Problematic Pasts

I’ve been writing for…what is it now? I believe I’m going onto my 9th year. In that time I’ve written novel-length stories and shorter stories. I’ve tackled numerous genres, took on many little challenges. Whenever someone said ‘writing this sort of thing is too difficult!’ I would immediately jump to the challenge and take it on with all my might! I loved doing that and I loved that about being a writer; pushing boundaries and tackling something the way I could interpret it…

There was only one challenge I could never win. I’d take it up over and over again so it’s not to say that I didn’t try…

Writing in a time in the past…

I have a real love for 19th Century London so I always told myself that that would be a past that I’d love to tackle in a novel! During NaNoWriMo 2011 I took up this challenge once more and began writing my novel with the setting of 19th Century London. As I started developing the plot even in my sleep I realised that taking on this challenge would have to wait once more. It wouldn’t fit the vision of what I wanted out of the novel.

So why is writing in such a time so difficult for me? Do other writers find it as difficult as I do?

It’s being limited to what you could do. Few will be able to forget the boundaries of such a time. If I wanted a near end of the world scenario I would be greatly limited writing it in a time when everybody knows that something like that never happened. If I want my novel to have a feel of reality, if I create something and then destroy it in a rather flashy way, I would have to come up with some not-so-realistic reasons why this information was scrapped from world history today.

Writing in the future is a blessing as a writer. Nothing gives you more liberty than being able to write in a time that nobody has a real clue about because you really can do whatever you want as long as you can give it meaning.

I’ve spoken to a number of writers who feel the same way about this, which, to be honest, is a bit of a relief. Naturally there are quite a number who manage to put reality aside enough to do it but those are few and, without a doubt, have a very distinct way of working with their novels.

I’ve only ever been able to work with such a far-off time in fanfictions. In my years of writing fanfictions I was able to write based on many different settings. I wondered for a long time about what it was that I found different. My theory is that when I write a fanfiction my priority is keeping the characters and the setting true to the original creators intentions, however they’ve created it. When I’m thinking of writing a fanfiction I’m applying it to a world already created by another author and so history itself tends to slip my mind.

I don’t give up so easily though. I’ve recently started a new story which is set in the 19th Century and I intend to keep it that way. While I’m only one chapter into it, which is at least half of what my NaNoWriMo novel was when I decided to make the change, I have high hopes that this will be the story that will allow me to finally beat this challenge!

As a writer, artist, musician or creator of anything, what is it that you challenge yourself with?


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