Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Salon: Trying a New Genre

I am now two for two in the Sunday Salon posts.  I hope that this is the start of a new trend - not so much that I will write a weekly post, but more that I will continue to read for personal pleasure on a regular basis.

I skimmed two books on writing by Kelly L Stone, Living Write:  The Secret to Inviting Your Craft into Your Daily Life and Thinking Write:  The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind.  The author is a licensed professional counselor as well as a writing coach, so she presents the material from a slightly different perspective than other writing books I have read.  I enjoyed her smooth writing style and practical advice, although I have read so many books on the subject  that I found hers to be mostly a review of what I have already learned (and now just need to put into practice).  I was initially interested in this author because of the 90 Day Writing Challenge she offers each January; I think this would be a great follow-up activity to the November NaNoWriMo event.

I have spent most of my reading time this week absorbed in the 805 page saga, Paris, by Edward Rutherfurd, and I am now a bit more than half way finished. This is my first foray into Historical Fiction and I must say, I am falling in love with this genre.

I have never been a fan of history; it was simply a class that I endured to meet the high school graduation requirement, but I think that was perhaps because I never had a teacher who was passionate about the subject.  I remember memorizing a bunch of dates to put on a timeline, which I dutifully completed and then promptly forgot.  I never understood the significance of those dates... and I certainly don't remember the stories and characters and settings that helped to bring the past alive and relevant to our present.

I have always enjoyed research, however.  I love the hunt for information, the analysis of the facts (and the inevitable search for truth in conflicting data), and the final organization of material into a cohesive written essay.  It never dawned on me that Historical Fiction would be the ideal marriage of my love of literature with my passion for research.  And while I am certain that I cannot judge an entire genre based on the work of one particular author, I must say that Edward Rutherfurd has opened my eyes to not only a new reading past time, but perhaps to a new writing adventure.

In reading this book I am not only learning a bit about the history of my beloved Paris, but I am also learning how to balance those facts with a narrative that creates a compelling story.  I can easily see myself delving into the history of a particular time period, conducting a thorough research, all the while allowing myself to ask "What If..."  It is exciting to think that I can combine my passion for writing, my talent for detailed analysis, and my desire for creativity in one project.  I have the germ of an idea.... now I am ready to water it, fertilize it, and watch it grow.

I hope to finish Paris by the end of the week and perhaps I will begin reading another one of  Rutherfurd's works sitting on my shelves --- or perhaps I will try another author in this newfound genre.  Do you have a favorite Historical Fiction novel that you would recommend?


  1. I've probably checked out Paris four times this summer, in various formats, but another, more urgent read has always kept me from getting very far into it. Happy to see your review. This may inspire me to set the other books aside. Thank you.

  2. Oh Deb... knowing your love of Paris, I would certainly think you would find this book intriguing... at least I hope so!

  3. I read Paris in Paris earlier this summer. ( much fun!

    I've learned more history from historical fiction than I ever learned in a history class.

  4. Paris sounds like a fantastic read! I really don't read much historical fiction so I can't recommend any. I hope you find more great books in this genre.

  5. I love all things Paris, but the only chunsters I usually read are by Stephen King. I thought about seeing if my library has it, but the page count keeps scaring me.
    Here's My Sunday Salon/Post