Now that I’ve had some food and a good solid night of sleep I think I can articulate a little more effectively about the conference. One of the market things I learned was that there really is no market for “Still Gracie Mac.” It falls into the practically non-existent genre of speculative historical, which, to the best of my knowledge, covers Steampunk right now. Gracie is not Steampunk.
It may turn out that Gracie is a learning piece for me. I’m fine with that. It was a whole lot more fun than the research papers I had to write for my high school and college courses, although the process was very much the same now that I think about it. Colleen Coble encouraged me to pick one genre and stick with it. Later, when I’m established and have proven that I can produce good work that sells and have built a fan base (more than a hundred friends on Facebook) I might be able to branch out a little, dabble in something else. Oddly, going in, I thought I might be upset if someone told me there was no market for Gracie, but I walked out of both my editor and mentor appointments with complete peace. I suspect that turning my career over to God is going to relieve a lot of pressure. I don’t need to know why I’m writing these stories. If they’re meant to touch someone, it will get into their hands. Valerie pointed out that the person it’s meant for might be a crit partner, and writing what God wants me to write doesn’t mean I’ll be published. I’m good with that. Of course I would love to be published. I would love to go to a conference one day and have my books in the bookstore, to have people bring them to me and ask me to sign them. What writer wouldn’t?
The temptation right now is to jump on a new project and just go, get some words in and ride the wave of adrenaline for twenty or twenty five thousand words. The trouble with that is when you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always had. The new game plan is to start with ideas, research setting a little more carefully, and let that determine the story a little more. I realized that I have been trying to make my ideas fit circumstances and manufacturing conflict. That’s a little silly considering I’m writing historical novels and I have built-in conflict that I just have to find. Now I think I need to pick my year and location, and next I will do some research on area during that time, including what the weather did. If there was a huge blizzard or a drought or a flood that year I can easily build the story around it. I’m writing historical because I love history. It’s time I starting working with history instead of trying to make it work for me.