Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 10/18/13

I LOVE Historical Fiction! Not only do I find inspiration, hope, and encouragement when I read these books, but I often become acquainted with a new author (new to me, anyway) who took the leap into self-publishing.  When a writer dives into researching everything from footwear and clothing to politics and mores within a specific time period, readers become their beneficiaries—and learn life survival skills that are easily passed forward within this genre.

The most recent historical/biographical fiction I’ve worked with is set in the late 1800s, early 1900s.  The central character is a young woman who stepped way outside her comfort zone in the world of medicine to become one of only a handful of women physicians in her generation.  I can still picture the scene—during her medical school days—when a cloth screen was set up in the classroom to separate her from her male classmates.  The professor thought it “indelicate” to discuss the subject matter of his class in “mixed company,” and that was his solution.  This was a true occurrence and added to my understanding of how my grandparents thought about male/female relationships and why they often seemed confused—even embarrassed—by their grandchildren.

The huge success of recent TV series period pieces should also encourage the historical fiction writer.  More than other genres, the details that must accurately paint these stories are perfect for film development.  Plus, the characters from days-gone-by are easily portrayed as bigger-than-life, while retaining the elements of humanity with which we can all identify.

I’ve come to discover that good fiction tells a good story, excellent fiction introduces readers to a character they will never forget, and award winning fiction compels the reader to live the life of the characters as they walk through each and every event.  This happens—for me—most often within the pages of historical fiction.

Can any writer become an award winning historical fiction author?  Here is a little quiz that will help you answer that for yourself.

  1. Did you enjoy history classes in school?  Could you picture yourself living in log cabins, or animal-skin teepees, or caves?
  2. Do you like the smell of libraries?  Some current writers do most of their research on the Internet; however, discovering that one “key element” and/or fact among library archives is a real treat!
  3. Can you hear, see, smell, taste, and touch the environment of the time period you’re writing about?
  4. Do you share the same passions of your main character?  Rather than “walking a mile in his or her shoes,” could you walk a thousand miles beside them?
  5. Do you understand the motives behind your main character, his companions and the antagonist(s)?

I’ve known folks who have worked on (and off) on their historical fiction novel for years.  If you are one of those writers, I would like to nudge you (sharply) to GET IT DONE and GET IT PUBLISHED!  Other people may have written about your hero, but only you can tell it with the passion that you hold.

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

One thought on “Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 10/18/13

  1. A really great historical fiction read is “…Like Footprints in the Wind” by Pamela Atherstone. A judge in the Writer’s Digest 2013 Book Awards stated: “Atherstone has done an immense amount of research, and she has skillfully avoided that very irritating pitfall of many “historical novels” the history does not overwhelm the story or the characters. The subject matter clearly means a lot to Atherstone, whose biography at the back indicates that she works with the genealogy of Russians of German heritage. That shows throughout the work, but again does not overpower it. The characters are finely drawn and believable, the prose is solid throughout, and there’s a genuine knack for pacing and momentum. I’m pleased to see that Atherstone is intending to continue this work, and as I’m passing this book on to Round Two, I feel that she deserves a wide audience for it.” So if you like historical fiction about areas that you might not know much about, check out “…Like Footprints in the Wind” http://outskirtspress.com/likefootprintsinthewind/

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