Monday, October 09, 2006

A little change of scene

Today I told my kids I needed a change of scene. I've been writing on the laptop at the dining room table for the last little while. While this helps me keep my finger on the pulse of the household, sometimes it can resemble writing in a tornado. Folks stroll by and ask questions, chores go on around me (a good thing, but distracting), piano is practiced. I find myself frustrated an unable to get into the flow of the story. So a change was in order.

Heather, the 14 year old, made me a pitcher of peach iced tea. (I don't drink hot tea, no matter how cold it is outside. I invariably burn my tongue on the first sip of any hot drink, and after that, everything tastes like burnt tongue.) James , the 10 year old, brought me some scented candles from off the top of the piano. (Not to worry, they sit on a tablecloth and are never lit while on top of the piano. They are there for looks as they match the decor beautifully. Thanks to mom for sending them to me for Christmas awhile back.) I lit the Hazelnut Coffee candle and the Pumpkin Pie one, sipped my iced tea, and banged out 1000 words in about an hour.

In talking with a friend today, I realized this ms is different from others I've done, in that the setting and the time frame are from actual historical events, therefore I'm somewhat limited in what I can have my characters actually do. This friend likened it to a puzzle. I took the thought a bit further in my mind. Writing an historical novel IS like building a puzzle. I have the box top with the picture on it (My research and my outline of events) and I have the borders/side pieces of the puzzle from which I cannot stray. (Historical events, time frames, etc.) The whole puzzle only goes together one way that makes sense. As long as I stay true to my research and timeline, I'll come out with a cohesive picture.

Today, the ms stands at just over 7K words. It feels great.


  1. Loved the candle picture. Know that feeling of getting out a 1000 words--it's like eating real chocolate instead of the secret stash of baking chocolate. Euphoric!

    Puzzles, yup that's how writing is---and you can never find the wedge with a piece of green tree and blue sky till you fit in all the other pieces and find it stuck to the bottom of your shoe. It's the one scene that puts it all into perspective.

  2. Congratulations on your MS. Caffeine will do that to you. (-;

    The picture looks great too

  3. Great analogy! I never thought of writing that way. I suppose it's especially true with a historical. Historical fiction writers are brave:)

  4. It's easier writing a historical that is dependent on the timeframe but not necessarily any specific historic events being connected to the story! But you're right, there is so much more of a limit on what we can do and what we can make up when writing about a bygone era. It is harder than writing contemporaries, but there's just something about the texture of historical settings, manners, costumes, and props that makes writing historicals fun.

    And you know me and analogies--this is an excellent one!