I’m sorry I’m a bit late this week. Instead of a long post, you get a short thought.
I was totally caught up in meeting deadlines and then I met them and I took a break and I found myself asleep before I’d written my post. Why did I need to do so much catching up? I’m just emerging from a stint with the historical fiction side of things. I was at the Historical Novel Society of Australasia’s conference. It was wonderful and has set me thinking a great deal about what I need to do with my own research.
I’m taking a break from my own research at this precise moment: I will return to it in fifteen minutes. Instead of reviewing literature that analyses fantasy and fairy tales and rhetoric and related subjects, I’m thinking about the research I did on historical fiction and fantasy, a few years ago. It’s one of the reasons I attend the HNSA conference every two years.
The conference itself reminded me that different genres require different styles of research and use different techniques to integrate that research into their fiction so that the novel reads like a novel and not like a failed academic treatise. I got to see some wonderful writers talk about their work and gently I realised that it’s about time to admit to a terrible truth.
Writers who successfully cross genres and write mysteries as well as historical fiction as well as science fiction as well as different kinds of fantasy are doing something intellectually very difficult. Hidden beneath the entertaining novels are some frighteningly good brains doing amazing amounts of exactly-the-right research and thinking.
I’m taking a moment to toast all these writers. I’m toasting them in very fine coffee.