Monday, March 8, 2010

Modern . . . Possibilities

Today's the last day to enter the giveaway for Liberty's Promise, so hop over to that post and read the fun interview! And of course you have all week to enter the giveaway for Amanda Cabot's Scattered Petals, so check that out too. Plus mine--a giveaway for A Stray Drop of Blood is up on Michelle V.'s blog. =)

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It occurred to me when I decided to rewrite a story that had originally been contemporary and turn it into a historical that there are some weird subtleties in what is acceptable--what is possible--in fiction.

For instance, this story in question had a huge problem--I had an archaeology team excavating in Egypt. In reality, today the Egyptian government has granted all right to excavate to a single Egyptian man, and no one gets to dig that isn't under his direct control. I totally understand this, after the British allowed pretty much anyone with a shovel to come and see what they could find for the better part of a century. But it made my premise . . . unlikely, to say the least.

Even in contemporaries, your research has to be spot-on.

But in the historical version, there's a different issue. How can I have them make a huge, impressive discovery that . . . well . . . wasn't ever made? (A dilemma I haven't fully ironed the wrinkles out of yet.)

In a lot of ways, writing contemporaries is easier for me. Rarely do I have to sit down with a 500-page non-fiction book to prepare for a contemporary. On the other hand, the setting, premise, and details are far more likely to be generally known by your readership, so if you get something wrong . . . you'll be hearing about it.

Personally, I enjoy contemporaries because of the open possibilities. The future is still unwritten here in the real world, so I can make my modern characters do something to impact history, and that's totally fine. But it still has to be plausible. Both characters and situation have to reek of reality. And those characters have to fit seamlessly into the world the readers belong to, so that they feel like they might just spot the heroine as they're walking down the street. Once you do that, the possibilities are endless. =)

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Speaking of futures and reality, I have my first book event this Wednesday. I'll be talking about my book, reading snippets, answering questions . . . so naturally I'm wondering, "Is anyone else going to care about this stuff??" LOL. In any case, if anyone wants to say a prayer for calm nerves and the right things to say, that would be awesome.

And if anyone's in the area of Cumberland, MD on Wednesday and wants to check it out, it's at the Washington St. Library at 6 p.m. =)

3 comments:

  1. I hope Wednesday goes wonderfully and you are buoyed up by people's response. I think a lot of people would be interested in the craft of writing and how a writer achieves dramatic sffect and depthful (?) characters, whatever they think of your subject matter. I'm not being rude, you understand, I just think that writers are of general interest...or maybe that's just my opinion?!

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  2. I sure hope so! Thanks for the vote of confidence. =)

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  3. I know what you mean about 500 page books! I stress myself looking up the tiniest detail, that I wonder if anyone will care about, but it helps me sleep at night:)
    How fun to have your first book event! May He give you many encounters, not just focused on books and writing, but where you can truly touch people's lives!!
    Good luck:)

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