down. Yes, it’s something I’ve read about many times: everyone’s first draft is junk. I’d like to think my first drafts weren’t too bad, but then again, pouring over them for a year—or two or three—makes for lots of little edits before completion. (And, yes, they were all still edited dozens of times after that.)
This time, the story is there in all its ugly glory.
I used to think the first draft was the hardest and revision/editing the easiest, but this time around, I believe my opinion will change. I’ve got my work cut out for me when I mend THE UNRAVELING THREADS OF KYNDRA FIELDS.
How do you write: quick and messy or slow and ponderous?
I’m in the hunting and gathering part of writing. This time called “pre-writing” can drag on as long as you feel the need to procrastinate—I mean organize your ideas. As part of the new project, I bought and downloaded a writing program called Scrivener. A Mobile Writers’ Guild meeting a few months ago had a presentation on it and it looks promising.
If I can get past a document title.
Yes, I know many books are renamed before publication, but for me and my mind, I need a firm title in place before setting down the first words. My titles give me something to draw upon when I’m losing direction. (Case in point: Don’t let your fortitude get corroded.)
I’m one of those people who like to have a title right from the beginning. Usually, titles are easy for me to find during that hunter-gatherer part of my process. Not so this time. Even as my process is stumbling and the title evasive, I can already tell this story is going to be different for me. Perfect time to throw in a new computer program, huh? It’s all going to be a learning experience.
As for now, I’ve got a several research books (and even a CD) on hold at the library that I need to pick up. Maybe one will hold the treasure of a title for my new work in progress.
Summer sucks my energy away. The heat, humidity, and glaring sun don’t agree with me. Southern summer thunderstorms are fabulous but I have to bear with the other things to enjoy them. Opposition in all things.
To combat summer blues we gear up homeschool in July. My previous post highlighted our literary tree. Here’s what it looks like as of last week.
Besides fighting the heat, I’ve been battling words. I passed fifty one thousand on my current WIP (work in progress), FORTITUDE. It’s now officially my biggest project ever just based on word count—not to mention the years of research. As soon as I finish this draft, I’ll be looking back over CORRODED. It will have been a year since I worked on it, so I’ll have fresh eyes and an editor’s brain to aid in my decision making on where to take Mary and Ben.