NaNoWriMo – Day 4

Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in Atonement

I’m rambling tonight.

Day 4 – What genre is your novel? Why did you pick it?

My novel could be labeled historical fiction, and perhaps romance as well. I like books and films of this genre, but when I write, I don’t really like those terms. I feel like they’re too restricting. When I think of historical romance novels, I see all of those books for sale at Wal-Mart. You know the ones I’m talking about: the ones with the pretty Amish girls on the cover and that are always about arranged marriages and pioneers. The girl marries some guy she doesn’t know, or at least doesn’t know well, and she usually doesn’t really like him all that much, but eventually she realizes that she loves him – usually after he saves her from some great catastrophe. And they live happily ever after and have lots of children so that the author can write more sequels.

Sometimes those books are good, but I feel like you have to read a lot of really bad ones before you can find a good one.

There are a few that I do like.

Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love is very good, and I find it fascinating that a woman known for writing Christian romance chose to write about a prostitute during the California gold rush. It was rather, well, ballsy of her, and I think she created a very fascinating character.

Atonement is one of my favorite novels, and while it’s not about American pioneer women, it is about a romance set in England and Europe during World War II. It doesn’t have a happy ending, and it’s rather weird, but I still love it.

Another book I like is The Diary of Mattie Spenser. I bought it a few years ago when I went out west with my grandparents. I thought it was going to be very predictable and an easy read, but I found it had more depth than I expected.

Sadly, most of the historical romance novels that I like have unhappy endings (save for Redeeming Love). I would like you all to know right now that I have decided that my characters will have happy endings – but maybe not all of my characters.

And I’ve lost the point of this post. Okay… uh…

Why did you pick it?

Right. Well, I picked it because I wanted to have some sort of framework to use. I wanted to write either a mystery or this story, and while I would love to write a good mystery story, I don’t know if I could do it in one month. You have to come up with clues. Clues! I can think of good crime scenes. I can even think up good motives. Clues scare me.

The story that I chose is, like I’ve said before, based off a true story in my family history. At the moment, I feel rather limited by it because I’m trying to stay true to what actually happened. I’ve included details that even as I’m writing them I’m thinking, “I don’t need this.” For now, I’m just trying to get the story that is known out. I’ve heavily fictionalized the characters, but the events follow the true story as best I know.

Once I finish this part of the novel, I hope I will find writing the novel easier as I will have a little more freedom. I’m not even sure if what I’ve written thus far is the beginning, middle, or end of the story. I have basically three major things that I want to write about, but I haven’t quite figured out how to put the puzzle pieces together.

Ah well, it’s just the rough draft, right?

I can’t stay focused on this post.


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