"On a dark theme I trace verses full of light, touching
all the Muses' charm." Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus) 99 - 55 B.C.
"De Rirum Natura - On the Nature of Things) book l518
I'm struggling these days, wading through deep water as I try to unravel the complexities of the political events plaguing Athens/Macedonia in 318 BC . So many of the events are similar to current times and of course there are the usual complex sub-plots and intrigues that all weave together to pattern the eventual downfall of Alexander the Great's dynasty. My job as a writer of historical fiction is to untangle this mess of intrigue and clarify it for the reader to understand. It's a crucial part of my novel, the peak of the mountain so to speak, before the final slide down to the ultimate ending. How to do it? What to include and what to leave out?
And because I'm writing from the actual historial plot I can't make things up -- must try to stick as closely to what has been documented as possible.
Some of the events I've put in direct action; some are conveyed in dialogue; some in narration.
Included is a certain amount of foreshadowing. And interspersed is a bit of lightness, some romantic interludes (though even that is part of the intrigue -- a 'fictional' touch to add interest.)
I felt very discouraged the other night when I workshopped my recent chapter segements at my weekly critque group, mainly because there are several new members in the group who have no idea whatsoever about the story and can't be expected to understand the complexities of it when they have just arrived at page 1200 something. (Yes, I know I have to do massive cuttings later on but for now I must write it all out to the end!). I feel really frustrated at the moment, though I'm sure I'll work through this. It's like wading in deep water and sometimes I feel like I'm going in over my head, so I have to take my time with it, take each step carefully to make sure I don't loose my footing and sink. I'm so close to finishing this novel, which has taken me literally YEARS to write, and I am anxious to get through it. At the same time, I don't want to rush, to cut unnecessarily in case it is something crucial, (I'd rather leave the cutting til the end instead of going back to add.)
Meanwhile, as well as the novel I have other writing to get done -- my bread-and-butter writing. That is, travel stories. (Another frustration: I just had a very good story of mine which the editor liked and wanted to publish, turned down because she didn't like the quality of my photos! This story had been previouslypublished and that editor had no problem with the photos. However it seems now they want high quality digitals so I guess I better ditch my Pentax and invest in a new camera.) I'm working on the first draft of an article right now so I'm trying to balance my writing time between fact and fiction. Fortunately this week I am not working days so I have the time to write. Of course, every evening I am either at a writer's group or teaching writing classes at night school.
One thing I am happy about are the classes, and in particular the private workshop I started at home with members from my previous classes is going very well. It's a small group so there is lots of time for a bit of instruction, discussion and thorough critiquing. And, I have another editing job which is good experience.
I'm sure I'll get through this rough patch of my novel, but at the moment (since the workshop critiques) I've felt discouraged and it makes me wonder if I'll ever get through it.
I guess what I need is someone I can talk to about it as sometimes just talking it through helps clear the path, but unfortunately at my workshop group no time is allowed for explanations or discussions, one reason why I left there this week feeling very frustrated and wondering if it's worth reading it again. Oh, I know I'll get over it. Maybe it's just the mood I'm in. Maybe I've just been too busy with other things to let the Muse speak.
" I am in blood
Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er."
William Shakespeare 1564-1616 "Macbeth" III iv 136