Writing historical fiction: This is my story…

Epictetus (Ἐπίκτητος)

Epictetus (Ἐπίκτητος) a Greek speaking Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia, and lived in Rome until his banishment, when he went to Nicopolis in north-western Greece for the rest of his life.

I have always loved writing. As a child in my early teens I wrote a fantasy novel based on a character being stranded in a swamp, who rescues a mysterious girl fleeing a flock of deadly gargoyles (or something like that). I can’t remember what the outcome was. Knowing how a teenage boy operates they probably had sex and it was probably complicated. I continued writing novels all through my school years, but by the time I graduated and University came around, my creativity had been beaten out of me and I was swamped in academic studies and a desire to get a degree and make lots of money. But my imagination never truly gave into my greed, forcing me to ditch economics in my second year and find an outlet of sorts in studying history. History is, after all,  a re-imagining of the past based on your own cultural and social beliefs and the available facts.

History gave way eventually to fantasy once again, and a couple of years after I graduated I wrote three books in ten months while teaching English in Prague, The Czech Republic. It goes without saying I had a lot of free time over there, and they had a very cold miserable winter.

Once back in Australia I wrote a second draft of this trilogy; a story about a desert-dwelling nomad people determined to overthrow their neighbours, a powerful kingdom in the midst of its own terrible power-struggle. Sound familiar? But in reality it was about a terrible love triangle between the heir to the throne, his future bride (also his cousin) and the man she loved, a half-citizen and best friend to the heir to the throne with the blood of the nomads in his veins. When I finished the second draft I sent it off to TOR publishing. Oh how I knew so little then! But I did know enough to expect a rejection. In fact, I was kind of chasing that rejection. It would then mean I had arrived. I was an author. Unpublished, and rejected, but an author! Needless to say I did get that rejection.

I went back to study, completed a Masters in Creative Writing, and embarked on my first historical fiction; a novel about a young Saxon boy, orphaned and caught up in a Saxon rebellion against Charlemagne. For all my novels to date, including this one, I’d formulated an idea, created a basic chapter outline, and then started writing. I’d managed to finish the fantasy novels by flying by the seat of my pants. But with historical fiction, this didn’t seem to be working. I became stuck midway through the novel, struggling to really understand my subject, my characters, and the purpose of the story. I became disillusioned, raised my hands in the air, gave up, and started running.

If you’d like to know more about my running, the addiction it spawned, and the subsequent book I wrote about it, Running Against Time, please follow the links and purchase a copy now. Otherwise, if you’re here for the writing, stick to this blog. I’m getting to the point, I promise.

Orpheus

Orpheus (Ὀρφεύς) was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. The major stories about him are centred on his ability to charm all living things.

Writing my novel Running Against Time (buy here!) re-invigorated my passion for writing, and my belief in my talent. I returned to my primary love, historical fiction. And I have been working on it ever since. For two very long years… This blog here, well it’s going to be dedicated from this point on, to sharing with you this new story, and the pains I have taken to plan it, write it, and publish it. Over the coming months I will tell you about WarRunner, I will tell you about Pheidippides, and I tell you about my experience of writing historical fiction.

And I will ask of you only one thing, well two maybe. Join me in this journey, enjoy my blog, my sneak peaks at this novel; perhaps even pick up a few tips on writing, and writing historical fiction if you are so inclined, and share if you think others might enjoy. I only make one promise. I will do my best to entertain you…

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