I wrote continuously in the period from 1986 -2000. The output consisted of textbooks, procedures and documentary film scripts concerned with Engineering Management.
I then set out to write a novel . After a series of discussions with potential publishers, I encountered objections to my style of writing which I honestly did not understand. I had received a good education, “composition” had been considered to be one of my strengths and as a technical writer I had been well received.
What then was suddenly wrong?
I decided in 2009 to enrol in a course in Professional Writing and Editing at Chisholm Institute here in Melbourne, Australia.
My objective was to get a better understanding of what the publishers were talking about. The experience was not without some personal pain as unlike the technical world I had previously inhabited I discovered there is very little right and wrong in the craft of writing but an awful lot of opinion.
Different writers, lecturers and the authors of textbooks on the subject of writing all have differences. Sometimes the differences are subtle but the effects far reaching. I do not tolerate such an environment very happily so I have tried to make up some rules.
I have concentrated on issues on which I have been offered conflicting advice. I realise that other writers may well have a different list covering different issues. I also believe that if i were to write a different kind of book the rules the rules I have developed may well have to be changed.
Ximene’s story has two main protagonists who do not meet until half way through the first book. There is also a secondary story which has three characters, the classic ‘menage a trois.’
It is absolutely essential to the plot to be able to understand the aspirations, fears and emotions of these five people. At the same time the story has a wide geographical spread, and extended action sequences. The decisions on which my rules are based serve this formula and the genre of historical romance laced with adventure and danger. If I was to write a different in a different genre with a different balance I would need a different set of rules.
I have persuaded my editor, Rebekah Jennings,that if she wants to make any substantial changes to the way I write about Ximene, she will have to persuade me to change my rules first.