Or maybe I am supposed to say shepherdess? After all, I did that a few centuries ago…
Digging back into fiction writing is a strange adventure. While my previous writing took place in a nebulous “now,” in which the action of the plot took place in a pre-pandemic world of today, my current project is historical fiction.
In other words, I am doing research.
And what am I researching, you might ask? I am researching sheep. I am the first to admit I have an edge here: I have an expert on hand, living in my house. Okay, she’s only living here because her university classes are online right now, but I am interrogating her — I mean, interviewing her — as if her school will reopen tomorrow.
When those analytical articles used to come out, asking if a writer identified as a “plotter” or “pantser,” I would have said that I was in that in-between territory: the sweet spot of balance between the two. By defintion, that would be a “plantser.” For some reason, that word leaves me imagining someone digging in their heels and planting themselves in one spot. In writing, of course, it is the person who plots and then flies by the seat of their pants at the same time.
When writing historical fiction, I find I am a plotter: outlining, researching, filling a notebook with facts and citations as if I am about to present an argumentative essay. My students groan when they need to start finding sources for their writing, while I am here having the time of my life.
Stretching into a genre that requires being a plotter is a fun challenge. It’s occupying my mind in different ways, and seeing segments of Melior’s story come to life and the details are filled in is an amazing journey.
Happy writing, and blessings to you all.