A study in writing goals

Tis the end of the year and the annual assessment of goals achieved and goals still striving for. After reading this post by Maria Zannini, I decided to take a look at my bookshelf and see what my interests are.

There were no big surprises but there were a few insights. I have two full shelves of romance. And I’ve culled about an 18qt totes worth off the shelf. Those are currently in storage though I could probably donate them to the library book sale. Most of the print books I buy are historical romances. The contemporary romances are on my Kindle. I’m not exactly sure what that says about my interests. Possibly that I like reading the contemporary but there’s nothing there I might go back to. (No offense meant to any of the authors).

It’s just that in the small, dark corner of my desiring heart, I want to write a historical romance. I’m scared to death to do it. I just know I’m going to mess something up with the research and lose the trust of my readers. I’m not yet at that point where I can visit the current places where historical places took place. I’ve got two visits under my belt and am working on one book inspired by that visit.

Which brings me to the rest of my bookshelf. Historicals. Tracy Chevallier, Elizabeth Kostovo, Dan Brown (current, but lots of historical factoids), Diana Gabaldon, and several others I can’t think of off the top of my head. The first historical I remember getting completely sucked into was the Song series by Catherine Coulter. Out of curiosity, I went back and read a few of the reviews – very different thoughts then when I read them. When I read them, I just thought the books were pretty accurate and the characters reacted to their circumstances.  I enjoyed the stories.

I enjoy writing contemporary. But I yearn to write a historical. What holds me back? Fear. Fear of not executing a compelling story. Fear of getting an easy detail wrong. Fear of being compared to another, more famous story-teller with a penchant for history. So, just fear. A fear I need to get over.

I’ve started on a story set in 1910. According the RWA breakdown of genres and subgenres, this fits into the historical category. I don’t know how many are out there, but I can’t say I’ve seen very many new stories set around this time period. Before the Roaring 20’s and a few decades after the Industrial Revolution and before a good portion of US Labor laws were enacted for the safety of workers. So, yeah. Loads of research will be needed for this book.

I plan to finish the three contemporaries I have waiting in the wings before I delve into the 1910’s. Maybe by then, my confidence level will be back up and we can get this thing knocked out of the park!

Have a great weekend everyone. Saturday, the 14th, I will be out at Goliad Market Days, so if you’re in So. Texas, come out and say hi, pick up a book for yourself or maybe as a gift!



5 thoughts on “A study in writing goals

  1. I hope you pursue this. One of my favorite writers, Madeleine Brent wrote in the time period of the turn of the last century. I loved the way she (turns out she’s a man, btw) set the books in a foreign country (or uncommon place in England) and then had the main character have to adapt in some way by coming to England. These books have some of my favorite love interests.


    You can do this!

    1. I will…eventually. I’ve done a good chunk of research already. This one will take mapping and outlining because if the history involved. Should be interesting!

      I’ll check out Madeleine Brent too.

  2. Just dive in, Melanie. I felt the same way before I wrote Mistress of the Stone. I felt it was too complex and I was afraid of not doing enough research of the time period. I had a little leeway since it was a paranormal historical, but I still had to get the base right.

    Re: 1910
    With the HUGE following of Downtown Abbey you can’t go wrong. Downtown Abbey begins its story in 1912.

    Best of luck!

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