‘A sequence of polished little gems that offer tantalizing keyholes to the past…’
The inspiration for my latest book, Reliquary, originally came from the research I carried out for the previous trilogy called The Triptych Chronicle. In the process of seeking facts on rare and valuable merchandise that may have been traded in the twelfth century, I came across mention of a silk called byssus and which is still harvested in the Mediterranean from a species of shellfish.
Yesterday, I looked at the word count of Reliquary, my current manuscript, and realised I had passed the 100,000 mark. I was surprised. It seemed only a short time ago that I watched 50,000 tick over and then time just slowed and it seemed no matter how often I wrote, the numbers barely changed. Some days, I would delete a page or a paragraph. And at one point, I accidentally opened the file at the very beginning and decided I wanted to hit the readers pretty hard from the get-go and so added a kind of prologue to set the scene.
I have still to get the editor’s approval on that one but it works for me…
At some point, maybe in the first chapter even, a writer will wonder if he or she has a story.
For me, I write to roughly the half way mark or even just the first 50,000 words and then I send it to my trusted editor for an opinion.
These last couple of weeks, I have held back from continuing with the manuscript of Reliquary until I had a definitive answer on whether the story had legs.
I’m a bit sick of myself at the moment – I’m having a bit of an injury-prone Covid-isolation! But then all who know me would say that’s because I go at most things like a bull at a gate.
C’est la vie! It just means I can’t walk as far and as fast and that I’m more of a couch potato (which I have to say I hate!) which means a chance to continue on writing Reliquary and that’s fine because the story is ratcheting up.
I’m currently reading a very direct treatise on anachronism in historical fiction writing called, aptly, Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders, by Susanne Alleyn.
Hopefully most hist.fict writers are aware of anachronism and the shock it gives readers, and also the loss of trust in the writer’s research and editing.
As a reader, I’m reasonably forgiving but when I’m enjoying Roman, Dark Age or Medieval fiction, goosebumps jump over my arms and I shudder when I come up against ‘Okay’ or modern swear words and aphorisms that when checked, date from a far later timeframe.