I just came home from my new work--it's a lot of work. Mostly all brain kind and writing. Right now, the thunderclouds outside are delivering rain and hail in equal measure against my basement window. I'd like a drink. I need some wine, but the future beacons. It brays out its clarion call from a different direction--so why is it a topic in writing historical fiction? Because all writing whether it is historical fiction, science fiction, or modern fiction requires the same approach. I didn't trick you, I showed you what it takes to write historical fiction. I hope those who might take a slipshod approach to writing historical fiction might be reformed, but more than that, I hope all authors would at least think about the concept of immersion when they write. Perhaps this is normal for most authors--I've never met an author who was normal, so I don't know. I just know that a lot of historical fiction is crippled because the author never grasped the voice of the times. Equally, a lot of fiction is crippled because the author never grasped the voice of the story. You might ask, how could that happen? It happens because the writer was not immersed in the background of the writing and never fully understood his storyline, plot, or theme. How can you write a historical fiction novel? You must be immersed in the times. How can you write a modern novel? You must be immersed in the times. How can you write a science fiction novel? You must be immersed in the times. This is the very difficult concept an author must grasp--you must live the life and in the world of your characters. You must understand the forces that move them. You must have the tools in hand to make their motivations and their lives real to your readers. This is a new rule for you in my personal rules of writing:
1. Don't confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
new rule 5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
How trite, but true. If you imagine you are writing a simple story, you will produce a simple story. If you know you are creating a world, you will create a world. Your characters act within that world and the depth of your immersion in the development of it, is the size and reality of the world you create. I will wrap up this subject next time. I intend to write about writing science fiction next.