I’m so happy Outlander is back on. This season is based on my favorite novel in the series – Voyager. I haven’t told a lot of people, but I read Outlander’s first six novels, I think, a half-dozen times, back to back. Then the next two, Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, twice. It was around then, the late 2000’s, when I got busy with my own writing. I’m 100% sure, the love story aspect of Outlander influenced my desire to write Romance. Gabaldon’s history aspect is very intricate, where mine is background. I add historical bits and pieces where necessary. It’s the characters and timeless love and loss and resolution themes that dominate my writing.
I just finished reading the latest John Grisham novel called Camino Island. I really liked it. While I was enjoying it, and trying to guess how it was going to resolve, I looked at his sentence structure, story development, character development. I’m not a literary expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I got it that the story is plot driven, whereas my stories are character driven. It was a great learning experience from a great author. Although, Mr. Grisham, I guessed wrong about the ending.
As I’m first-drafting the seventh series novel, working title Wild Rose Vigil, I’ve known from the beginning that I have to get into some WW2 battles for each of my military men, what happens to them, and how the people left behind cope (hence the word Vigil in the title). Those parts of this story will have to be plot driven. The plot comes from history, so that’s a plus. In addition, I’ve been inspired to use more of the 3rd generation. By 1941, many more of the children of Liam and Eva’s children, are of age or near abouts. New characters, which I have to develop through revision, are coming forth, and … a crime mystery is brewing.
Going through the beginning stages of story development, I have to remind myself … IT TAKES TIME. It takes countless revisions to come out with an end product. The end product doesn’t come out the first time through.
Aspiring writers, take heed. It’s imperative you grow to love your story. Write what you know. Don’t let yourself be discouraged for too long. Remind yourself you have time to revise. Ideas will come to you. It’s important you stay calm and open. Love your characters. I liken crafting a story to adding layers on a core to make the whole onion. Some layers are thinner than others. But a layer is a layer. A sentence is a sentence. A paragraph is a paragraph. I’ll tell you that happens to me during first-drafting, sometimes, one sentence at a time. No step forward is insignificant. No such thing as baby steps. It’s all substantial.
As I move forward with all of this, my editor, the magnificent Kate Gleason, is in the middle of editing the fourth novel in the Eva series called The Sweet Fragrance of New Mown Hay. I’m thrilled to announce that Kate loves Sweet Fragrance, loves the writing, loves the character development, loves the dialog and the different dialects, loves the crime/detective stories, and, of course, she loves the sex. Robert is H-O-T! Her exact word was WOW! I can’t tell you how wonderful that makes me feel.
That brings up another thing. Tama Kieves has taught me that I have to be my best advocate. I won’t be able to “sell” my work to others if I don’t sell it to myself first. I’m literally my first customer. It boils down to LOVE, people.