More Frustration

Comments: 3

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As most of you, my faithful readers (all 3 or 4 of you), know, my first novel "Sweet Revenge" is set in the mid-1960s. My second "GERTA!" is set in the early 1950s. Now, I'm a regular follower and sometimes poster on several writers message boards, and agent/publisher blog sites. One publisher in particular was asked about what constitutes historical fiction for young adults. Her answer got me to thinking. Do my novels qualify as historical. Certainly, "GERTA" is set more than 50 years ago (the so-called magic time-frame for a novel to be considered historical). Also, some publishers have considered anything about the Viet Nam War as being historical. Well, "Sweet Revenge" is set prior to the major conflicts of the war, so maybe it qualifies.


I asked several writers their opinion about whether or not my novels would qualify. They all pretty much agreed that my novels do not qualify. To be considered historical, the time-frame needs to be a part of the plot, almost as much as a character. The story needs to be set in the social/historical aspects of the time frame. My stories, can just as easily be set in modern times.

While I loved writing about the time frames I was using, I have to agree. So now what do I do? One more revision? It appears so. Poor "Sweet Revenge." It's been through so many revisions I've lost count. The biggest problem is the settings have changed from what I remember. I was writing what I know - that being the places I grew up in. Now, it looks like I'll need to do a lot of research to make sure everything "tracks" with how the settings look today. Not an easy task, living nearly 1000 miles away from there.

Oh, and by the way. Have you read BasicGuy's blog lately? Check it out. He's got some great comments for the basic person. A link to his blog is on my sidebar.

Okay, now it's back to the drawing board. Wish me luck.
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About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Thursday, January 10, 2008

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  1. Good luck on the rewrite. Hang in there, you can do it.

  2. Good luck, and happy writing -- it will all work out.

    I hate revising like . . . well, like things I really hate. But the books always come out better for it.

  3. Thanks you guys. I agree, a revision will probably make it better in the long run. It's just that I'm tired of revising the first one "Sweet Revenge." I've been working on it for 21 years now (gasp!). I just want to finish it (finally) and get it sold so I can work on other things.

    That being said, "Sweet Revenge" has been a great learning experience.