A new month, a new year, a new decade. Many exciting adventures lie ahead and I have huge hopes for this year on many fronts. Of course one of them is centered on securing an agent and bringing Eliza’s story a few more steps closer to publication. As 2019 wrapped up, I sat and listened to the entire novel through the Text to Speech function on Word. This helped me identify typos, punctuation errors and run-on sentences. The voice was a bit robotic, but it served its purpose for now and I was able to test out my new wireless headphones Santa Jim put under the tree.
Eliza is now in the hands of a critique partner for a deep dive into review for ways to craft an even more compelling story and characters. So now what do I do while I sit on my hands and wait? Nibble my fingernails – yes, they’re looking ragged. Scroll through endless social media posts – yes, looks like friends all had wonderful, perfect holidays. Pack up the Christmas decorations – yes, all the storage boxes are back in the basement.
Give some thought to a potential second novel. Sounds crazy, but from what I’ve researched, agents will want to know you have more than one book in you. They are more willing to take a chance on you if they know you can produce. This weekend I tossed around a few ideas in my head. I’ve got a character and situation in mind which would be another historical fiction. I think the premise would be interesting to explore through a sequence of events to tie characters together through two stories/two time periods which fit together into one. More work to be done with the idea and an initial outline is in order, but I think it could be compelling.
One place to start my research will be to read comparable books with a dual timeline approach. Last night I posted through some “reading” Facebook groups for favorite historical fiction dual timeline titles. Wow – what a response.
In less than 24 hours, 116 people suggested 73 different titles! Some of them are I believe time-travel more than my intent of looking for a true dual timelines, but all sound interesting. I guess I’ve got my work count out for me starting with the most often recommended titles:
- Outlander by Diane Gabaldon. Book One is on special on Kindle right now for $5.99. I’ve already read the first one in the eight-part series and can always catch up with the story on Netflix. Plus, I tend to think Outlander is more time-travel vs. dual timeline.
- A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner, or almost any title by Susan, including a couple of mentions for her latest, Last Year of the War. I read Marigolds last spring and loved it. I had it mind when I began to think of a dual timeline and how a single object can serve as a connection between two stories. Highly recommend.
- 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I had never heard of this one before and after reading the description and endorsement from five different people, I’m intrigued to find out how King worked a time-travel/dual timeline from sleepy Maine to the eventful day in Dallas.*
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Also time-travel and something in my head makes me think I started to read this one years ago. Will have to give it another shot, plus it’s a romance. Sounds like a beach-side read.*
- The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. This one sounds great! Post WWII to escape from the over-done pile of WWII novels combined with WWI Europe which is getting a resurgence now with the movie, 1917, out in theatres.
- The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish. Checking in at close to 600-pages, there is a reason I abandoned this book. I tried to push to 100 pages and found the movement too slow and the stories too involved to follow in a coherent manner.
- The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. Hmm. Time-travel, set in Scotland, strong female main character. Written ten years after the first Outlander, sounds too similar to me, but many folks suggested it, so I may have to look at it closer.
- Timeline by Michael Crichton. Also sounds more like time-travel, but a Crichton novel is always a thriller, so worth a fuller review.
- Blackout and All Clear, two novels by Connie Willis. A two-part series around historians in 2060 who travel back to 1940 WWII events.
- Briar Rose by Jane Yolen. A German re-telling of Sleeping Beauty during WWII – yes, another WWII novel. May skip this one.
Anyone read any of the above? What might your recommendations be for me to read and learn how to craft this new idea?
*Bonus – these were questions tonight on the Jeopardy Champion of Tournaments and I could answer!
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