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Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm Not a Historical Writer

I don't write historical romance. I have no interest in writing historical romance. I don't even read historical romance any longer, not after I realized I read all the contemporary set books (whether they were paranormal or not) and the historicals sat on the TBR month after month. The pile became hugely unwieldy and I had to stop buying them because I wasn't reading them. Ever. I didn't even have a vague desire to pick one up--with the exception of Julie Garwood. I'll still reread her historical romances.

I honestly have no idea why I'm so averse to reading historical romance, but that's not what I wanted to talk about. I'm writing a proposal for a contemporary set paranormal romance. Only in discussing it with a friend, she recommended a prologue to set up the basics of the world. I decided it was worth a shot and the event would not only set up the world, it would give the heroine depth from the start.

The problem? I needed to research Medieval nunneries in order to write this scene.

It didn't take long before I was cursing as I googled.

I like history. Honest, I do. It was one of my favorite classes in high school; I even was in Advanced Placement American History and scored the highest mark possible on the test.

I like research. Mostly. When I was researching particle accelerators and M Theory, I couldn't read enough. Now granted, I didn't understand everything--M Theory is mind boggling, especially for someone who didn't take math in college--but it was fascinating to me.

But I hate researching history for my book. Hate it. I feel frustrated and bored and just want the damn information so I can write my scene and be done with it. I didn't expect to feel this way. I figured it would be just like researching any other topic and I've gone off on some obscure and esoteric subjects to get one piece of information for a throwaway line in a book. I'm pretty anal about accuracy and I'm not opposed to digging deeply to find what I need. I even find the Medieval period to be one of the more interesting in European history...and it doesn't matter, I'm resenting every second I'm spending on this.

The thing that's so puzzling is why I'm feeling this way. Why is researching history--something I can understand--an aggravation while reading M Theory--something that's difficult for me to grasp fully--something I was excited about reading?

Part of it might be that finding the specific kind of information I'm looking for has proven to be difficult. There's a lot more information on monks and friars than on nuns. At least that I've been able to find online. I did order a book that looks like it might have good information. I sure hope so because I want to finish this opening scene.

My next blog might be complaining about trying to find a historical voice for the opening. Honestly, how do historical writers convey the tone/formality of the period without bogging down? I will be blundering my way through this little problem. Sigh.