A History in Three Parts

It's been a few weeks since I posted, my apologies for that. I'm continuing my revision on the book, I still have a few dozen percentage points to lob off in this read through, but I'm encouraged by what I'm reading. Amazingly, the newest material I've written is cleaner than much of the old material. I credit some of this to writing in Scrivener and not on my iPad. I'm a much more accurate typist on a laptop than I ever was on the iPad. I also I think, have to credit some of it to where I am with my writing now. I have a much firmer grasp on my characters and my story than I did even six months ago, let alone a year or more ago. The difference is showing.

This post is all about the past, and three instances of it.

First of all, I recently listened to a story on NPR about a rejection that Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House books, received. What was to be her first novel, was finally published decades after her death, and it's selling out like crazy. This book, unlike her others, wasn't written for children. It was a much more accurate memoir. I find it difficult to think of someone like Wilder as a novice writer, but it just goes to show, that not only does everyone start somewhere, even things that are rejected today might very well wind up a best seller. Eventually.

Next, I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to attend a genealogy seminar hosted by a local chapter of Sons of Norway. I don't have any Norwegian blood in me... at least I don't think I do, but my wife does, and one of her co-workers put on the event. It was actually incredibly interesting, not only when thinking about working on my own family history (which is admittedly from other countries) and as a writer.

In Norway, there are many traditions that are quite different than modern American record keeping. For example, the date of birth was not actually the date of birth. It was the date of baptism. Many other records centered around the confirmation date in the local church. While both of these examples happen to be tied up in religion, I think they are both great examples of how a culture can be very different than the modern one that we are aware of.

Another example I found interesting was the naming structure. It's a Given Name, a Family Name, and then a Farm name. I actually, inadvertently started following a similar naming schema for my book, where people's last name is based not on their family lineage, but on the location of their birth.

You and I certainly won't be the first (or the last) authors to pull inspiration from old histories, so I'm not suggesting something novel here, but it might lead you down an interesting path. Besides, aside from writing, you might stumble across something cool about your own family.

Finally, I finally watched the first episode of the Outlander television show this evening. I don't typically read a bunch of historical fiction/fantasy, but it seemed like a really well done adaption. It's shot well, I'm super impressed by the acting, and honestly, more than anything it gives me hope. With Games of Thrones' success, this could well be another SFF television show that helps define the genre in a way we just don't usually get on TV. It also makes me hope that the upcoming Shannara television show (being produced by MTV of all places) is well done so that it survives more than a season.

OH, and I also discovered that my favorite production team is behind Outlander. Ronald D. Moore (of such awesomeness as the SciFi channel's Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek Deep Space Nine) created the show along with Ira Steven Behr. These gentlemen have done amazing work in the past, and they even brought in Bear McCreary to do the soundtrack for the show. I don't listen to a ton of symphonic stuff, or even soundtracks anymore, but I can just turn on Bear's music and listen for hours and hours and hours...