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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Saturday, June 17, 2006

straying from fidelity

Today was to be a day of traveling over to Sidney on Vancouver Island to visit my father, but I had to beg off when I realized that I seem, despite all my prophylactic efforts, to be developing cold symptoms. I thought I had dodged the bullet, having fended it off for so long after Robin and Kimmie came down with it, but seemingly not. I phoned Dad and rescheduled for the Canada Day long weekend.

Kimmie and Robin are off to Metrotown to do shoe shopping. I had them drop me here; I can't face Metrotown.

This morning I indulged myself by allowing myself to explore a new story idea. After working for years on one idea, and following it down so many byways, staying more or less faithful to it, this is like forbidden fruit: the excitement of new romance. In fact, each stage of a writing project has its joys, I think. But there is the initial intoxication of an idea that captures one's imagination. "What if that did happen...?"

Before I finally committed to working on my current opus, I was "dating" a number of different story ideas. My idea was to try to follow my inspiration: which of the ideas captured my imagination most? Which one was calling to me?

It turned out to be less clear-cut than I'd hoped. Eventually I decided to commit to The Mission because I had already invested so much effort and emotional energy in it, and because it does represent the culmination of my thinking and wondering over the past 20-odd years. Everything else is only a passing infatuation by comparison--a story crush.

This idea is set in the future: the opposite of what I'm working on. I'm naturally attracted to big, strange ideas with wide-ranging consequences. That's what gets my juices going. So I'm playing with that, having some recreational fun. It may crystallize in another book.

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