Giving advice has always left me a bit queasy, especially when the advice pertains to something as personal as fiction writing. After all, who am I to assume that I know any more about what makes a creative mind hum than anyone else? If fact, I doubt that I do. But, that being said, I do relate to what budding authors experience when placing their flights-of-fancy on paper. From that perspective I do have some observations.
I could write about story lines, persistence, consistency, and editing…editing…editing, but most that have worked at words, knows about all that; at least in degrees. No, if I could offer one piece of sound advice to any author-in-progress, it would be to write logically. Don’t misunderstand. I did not say truthfully, or factually, or rationally. No characters in fact or fiction can maintain those traits through all circumstances. What I do mean is that when your scenes or dialogues, etc, are looked upon from a truly logical perspective, does the story line follow?
It does not matter in what genre you practice your craft. The line or logic you follow must be sound. Don’t just take my word. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of Four said it best, “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” Just modify that to end must be the logical result. For you can never really find the truth of any subject, just your perception of it. In the words of Clarence Darrow, “Chase after truth like hell and you’ll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails”.
I am not telling you to limit your imagination. On the contrary, your imagination is what must be exercised to its fullest. Let’s face it, if authors only wrote what they knew, there would be no works of fiction. Anything and everything is fair game for the nimble of mind and fluent of words. J.K. Rowling, that darling of the fantasy genre (may we all be so successful) said, “I mean you could claim that anything’s real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody’s proved it doesn’t exist”. And, as I am sure everyone knows, you cannot prove a negative. So go for it. Let your mind scramble where it may. Just be logical with the results.
Fiction is fiction because it is not true. It is based on truths, those realities with which we all must contend, but is not The Truth. What it must be is a logical progression of circumstances to a given end. When trying to envision how your hero or heroine works the wonders of their escape from the fire-breathing dragon remember the words of the great Mark Twain, “Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t.”
When Justin Thorne, coddled student and heir apparent to Sylvan Springs Plantation, is forced to find his heritage, his manhood, and his destiny, in the space of one brief spring, all hell breaks loose on the banks of the Ohio River. His Virginia of 1836 is a time of transition and enormous growth. Northern industrial might and southern aristocracy, abolitionist movements and slave cultures, collide in turmoil and lay bare the raw needs and desires of those intrepid spirits confronting the frontiers of the antebellum South.
Coming of age is an expected result of time and circumstance. It happens to all who live so long, but to each within the dictates of their own lives. The process is on-going and ever dynamic. Every person is a precious product resulting from the effects of nature and nurture. One's ancestry, culture, and environment collude in myriad ways to make us; all as different as each life's story, and as singular as snowflakes. This theme is played out over-and-over throughout the world and throughout history, in millions of places like Holderby's Landing; as similar and as different as each human is to the other.
Holderby's Landing is a single glimpse in time at the coming of age of a land, a community, and a few determined souls thrown together in love, strife and chance. What they make of the time, the opportunities and themselves is the story told and the living breath of this book.
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Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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