Monday, February 4, 2013

A writer's path: trusting the journey

The new year has begun for me with a lot of soul-searching about the path of  my writing: where should the journey take readers? Would it surprise you you to know I'm not a natural storyteller and it takes inspiration, long months of research, relentless pursuit of elusive details, extraordinary patience and commitment to go from Chapter One to The End? Even if it starts with me or my interests, immersing readers in the past through the characters' perspective is the goal. Left to my own fascination, that would take them through a meandering road through the Dark Ages to the Renaissance, and the centuries in between.
Is that so bad?
Not really, except readers would never know what to expect from the next title. Fine, if the act of writing satisfied only me, but stories are supposed to be shared. Writing historical fiction has never been a self-indulgent endeavor. Sharing a fascination for certain historical figures and settings with readers is important to me. Whether the setting is Moorish Spain, or the castles of England and France, the period is always medieval. Since junior high school it's been my favorite, fires my imagination, and stirs creativity. Fiction in Europe's medieval era will always be my focus.

This forces an end to my plans to write about fifth-century India in The Rule of Love and Barbary Coast pirates in Renegade. Lost countless hours in the research (and part of each manuscript themselves - another story) but I had fun while it lasted! As much as dumping any half-finished manuscript isn't also a happy occasion, it brings some clarity on the road to capturing readers' imaginations. This means working two more books in the Sultana series than previously imagined (there will be six total by 2015), with Sultana: Two Sisters coming out this year swiftly followed by another (a post later this week looks at getting lost in the details of writing this one, plus the headache of coming up with a title!) before I delve into the next series on Dracula's father and brothers.
Ahh! There it is - the path to clarity
 The biggest lesson learned from all this soul-searching is learning to trust the journey, where getting lost can be part of the discovery as much as twists and turns. I hope readers will enjoy it too.  


Tara said...

I'm eagerly awaiting this Dracula series. I can't wait to see what you do with darker fiction. Keep on rolling...or writing, I should say. :)

Lisa Yarde said...

Thanks, Tara. The research has been slow but some interesting details so far. Dracula's father is proving the most pragmatic of the bunch. I can see why his kids developed Daddy issues.

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