Long-Term Planning

This morning I woke up with slightly sore hands, and the realisation that it is just possible that I have been pushing myself a little too hard; I was going to take tomorrow off in any case, so I decided that henceforth I need to adopt a five days on, two days off working policy. Not that I haven't done a lot of thinking about 'Step' today, of course, but I think I needed a bit of a break. Sitting back and pondering the plot for a couple of days is probably going to make it a better book in the long run – I suspect there is merit in taking a couple of breaks while writing to ponder where I am going next, especially as I am writing without a real outline.

Now, I'm going to make an admission – at some point in the future, I would like to write a few historical novels. Probably more in the Howardian tradition than anything else – I was always an admirer of his historical works, though I still consider Conan to be his best canon of work. (Conan/Canon...yes, I went there. Unintentionally, I swear – at least, that's my story, and I intend to stick to it.) Naturally, this means research – which is not really a problem to me – but it also means that I need to consider what era to write in. Though the bulk of my historical work in the past has been 20th century, somehow I immediately – pretty much – ruled that out. With one exception – and that being the Russian Civil War, and I think I've discussed that before.

Even then, when I think historical fiction, somehow my thoughts go to the ancient or medieval period. Ever since I listened to the 'History of Rome' podcast, I've been fascinated by that period, and collected a nice little library with a mind towards potentially working in that time, though I don't actually have any set story ideas. In fact – aside from wanting to work in this medium, I have to admit that I don't at the moment have any burning stories to tell – just a desire to tell some. My plan is reasonably simple, to do a bucket-load of research into a period – or probably more than one – and keep some notes, see what appeals, then focus my research again.

The other period I am increasingly edging towards is that time around the Norman Conquest, which was of course a massive turning point in the history of England, and has an awful lot of extremely entertaining events going on – both of these are periods that I have an interest in, both of them would be reasonably straightforward to research, in that a combination of Amazon, local museums and local historical sites (heck, Battle's only a fairly short train ride away) should allow me to get to a reasonable level of competence...as long, of course, as I put in the groundwork.

So – that's what I'm going to start doing. I'm still reading the War of 1812 books, but that's really research for my Alamo books, but as well I will be going through my Ancient Rome and Norman Conquest shelves, as well as picking up a few books that supplement those where I see points of interest. I'm not focusing on the nitty-gritty of the setting at the moment, that would come later – the idea is instead to focus on points of interest. Oh, another thing – I need to read more historical novels than I have lately, and I have a bit of a backlog there. I probably need to go through my blog list more thoroughly, so any recommendations in this area would be welcome.

As to why? Well, typically I'm a discovery writer, but this would require me to adopt a different skill. My research generally much more consists of 'read what interests me and then move from there'. This would require a rather more structured approach than I typically adopt. Probably it would take longer per book – but I don't mind at some point taking a little time off for research. At the moment, this is a long-term plan – I have four and a half books at least to write before this – but it's something that's going to need a lot of lead time, so I should get started on this...

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