Monthly Archives: May 2015
So many of my writer friends are classified in their genre, mainly historical fiction, and are known for what they write, which is bloody good stuff. When people ask what they write, I imagine they quite confidently will say: “I write historical fiction” where as when people as me, it takes a moment for me to answer. That’s because I don’t feel I write for a particular genre. Hence my term Genre Whore.
This has plagued me continuously and no doubt eats away at the ever fragile writer confidence unnecessarily. Should I pick a genre to stick to or should I keep going freely as I have been doing? Yet, I don’t have the luxury of a well known brand to ride off, but all I know is deep in my soul, the story comes to me, I write it and then the genre is considered later. This was particularly true of Immortal. I wrote it and then couldn’t pigeon hole it. This is all fair and well, but when you are trying to sell it as a product then it helps if you know where to put it. :). All my books have similar themes rather than a genre. They are all based on some form of twist of a biblical story or prophecy, both old and new testament, but would hardly categorize them as Christian Fiction, because I very much doubt any devout Christian would appreciate my take on their good book.
Now I’m about to delve into a world that both intimidates and excites me. It’s a genre that I love to read and I’m passionate about. History Fiction. Why does it intimidate me? Well because there are so many great writers out there and a lot I greatly admire that I feel a little out of my depth and also that I may be exposed as a fraud.
Again the over sensitive writers ego.
But I know my subjects and I know them well at that is my boost. I’m not stupid enough to dip my toe into a subjects like Rome or the Vikings. That’s a far too big a pond for me to make even a ripple in. That’s not in anyway demeaning my own skill, but I know the writers of such and they are beautifully talented in their word weaving and the readers have bloody high expectations. I know I am one of those readers.
Now as I start on toe dipping in the History Fiction pond, it now becomes even more evident that I’m changing genres for the sake of the story and I wonder if anyone else feels the same. Do you think sticking to a genre and a market is the way to go? Or should you just worry about that once the story has been told?
Being a pagan/witch, I’ve always taken an interest in witches of the past and of course heard many tales of the torture and execution of men, women and children. Matthew Hopkins, The Witchfinder General was the witches bad guy. The man who tortured and killed over 200 innocents in a two year period, but I didn’t really give him much thought. Then it came to me choosing a dissertation subject.
If you’d have asked at the start of my academic study who I’d have studied I’d have told you that it would have been something based on the Tudors. But by my second year, I realised that when it came to the Tudors, it was so saturated what could I possibly add to it? What was left to say? So then I decided I would look at a local legend that was Guy Fawkes. I wanted to find out what it was about this man who was essentially a terrorist that had captured our hearts. But it just wouldn’t stick and then it came to me. Matthew Hopkins. I would do my study on him and his persecution of witches.
At the time, I was currently studying the English Civil War and was struggling to understand the politics and who was who, so how would I be able to understand the environment that Hopkins was working with? But in the end I knew this was what I wanted to commit to, so I pushed myself to understand.
One of the most surprising things was the more I read and studied the more I began to change my views. The man began to work his way under my skin and I saw him less of a monster but more of an opportunist desperate to make an impact within an unsteady world. Yes, I know that many are going to jump on this and question it, but it’s the truth of how I felt. My tutor even said you have a knack for sympathizing with the bad guy considering my passion for Henry VIII.
He’s right of course. In my writing, I will take the bad guy and turn him into something else. The anti hero. I did it with Morgan le Fay. I just want you to look at a character in a different way and think about it three dimensionally. But before you jump on this and say but he murdered innocents. I agree, Hopkins did but did he kill witches? This I’m not sure is 100% true. The last witch her tried gives me doubts which I’ll share in time. But right now Hopkins is the new centre character in my new book and already in forums the snippets have had a good response. Excellent, I hear you say. Well, this makes me nervous. I’ve no idea who I’m going to write him just yet. Will I give him a traditional battering as the Witches bad guy or will I take the risk and make you see another side to the man? A man who was so desperate by the end of his career that he did something different with one of his last recorded witches.
Well I suppose I will find out and allow him to take me by the hand and possibly to noose. He will either stand with me or against me. It will work or it will flop but I’ve no choice but to write it and love every minute.