There is no shortage of historical fiction on the shelves, so here is where I take time to review the occasional volume, or comment on my own novel writing:
To Slip or not to Slip?
With the luxury of a day off work and a full Saturday afternoon to write, I’ve come to the conclusion that I could cope with the semi-secluded life of a writer. After all, I’m not stuck at home and it is a well-known fact that a writer in North London will never suffer from a dearth of cafes. What clinched it for me was how enjoyably and quickly time has flown by.
After spending the first day crafting the prologue and first chapter of my witchcraft trilogy, I had almost reached the end and was congratulating myself on my hard work. However, by around 10pm, as I finished reading the fifth novel in a row set against the Pendle witchcraft trials, I had a strong revelation from my writing familiar, that I needed to try a rewrite in the first person. As there is a trinity (holy and unholy) of protagonists, the novel lends itself to this structure.
Also, as with so many historical novels these days, I am struggling with the time slip question. Ought I give in to recent preferences and create a contemporary heroine? My preferences would have been for an Oxford-based academic uncovering research, but Deborah Harkness got there first and does it very well. Second choice in the vein of writing about what you know, would have been a journalist covering a story, but that has also been done, by Syd Moore and perhaps not quite so well. Mining my own experiences leaves something around motherhood, writing in cafes, teaching, or trade unions. Not exactly ripe subjects. However, my writing familiar has taught me not to be complacent and judge a piece of work finished, when there is clearly much more to do.