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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Monday, September 15, 2008


I still can't view the stats page for my blog, which creates a curious feeling of being cut off. Sort of like a performer who can no longer see the audience.

I continue to research my work. If I am not an "insecure talent", in McKee's phrase, who spends all his time in research without ever actually getting down to the creative work, then I am indistinguishable from one.

But you have to go by your own sense of readiness. Only you can really tell when you're ready to write. Often not even you, for in my opinion all too many writers start writing before they're ready, and mediocrity is the result.

Now I'm enmeshed mainly in research on ancient Rome. I've always known I would have to dig into this topic, but had other fish to fry first. So it's not a surprise; I knew this was coming. And I don't want my own work to suffer from the defects I feel exist in many other works that deal with ancient Rome. Too often historical fiction suffers from an over-reliance on superficial details and texture, and does not find the deep feelings and ideas underlying past cultures. These, admittedly, are not easy to find, surfacing in one's mind, I think, only at the end of a long process of research--and not at all if you're not looking for them. But you're looking for a certain feeling of zeitgeist.

I'm now sensing that coming over my own mental horizon, which means I'm getting ready to write again...

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