Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Remember When . . . You Chose Obscurity?

It's time. Nearly. Time for my brain to move on to a different time, a different era, a different story. I have another week of work on Circle of Spies, and then that baby needs turned in. There will be edits yet from Harvest House, but then...

That's it. The completion of a book. The completion of a series. The Culpers will rest. (In my brain at least, though obviously these books still need to hit the shelves. ;-) And I have another novella to write this summer about them, but still. You get my point.)

My little mind has to start working on the next one, the next series. To England of the Regency, then of the Romantic era. Then...well...I haven't actually figured out the plot of the third book in my next series yet, LOL. I might set it in Italy while Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning were there for the sake of her health. Maybe. Who knows.

But as I was contemplating it yesterday, wondering where I might go and who my characters might meet, I just had to smile. Because it's so fun to explore history in all its obscurity. I'm going to miss my Culper characters a lot...but I get to meet new ones. And they'll get to interact with some new snippets from the past.

Who knows what they might be? Pirates, lords, outcasts...writers, artists, inventors...revolutionaries, leaders, critics.

And it occurs to me that that is what I love about writing historicals. That discovery, that exploration. I love finding pieces of the past I didn't know about, or hadn't learned fully, and finding the life within them. I love putting people I've created into the world of a given era and figuring out how they would survive. 

But then, you know what? I hear about other people's stories, and I go, "Wow! I'd never thought about that portion of history!" So much out there, and so little of it that I've considered!

So I thought it would be fun today to pause and think about some what ifs. Some but thens. Some there was a time ideas.

I absolutely love it when friends and readers send me challenges, like "You should write a book about modern-day pirates" or "Have you considered writing a Civil War novel set in the South?" So let's play!

I'll start. I have no story idea for this, but I would love to read a book following modern-day missionaries to China, where the underground church is expanding so quickly.

What about you? What fun bit of obscurity would you like to see or write a story about?? Do share!


  1. Hmm... I'd like to read a book... about twin teenage girls that nobody can know are twins because their culture is one of those twins-are-evil things, but they both lived because their parents (or at least one of their parents) decided to keep the twin thing secret and raise them both. Maybe they're identical twins and one stays in hiding? Maybe they're identical and take turns hiding and going out in public, but everyone thinks they're one person? Maybe they're not identical, so nobody knows they're related? Or they're passed off as siblings with age between them? Or maybe one of them is supposedly a niece that the parents took on when her original parents died or couldn't take care of her...

    I actually made up a story when I was a kid about a princess and her maid who were actually twin sisters, but in their highly superstitious kingdom twins were considered evil and were, with their mother, to be killed at birth. So the king took one of them when they were born and gave her to the queen's maid to be raised as an obscure servant girl. Then the maid died, so the secret sister was assigned to be the princess's lady-in-waiting. They share a room and everything - the kingdom just knows that the princess is very close to her dear maid, and only the king and queen and girls know their secret.

    BUT the fun-loving, rebellious, carefree princess doesn't like being royal and likes to run off and sneak around, often pretending to be her maid (and using her sister's clothes). So then the obedient, sweet, gentle maid ends up stepping in as her sister, the princess. Therefore, the princess ends up falling in love with a boy studying chemistry in hopes of becoming an officially commissioned scientist... while the maid falls in love with the prince her sister was arranged to marry.

    And, of course, the whole time they had a very difficult time keeping their secret.

    I never wrote more than two chapters, both because I was a very bad writer then and I've learned historical fiction is just not my thing. But if anyone wants to write this, have at it. I give you free rein to adopt this idea so that I can finally read it and see it fleshed out.

    1. I like the twin-princess idea! Have you ever read "The Ordinary Princess"? I think it's "officially" a children's book, but it's beautiful and perfect for any girl of any age who ever loved fairy tales and told herself princess stories! :)

  2. How fun! I'm not sure if any of these ideas are obscure, exactly, but I'm a picky reader and my ideal is for an exciting, romantic book that isn't overly romantic ... or suspenseful ... or violent. I prefer for these things are best used sparingly like seasoning! :) I love historical fiction and wish people would write in this way about castles and sieges or the Reformation or the Regency. For really obscure, however, how about a novel that follows a girl (perhaps suffering from a broken heart) from England to China as a missionary with Hudson Taylor in the early days of his mission? I think that would be fascinating!