5/29/09

Bad History!

I've hit a significant snag in the draft of "Flawless," my WIP. Turns out, probably to no one's surprise, that South Africa was a highly unpleasant place in the 1880s. Much of what I thought could be finessed, well, can't be. Kimberley, the center of the Cape's diamond mining industry, was a hideous boil of a city, populated by megalomaniacal capitalists who believed that human life was cheap, expendable, and solely for the advancement of their own petty empires.

Now granted, such dichotomies between rich and poor existed throughout the British Empire. Take any happy, shiny Regency-set book, and there existed poverty, disease, and despair in the unseen stews of London. Conditions only worsened as one traveled out and beyond England's borders. But in Kimberley, it was all right there. There was no turning a blind eye to extreme suffering and negligent practices. Oh, and there was that whole racially-charged hatred which lead to apartheid. Not pretty.

I could have my hero and heroine charge in like a pair of righteous, avenging angels, but I do want a little bit of historical accuracy, at the very least. And the possibility of a viscount and an heiress possessing the wherewithal and tenacity to jump into the midst of an unfamiliar industry and make a fair go of it--well, it's unlikely. I've been having them go at this by themselves, when in truth, I need to have them play smarter, perhaps by hiring the right people.

So even though I'm loathe to lose my forward momentum, I have to stop working just for the sake of amassing a bigger word count. I'm taking this weekend to conclude my research, brainstorm options, and plan how to revise what I already have--approximately one third of a finished manuscript. Ideally, I'd like to find this new direction and complete the resulting revisions by the time we leave for Italy on June 10.

It's still a fantastic story in a great location, but I need balance. I want the history and I want the hotness. Right now, I have neither.

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