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Thursday, September 24, 2009

What DON'T you ever see yourself writing about?


Here are some obvious things I’ll never write about: politics, the economy, quantum physics, or the love life of the Peruvian skink. Those topics and about a thousand others are outside my range of knowledge and interest.

But if we’re talking fiction, one genre I’m not likely to write is historical fiction. When I was a kid, history class meant memorizing the beginning and ending dates of battles and wars, the names of dead kings and queens, and the routes of explorers like Magellan and the guy whose name you call out in the swimming pool. I got some of my best sleep from reading history books.

Another reason I probably won’t write historical fiction is all the research I’d have to do. My research for FAIREST OF THEM ALL was on a bunch of different topics—modeling, dance, volleyball, acting, alopecia--and happened in little bursts of effort. Good historical fiction requires sifting through tons of letters, diaries, maps, public records, etc., etc. I can’t see myself spending months and even years digging through all that paper. By the time I’d gathered all the facts and details to write the book, I’d have forgotten what I was going to write about.

The third, and most important reason I won’t be writing historical fiction is that I’m not passionate about it. What’s the point of writing about something that doesn’t move me? I’d rather stick with contemporary fiction and leave writing about the past to amazing authors like Christopher Paul Curtis and Ann Rinaldi.

So historical fiction is probably out for me. But the love life of the Peruvian skink might be kind of interesting—at least to another skink. I wonder if skinks are big readers? I'll have to do some research to find out.

3 comments:

Danielle Joseph said...

I don't know, you might want to reconsider writing about skinks. You peaked my interest. I'd never heard of them before you "wrote" about them!

j said...

Agree on the historical stuff. I don't even like watching historical movies, can't imagine spending so much time researching a subject!

One thing this question has made me realize, and you hit it on the head, write what you love. It's the only way to go.

Jan Blazanin said...

Skinks are kind of cool, Danielle, and LOVE SKINKS or SKINKS IN LOVE would make interesting titles, don't you think?

You're right, Jenny. If we don't love what we write about, why would anyone want to read it?